Fluid Balance. Best Electrolytes Products And Diuretic Water Pills.
Adjust blood pH levels and control the amount of water in your body with some quality electrolyte supplements.
Diuretics are powerful and ubiquitous. Consider using them to shed excess salt and water and bring balance to your urinary system.
Does water help us to live longer?
Have you ever thought that living beyond the average life expectancy is easy and affordable? Longevity depends on numerous factors, which most of the time do not depend on us. It includes genetics, environmental conditions, and lifestyle. Thankfully, there is one factor that we can easily control by ourselves, which is fluid balance.
Proper hydration affects everything from physical state (e.g., body weight) to mental cognition and even sex performance. A group of scientists developed an aging mathematical model that is based on the blood count of participants 40 - 85 years old. It demonstrates that humans can live up to 150 years under the condition of strong physiological resilience.
Multiple studies have confirmed that there is a correlation between optimal hydration levels and a radical life extension. For example, studies with age markers show that out of 150 possible years of life, 46 years are controlled by healthy water habits. In this article, we explore an opportunity to improve overall health, immune functioning, emotions, and even personal realization by assessing fluid balance in detail.
What is the fluid balance?
Everyone knows that there is some water inside of us. In fact, our bodies are mainly made of water and dissolved minerals. The maintenance of a stable volume and minerals in our body is called fluid balance. Everyday habits and lifestyles define how much water our body is losing or gaining. For example, up to 4 liters of water per day, we lose via respiration (exhale), perspiration (sweating), urination, and defecation. So that we shall take an equal amount of water via eating, drinking, respiration (inhale), and skin absorption (swimming, showers). Increasing water intake after a workout or a stressful situation (intense exhales) is common sense.
Besides the volume of water intake and losses, the fluid balance is controlled by minerals dissolved in that water. Minerals, such as sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and phosphate (PO4) are also called electrolytes. We get electrolytes from water, food, juices, fusion teas, and food supplements. They have an electric charge that flows as a current through the human body and generates a small electromagnetic field essential for living.
After all, having bodies with about 75% of liquid mass, it is reasonable to imagine that we have only 25% of solid constituents that are floating in our "watery bodies". It is time to change the paradigm accepting that we are not only (1) made of water, but most importantly that (2) this water needs to be charged by electrolytes. In other words, we can live long and healthy by better understanding body fluids and recognizing that "We are made of charged water".
Do we really know the symptoms of dehydration?
Since we are mainly made of water and various fluids, it is crucial to take a look at what may happen if those fluids are not in balance. The most common "water stress" is known as dehydration. This imbalance happens when our bodies lose more fluids than we take in, causing negative fluid balance. We simply need to drink enough fresh water and have electrolytes daily to supply water to each organ and even cell.
The most common symptoms of acute dehydration:
- Dry mouth and lips.
- Dry tongue with thick saliva.
- Flushed face.
- Rapid and shallow breathing.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Darker and significantly more yellow urine.
- A small urine volume (1-3 times a day)
It is a good exercise to pay attention to the color of the urine. If the color is clear, it may indicate dilute urine from drinking too much water. The healthy urine shall have a yellowish to amber color. Whereas, dark yellow color and a syrupy consistency may mean that you are very dehydrated. Drink some water before adverse outcomes!
The color of urine is a very simple way to assess fluid balance, but it may be misleading since the color can be changed by some food and drinks (e.g., Vitamin C, beets, carrots, asparagus, aloe, fava beans, rhubarb, food coloring). Therefore, it is worth considering other symptoms of dehydration and listening to your body in a holistic way, as discussed further.
Can dehydration cause headaches?
Additionally to the most common dehydration symptoms that we can notice by visual inspection, there are other dehydration symptoms that are less obvious and involve deeper observation of ourselves. It is an exciting fact that our brain is made up of 75% water and is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. This allows transmitting electric signals in otherwise hollow spaces of the brain and spinal cord.
When the brain is dehydrated, it causes the secretion of the hormone histamine, which is extracting water from other organs causing pain. Therefore, during short-term (acute) dehydration, the pain is mainly located in the head. Even mild dehydration can lead to headaches of different types.
- Hangover headache
- Tension headaches
Is chronic dehydration dangerous?
During long-term (chronic) dehydration, the pain moves from the head to other organs, such as the stomach, lungs, joints, and kidneys. Some doctors, like Dr. Batmanghelidj, claim that most common diseases are caused by problems with having too little water localized in specific organs. False-identified diseases include asthma, allergies, obesity, lupus, arthritis, back pain, migraines, high blood pressure, heartburn, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and even breast cancer. It has been shown that these false diseases are merely chronic dehydration symptoms of specific organs. For example, drinking enough water may reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancer by 45% and 50%, respectively.
