By Dr Randa El-Tawil, General Practitioner
What is chronic dehydration?
Water makes up 60% of our bodies, 85% of our blood, 75% of our brains and even 25% of our bones. Chronic dehydration affects an incredible two out of three people simply because most of us aren’t drinking enough liquid – especially water.
The amount you need to drink depends on your:
- Size:You should drink, in ounces, half your body weight in pounds every day. For example, if you are 200lbs (90kg) should drink 100oz (3 liters) of water a day.
- Diet:Excessive salt, sugar and processed food, which is very common in our modern diet, mean we require more water.
- Air conditioning: This decreases water content in the atmosphere, leading to increased water loss from the lungs and through our skin.
- Activity: If you spend the day sitting, you’ll need less water than someone who works or walks outdoors.
- Diuretics: Drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol lead to increased urination.
As our bodies become more accustomed to chronic dehydration, we lose sensitivity to our water deprivation. Essentially, our thirst center in our brain stops telling us that we are dehydrated because it becomes desensitized to lower water levels.
Effects of chronic dehydration on the body
Overall, a lack of water slows down the metabolism – just 16 oz or 475ml raises the metabolism by 30%. Drink water before, during and after meals to lose weight. We also frequently overeat because we are thirsty.
In the long-term, chronic dehydration can also lead to constipation and gastric acidity, bad breath, sugar cravings, muscle weakness or cramps, accelerated wear and tear of knee joints, chronic fatigue, increased cholesterol, premature aging, acne and dry skin. It can also lead to kidney stones.
Chronic dehydration also reduces blood supply to the brain, resulting in memory loss, lack of concentration, reduced problem-solving skills and a bad mood. Dehydration makes us dangerous drivers as it reduces our reaction time – like alcohol does – and our concentration.
How do we test for chronic dehydration?
Well-hydrated people urinate between 4-7 times a day. Healthy urine is light or pale yellow and does not smell bad. A good doctor may use a urinalysis to check how dehydrated you are.
Treatment of chronic dehydration
The best treatment is to drink pure water from a glass bottle or from thick plastic. Drinks that are caffeinated, such as coffee, black tea and soda, don’t hydrate because they are dehydrating diuretics. In order to replace the electrolytes and fluids lost, eat lots of veggies and fruits, which are easy to digest. Avoid juices, even fresh ones, as they lack fiber, stimulate hunger and contain natural sugar.
Another great treatment solution is to use IV rehydration therapy. If severely dehydrated, intravenous (IV) rehydration under medical supervision is great because vitamins and minerals and memory-boosting supplements like glutathione or anti-cancer high-dose vitamin C can be added to the IV.
IV therapy in conjunction with chelating agents can help your body wash out the dangerous accumulated toxins from toxic food and air. The solution for pollution is dilution!
How long does it take to reverse chronic dehydration?
Depending on the severity of the dehydration, reversal takes about 1-2 weeks. Drink the majority of the water during the morning and early afternoon so that you do not disturb your sleep at night from frequent trips to the bathroom. This way it will also keep your brain awake and your body energetic all day.