What is the number one symptom of dehydration? What’s the number one sign that you might want to drink some water? Well, it is called a dry mouth. Often also called a sticky mouth. A dry sticky sensation in your mouth. We also know this sensation as thirst, and believe it or not just like our four-legged furry friends, humans have a way of detecting, of regulating how much fluid we need to take in through the amount of thirst. So I’m going to talk about signs and symptoms of dehydration but we’re also going to talk about both sides of the coin here, because I find the debate about how much water to drink is very, very one-sided. It’s always about drink more water. Drink more water. Drink more water. So we’re going to talk a little bit more about that.
Why do you need to drink enough water?
We’re going to talk about how much do we really need and we’re going to also talk about what kind of water we need. So I don’t recommend that you follow this example cool water or toilet water is probably not the best and between the two I would say that the dog has a little bit of a heads up because even though there’s tons of chlorine and chemicals in both there’s probably even more chemicals in the pool water so i’ll have some better examples for you.
Let’s talk about this eight glasses of water per day or one gallon of water per day business. Is dehydration a bad thing? Absolutely. Are there times when we need to drink a whole lot of water? You bet, but that does not mean that more is always better. It does not mean that we should always be pounding down glass after glass or bottle after bottle of water. So one of the things that we’ve heard for example is that the body is mostly water. Like we’re water-based creatures and therefore more is always better.
It doesn’t work like that. Let’s talk about this. First of all, there’s no pure water in the body. There is a whole lot of water in the body but it’s only there because it’s being held in place by particles. Particles create something called osmotic pull or osmotic pressure and it’s the particles that keep the water from leaking out of the body. So the first thing we want to understand is how the kidney operates the kidney excretes fluids we filter the blood through the kidneys and it filters out enormous amounts of fluid but it reabsorbs most of it.
So for example, the kidney excretes about 180 liters that’s 360 bottles of water every day but once that water it reabsorbs 179 liters virtually all more than 99 of that water is reabsorbed. So what does that mean it means if you drink one liter of water in a day your kidney is going to filter 180 and then reabsorb 179 so you pee out the one liter and you’re going to sweat some so these examples are not exact but I want to get you the idea.
If you drink 3 liters of water then your body is going to excrete 180 or maybe 182 and it’s going to reabsorb everything except about a few liters so no matter how much or how little you drink it is minuscule in comparison to the volume that goes through the kidneys anyway. With water we have to understand the particle that creates the osmotic pull is called sodium. The by far the most abundant mineral electrolyte particle in the extracellular fluid is called sodium. So every day you excrete 100 teaspoons.
The water that you filter out that you flush through the kidneys contain 100 teaspoons of sodium so if you convert that to salt that’s a whole lot more that’s probably more like 100 tablespoons and but then you reabsorb 99. So again it’s not just about how much water you drink or how much salt you eat it’s the combination and what your kidney does with it based on what else is going on in the body.
10 signs you’re not drinking enough water
And the number one result of drinking a gallon of water a day is that you pee a lot and for some of you you might have noticed this happens at night so it interrupts your sleep and it makes you go to the bathroom and you might have a hard time going back to sleep so this would be one more reason not to drink too much. Now this video is mostly about dehydration but we do want to cover both sides so we get some perspective on this.
How much are you peeing? Is there a very small volume? Are you going very infrequently or is the urine getting dark? So if it is more like dark yellow or brown that’s a big problem. That means that you are dehydrated or if you only go once or twice a day and it’s dark then that’s a problem. So the darker it is the more dehydrated you are the lighter it is the more over hydrated you are so a strong yellow is probably still too much a pale yellow is where we want to be for normal and then as we get more and more pale it indicates that we’re actually over hydrated there is nothing beneficial about having urine that looks like water it’s often described as a straw color the ideal or optimum color so it’s a light yellow but it is not completely colorless.
Number three is hypotension that means low blood pressure and if it’s associated with dehydration then it’s because your fluid volume your blood volume is too low and that could be because you don’t have enough water or because you don’t have enough salt to hold the water in place and one thing that you can start playing with or if you’re very experienced with checking a pulse then you can look for a weak or shallow pulse.
So what does that look like? Well, normally when you check a pulse then you put your fingers on wherever you’re going to check the pulse and you should feel a bounding pulse. It should feel like the pulse comes up and pushes a little bit like it gets into a wave before it disappears. That’s called a full or a bounding pulse. If you have a weak, shallow pulse then it might feel like most of the time it’s sort of quiet and then only for a short blip does the pulse come up to meet your fingers. That would be a sign of low blood volume which again could be either low water or low salt.
So when you’re trying to hydrate remember that it’s not just about the water. We have this fear. We have this love of water and we have this fear of salt so that can create some imbalances. And as a result of number three we also have number four which is light-headedness. If you don’t have enough blood volume for the heart to pump it all the way up to your head then you can get a sense of lightheadedness as well.