Modern medicine is still unraveling the impact of fluid imbalance on most diseases. It may seem shocking, but there is no such method to accurately determine ongoing fluid requirements in patients. As a result, oftentimes, misdiagnosis leads to false treatments and causes new diseases. Over the long term, the lack of water and minerals destabilizes fluid balance and severely damages the organs.
At last, continuous dehydration is known to cause death. Dehydration that is related to diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. The hospital mortality rate is high especially for pediatric patients, reaching four to five million deaths each year. For adults, not drinking water for 5-15 days (or less in hot weather) leads to death. Therefore, taking care of fluid balance and electrolytes provides good health and wellbeing.
What happens if we lose water from the cells?
Let's take a deeper look and zoom from organs to cells. In contrast to the fluid balance of the organs, which mainly controls our health, the fluid balance inside of the cells directly defines our longevity. The average ratio of extracellular fluid to intracellular fluid is decreasing from 1.1 to 0.8 over the lifetime. So, losing water from the cells is related to aging and shorter life expectancy.
When speaking about the fluid balance of the cells, the volume of water intake starts playing less role than the concentration and variability of dissolved minerals. The volume of fluids in cells depends on major electrolytes, which control the extracellular compartment (mainly sodium salts) and the intracellular compartment (mainly potassium salts). For example, sodium chloride (NaCl), is not only a common household salt for cooking, but also an essential electrolyte for tissue hydration, blood pressure maintenance, and muscle contraction.
Healthy cells can regenerate themselves only when they are at 75% water. When lower, it affects brain cell function and survival in general. Moreover, with too little water, the negative fluid balance of cells leads to the hardness of the cell membrane and loss of its flexibility. Thus, wrinkled skin and fast aging may indicate chronic dehydration. Keeping cells hydrated by continuous fluid intake simply helps to extend the longevity of our bodies.
How to refill the negative fluid balance?
If water and electrolytes are not taken in time, it may develop into chronic dehydration. However, even chronic diseases are both preventable and treatable. The cheapest and most natural solution to dehydration is to replace soft drinks, coffee, and tea with pure water. Social habits, like "having a cup of coffee" lead to dehydration since caffeine is a diuretic, which affects kidney function. Drinking more freshwater will prevent negative fluid balance and improve numerous essential functions in the body.
Is there an ideal water intake per day for everyone? Considering that the fluid balance differs depending on gender, health, stress levels, climate, body weight, and exercise levels, only our inner feeling knows what is the best for this particular day. In general, it is recommended to drink around 8-10 cups of water a day. This advice comes from the World Health Organization, which estimated that regular water intake shall be 35-40 ml/kg a day.
For example, for 60 kg of body weight, we shall drink about 2 liters of pure water a day. It may feel quite a lot for most people, so cutting unhealthy soda drinks, alcohol and coffee could provide extra capacity for water intake. Also, adding a few drops of fresh lemon juice to plain water helps enrich it with flavor for enjoyment.
Once you start drinking more water, make sure that at least 4 cups out of this volume shall be taken 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Water on an empty stomach is able to pass through the digestive system to provide deep hydration of the cells. Remember that it is not recommended to drink more than 1 liter of water per hour based on the maximum kidney capacity. Small and frequent sips are considered much healthier.
Why do we need to take electrolytes as supplements?
Although bottled and tap water contains trace amounts of electrolytes, these concentrations are not enough for a proper fluid balance. First of all, electrolytes provide fast and effective rehydration. Secondly, electrolytes are important for acid-base balance (pH level). And thirdly, they control detoxification via the transport of nutrients into cells, and toxins out of cells.
Electrolyte drinks are critical for high-performing athletes, intense mental workers and people who are ill. For example, electrolyte balance shall be replenished immediately during fever, intense sweat, severe diarrhea, and vomiting. The electrolytes improve nerve and muscle function, blood pressure regulation, heart performance, and fluid balance in general. Having fluid balance supported by electrolyte balance ensures that the body works the way it should.
To make sure we have high quality and proper concentrations of electrolytes, commercial food supplements can be purchased in liquid, powders, or pills. The most pleasant way to consume such supplements is by preparing electrolyte-infused water or a drink. In contrast to sports beverages, which are overloaded with sugar and contain more electrolytes than the average person needs, the infused water shall be made personally.
There are a variety of ways we can make electrolyte-infused water at home:
- To dissolve electrolyte tablets in pure water.
- To add electrolyte liquid to smoothies made of bananas, avocados, spinach, and kale.
- To add electrolyte powder to salads.
Electrolyte supplements are available online, as well as in many health and wellness stores. However, the balance shall be in everything, so if we consume electrolyte drinks too long, it may cause a disbalance of sodium (Na), potassium (K), or calcium (Ca) in the blood. Over time, it may lead to hypernatremia, hyperkalemia, or hypercalcemia, respectively.
