Not just now, but every day. All day of every day.
I have always been a healthy person. A motivated, intrinsically inspired healthy person.
Then suddenly this summer I have run into a plethora of symptoms and diagnoses.
Allergies. Suddenly, out of the blue allergies. It can happen, they said.
Acid reflux. Suddenly, out of the blue acid reflux. It can happen, they said.
High cholesterol. Suddenly, out of the blue high cholesterol. It happens, they said.
Fatigue. Unexplained (despite loads of blood work) fatigue. It happens, they said.
Lack of motivation. Like a brick wall type of lack of motivation. It happens, they said.
Blame the stress. (Doing so only adds to the stress, by the way).
Blame the weather.
Blame the lack of exercise. Blame the fatigue. Blame the acid reflux. Blame the allergies. Blame the laziness.
Fingers pointing everywhere.
And guess what I learned?
Chronic Dehydration is a thing. Yet it’s a thing that no body said.
I donated blood a few weeks back and my bag of blood was so dark it almost looked black. Alarmed, I asked the phlebotomist why it was so dark and he casually told me that I was severely dehydrated. Blood darkens due to high concentration of platelets v. plasma. Casual, he said. Drink lots of water today.
Chronic Dehydration can lead to:
Allergies Asthma and allergies can be another indication that the body has increased production of histamine. During chronic dehydration, the body will attempt to conserve water by preventing unnecessary water loss. A large amount of water is normally lost from the lungs as water vapor through expired air. Histamine, which also controls bronchial muscle contractions, may attempt to restrict water loss through expiration by constricting the bronchial muscles. -Albert Grazia, M.S., PhD
Acid Reflux Dyspeptic pain, which can range from simple heartburn to gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD), may be one of the early signs of dehydration. During the early digestive process when food enters the stomach, hydrochloric acid (HCl) is secreted to activate the enzymes to breakdown the proteins found in meat and dairy. The acidic contents of the stomach, called chyme, is then pumped into the small intestine by passing through a valve, called the pyloric sphincter. This acid chyme must be neutralized before it damages the intestinal lining. The pancreas is responsible for secreting the bicarbonate ions to neutralize the acid. A large amount of water is required to produce this bicarbonate solution. If sufficient water is not available, the digestive process may be delayed and food may remain in the stomach longer than necessary. Over a period of time, the stomach acid may rise and if allowed to enter the esophagus, will produce the sensation known as heartburn. Ideally, water should be taken 30 minutes before meals, during meals, and again two hours after eating. -Albert Grazia, M.S., PhD
Depression Depression may be another complication of chronic dehydration. The amino acid tryptophan is required by the brain to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which subsequently is needed to make melatonin. An adequate amount of water is required for tryptophan to be transported into the brain. Dehydration may limit the amount of tryptophan available to the brain and to complicate matters, the histamine levels may actually stimulate tryptophan’s breakdown in the liver. -Albert Grazia, M.S., PhD
Fatigue Researchers from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration alters a person’s mood, energy levels and mental function. – Huffington Post
High Cholesterol When cells become dehydrated, the cell walls thicken to preserve fluid balance. In the process, cholesterol production is increased, and more cholesterol is released into the circulatory system. – LiveStrong.com
This discovery has been relatively mind blowing. I am most relieved by the connection between high cholesterol and chronic dehydration, but also pleased about all of them. Hydrating is a simple remedy. So simple. Free, even!
And suddenly, there is a light at the end of this long, depressing, exhausting, unmotivating, looming dark tunnel I’ve been lost in!
DRINK UP! Fresh water, electrolytes, coconut water.. just DRINK!