Can electrolytes reduce stress?
Our mental health is primarily driven by the brain’s activity and its fluid imbalance may cause emotional stress. Partially, it is controlled by the hormone vasopressin, which is secreted from specialized brain cells into the bloodstream. This hormone can be called "a water hormone" due to its ability to move water across membranes and control osmotic pressure. It is "an emergency hormone" and it is produced as a response to the stress of dehydration, additionally to the hormone cortisol. For some individuals, the stress of dehydration triggers panic attacks.
Over time, dehydration leads to major stress on the body, and in turn, the stressed body enhances the dehydration even more in a self-perpetuating cycle. The hormone cortisol is taking the key role in this loop of events being produced by adrenal glands in response to stress. This hormone is known as the "stress hormone". Under chronic stress, adrenal glands can become exhausted resulting in lower electrolyte levels and aggravating overall dehydration.
The delicate balance of hormones can be felt as changes in emotions lead to confusion and frustration. When it happens, stabilizing osmotic pressure by electrolyte uptake would be the first reasonable action to relieve the emotional stress of dehydration. The most significant electrolytes with respect to osmotic pressure levels include sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), magnesium (Mg), and phosphate (PO4). Basically, any electrolyte mix helps with fast rehydration and the release of complicated psychological conditions.
Electrolytes ease emotional dehydration:
- Irritability and anger
- The feelings of dejection
- Fear and insecurity
- Panic attacks
While electrolyte balance and enough drinking may not stop the panic attacks, they may become less frequent, or at least less profound.
How to achieve peace of mind with electrolytes?
Not being stressed is a great foundation for longevity, but being happy is an essential prerequisite. The matter is that dehydration also decreases the levels of serotonin and melatonin, the hormones of "happiness and serenity" secreted in the brain. Both hormones are created from the amino acid tryptophan, but only under the condition of enough fluid in the cells. Otherwise, the lack of electrolytes per body weight restricts the production of these hormones heavily affecting our mood.
The most common example of "emotional dehydration" is when alcohol consumption decreases hydration and alters hormone production. Alcohol triggers the production of the hormone endorphin, which makes us laugh and feel good. However, endorphin is a dishonest hormone as by its uplifting mood, it actually hides the thirst signals leading to acute dehydration. If not enough water and electrolytes are taken before bedtime, the next day we may feel tired, sad, or emotionless.
Moreover, alcohol is suppressing the hormone vasopressin, which otherwise could urgently redirect water and improve fluid balance, as described above. Drinking less alcohol and more electrolytes after a party is a good measure of helping the body to recover from dehydration. Taking care of fluid balance provides fewer disturbances in hormone balance and ensures a more stable and even happy mood.
These mental stresses do not occur spontaneously and it takes a long time of dehydration to lead to them. Overall, depression and other emotions are the symptoms of chronic dehydration when too little water intake affects the brain’s tissue. Therefore, taking sufficient electrolytes can help reduce the negative psychological states and allow peace of mind. Even if we are not experiencing stress and anxiety, drinking sufficient water can create feelings of relaxation.
Electrolytes fuel true love and satisfaction.
As discussed above, staying adequately hydrated throughout the day helps prevent diseases and reduce stress. These physiological and psychological impacts of dehydration have been known for the last fifty years. Whereas the fact that charged water facilitates uplifting emotions and even the feeling of "true love" became known only in 2022.
The research groups from the University of California and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute demonstrated that drinking water is responsible for the secretion of the hormone dopamine. This news is exciting as this hormone is known to create "euphoric feelings and love". Dopamine is produced by the hypothalamus and released when we do things that please us. In this context, drinking water with electrolytes is rewarding for the brain and it may feel great pleasure from seconds to minutes. By assessing fluid balance, it is concluded that the dopamine response is higher after a long-term water deprivation beforehand, just like with sex or delicious food.
Although this discovery is very inspiring for drinking more charged water, it is worth highlighting that it is too early to make conclusions about dopamine activity in humans. In fact, this research has been performed only on mice and secondary analysis is needed. Nevertheless, "rehydration" shall become a new term for hormone balance and emotional pleasure.
Electrolytes are the keys from inspiration to co-creation.
Interacting with water is an important step in unlocking our creative potential. Have you noticed that our best ideas come when we are drinking a fresh glass of water, taking a shower, or, going to pee? Such simple actions allow the relaxing of the brain and transmitting electric neuron signals through our water channels. Shutting off a specific part of the brain called the "dorsolateral prefrontal cortex" is the first step of any creative process to begin.
Charged water has an ionic charge from anions and cations. A superior type of charged water is called resonant water. Beyond electrolytes, it also has a resonant frequency creating resonance with our brains and intercellular matrix. This relaxation helps us enter the "creative state of mind" on alpha waves (8-13 Hz). Moreover, the hormone dopamine is responsible for our creative drive and motivation. If drinking water causes a dopamine boost in humans just like in mice (discussed above), this explains the generation of new ideas under balanced hydration.
Healthy fluid balance is very useful for our personal development, as well as for more effective and joyful co-creation with others. When we are hydrated, we ease mental tension and turn into the flow of ideas and interactions. The release of neurotransmitters balances emotions and we become more patient and supportive in joint projects. Add water interactions to your next meeting and notice the boost of inspiration and co-creation within the team.
Charged water helps us to survive in worsening environmental conditions and social competition. W.H. Auden said that “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water”. And now we can read this citation in a modern way since water balances our emotions, boosts professional skills, and even brings love.
What drives the cycle of body fluids?
Water needs to flow within our bodies the same way as it has its pathways in nature and never stops for a prolonged period of time. Continuous hydration of the body refills our water reservoirs within two main fluid compartments: extracellular fluid volume and intracellular fluid volume. However, when the fluid output is less than the fluid input, the excess fluid causes overhydration (too much water).
The extracellular fluid ("free water") consists of interstitial fluid and plasma. The water residence time of free water within our bodies is about 7-14 days and it makes up only 30% of the total water mass balance. Whereas, the intracellular fluid ("cellular water") is normally renewed much slower within 30-90 days and takes up the most volume (70%) of our watery bodies.
How much water is in positive fluid balance?
Considering that an average adult has about 70% of water mass from the total weight, the cellular water contributes to about 30 liters per person. When this water is not renewed timely and turns into the stagnant water of the body, the extreme condition of a positive fluid balance is developed. Such fluid overload rarely happens in everyday life and mainly is observed in hospitals with critically ill patients.
For example, after surgery, during a recovery period of intravenous fluid administration, the body may receive an extremely high fluid volume (157 ml/kg). If the body is not moving enough, the cells often retain these large amounts of fluid for several days causing fluid accumulation and swelling of the body. Most notably it appears as swelling in the ankles or legs. Personal health conditions may also cause overhydration (too much stagnant water) as a complication of kidney disease, heart failure, and cirrhosis.
Caution with diuretic water pills.
By now we discussed that dehydration represents a negative fluid balance that can be refilled by drinking water with electrolytes under our own control. In contrast, overhydration is a significantly more complicated health condition that needs to be treated with the help of doctors or prescribed diuretic "water pills". Cumulative fluid balance charts are often not accurate and their use should be critically reviewed as an independent risk factor.
Diuretics are the oldest and some of the least expensive classes of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. At the same time, this approach is criticized as some water pills tend to lower potassium levels, while others have the opposite effect potentially leading to cardiac failure. If potassium levels become too high or too low, it can cause dangerous heart rhythm problems and even cardiac arrest. Therefore, the side effects of diuretic water pills may cause health issues even more severe than the fluid overload itself.
Many scientific studies highlight that prescribing diuretic water pills during fluid overload causes the development of chronic kidney disease and even a high mortality rate in hospitals. Continuous renal replacement therapy during acute kidney injury is known to be the most dangerous killer in hospitals. Such treatment is beneficial for short-term survival and renal recovery when the timing is properly defined based on the disease severity. Therefore, it is highly not recommended to begin self-treatment with diuretics and intravenous fluids without proper medical supervision.
We are made of charged water. That is why timely hydration is essential for health, hormone balance, and emotional pleasure. In turn, the negative and positive fluid balance may lead to chronic diseases and even mortality. Therefore, the goal is to have internal balance and take care of our own fluids in time. Taking food supplements, such as electrolytes, helps us to manage the imbalance, treat acute dehydration and even prevent chronic diseases.
There are numerous benefits of controlling fluid balance personally, such as avoiding significant expenses in the hospital and improving the immune system. In case of stress and acute pain, the most natural way to help ourselves is to take electrolytes before trying strong medicine with numerous side effects. Electrolytes help to improve osmotic pressure, release pain, and balance the hormones in a very gentle way.
Thinking beyond the basic survival mechanisms, proper hydration and electrolyte consumption help to extend the lifetime and boost the inspiration for co-creation with others. Getting a new habit of fluid intake, especially of charged water, may help in many more ways than discussed in this article. For now, we can think of it as the foundation for a health and fluid management plan.
After all, fluid balance is a very delicate system and modern medicine still has not fully succeeded in controlling it. There is no such method to accurately determine ongoing fluid requirements in patients. Therefore, diuretic water pills shall be taken with great caution under the control of doctors, and thoroughly considered as a treatment measure at all. Whereas, basically, any electrolyte mix is beneficial for health and emotions if enough water is taken daily. Listen to your watery body and carefully choose any recommendations based on your personal feelings.
I wish you charged water!
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