It’s really important to understand some of the causes the way that we lose more water so we know what to look out for. So for example if we’re sweating a lot if we are exercising or working hard outdoors in the heat like here in georgia it is 90 to 95 degrees every day fahrenheit that’s about 35 degrees celsius and it’s humid on top of that so if you’re out for a whole day working you could be drinking 8 or 10 or 12 bottles of water and still not have to pee any more than usual.
You just barely with all that water you’re still barely keeping up with all the fluid losses. Another way you’re sweating a lot is with a fever so really important to keep up with the drinking. If you are having diarrhea or vomiting if you have like a stomach bug then you can lose a lot of fluids but also lose a lot of minerals. When you sweat you lose primarily salt but if you have vomiting or diarrhea then you can lose other minerals including potassium.
So all of those are reasons that you can get dehydrated and you can lose minerals, but you could also be lacking salt and minerals to start with if you have an extremely low salt diet that makes it difficult for the body to retain enough sodium sometimes and then you can be dehydrated because there’s nothing to hold that water in. There are medications called diuretics and they go in and interfere they affect the kidney’s ability or tendency to reabsorb water and salt so therefore they’re called diuretics because they push they flush water out and then of course you lose minerals along with that. If your adrenal glands are underperforming the extreme version of that is called addison’s which is basically complete adrenal failure.
The adrenals normally make mineral hormones mineralocorticoids that help the kidneys regulate and retain minerals but if the adrenals are underperforming then we’re also going to flush out more minerals than usual. So with weak adrenals there’s two ways that we can create a problem one is because we’re losing salt so the fluid volume goes down. The second way is that there’s also less vasoconstriction so we have less fluid volume now there’s an increased need for the body to vasoconstrict to get the blood up to the head to avoid that dizziness and lightheadedness but if the adrenals are weak now we have less ability to constrict to cause that vasoconstriction so it’s like a double whammy to create that lightheadedness.
Number five is called skin turgor that has to do with the elasticity of the skin and you can do something called a pinch test skin pinch and then you measure the bounce back time so it’s very simple you grab your skin you pull you let go and you see how quickly or how long it takes to return to flat. Now the thing to keep in mind is the two factors that affect this and one is hydration the more dehydrated you are the longer it takes the skin to return to flat but also age so some people call this a hydration test and some people call it an age test. You could check your biological age so I’m not going to vouch for these numbers. I don’t know how accurate they are but I did find them consistently in a handful ,several different places online.
So if your bounce back time is one to two seconds then your biological age is supposedly less than 30. If it’s three to four seconds you’re 30 to 44 if it’s five to nine seconds it’s 45 to 50 years old and if it’s 10 to 15 seconds then you should be 60 or older. And I don’t know why there are missing ages here but you get the general idea and if it takes even longer like half a minute then you’re 70 or older.
So I challenge you to have some fun with this and let me know in the comments below how your chronological age agrees with your biological age because I have a feeling that health champions will do pretty well relative to this scale. So if we check mine for example, we pull on the skin and we let go, and it takes one maybe two seconds to return to normal. So I should be under 30 which I am getting close to twice that age at this point so let me know in the comments below. And remember that if the results are not what you want then it is never too late to start taking care of your health and getting younger and that’s what all the videos on my channel are about.
Number six is kidney stones and if you’re ever unfortunate enough to get one then you’ll probably look like this guy some people describe it as being stabbed in the back with a knife or an ice pick and often as the worst back pain they’ve ever had. So kidney stones are small crystals they’re sharp pointy crystals that work their way from the kidney and out and they have to pass through very thin and sensitive tubes and they irritate and inflame the tissue on the way out very excruciating there are many factors that contribute to this such as oxalates in food things like spinach so if you are have a tendency for kidney stones then you might want to watch these.
There are medications that can cause it. There are mineral imbalances so again adrenal stress adrenals regulate minerals weak adrenals often cause mineral imbalances and if you eat too much sugar like you knew sugar was going to show up on this list also right but what they have in common is that even though these things cause and aggravate it dehydration is a really bad thing because when you’re dehydrated your urine is more concentrated so there’s more of all of these per unit volume and they have a higher tendency to form crystals. So that would be one more reason to make sure you’re hydrated but let’s cover some more causes because you can lose water many different ways and interestingly enough one way that you can get dehydrated is to drink too much water or drink the wrong kind of water because if you drink water without minerals now you’re leeching minerals.
Sodium follows the water the body is going to do its best to reabsorb all the sodium from the kidney but when you really just pour on the water it becomes difficult for the kidney to keep up and get that very high percentage of reabsorption now if you’re drinking distilled water if you’re adding water to the body with absolutely no minerals then that has an even higher tendency to flush out those minerals and the same thing holds true with reverse osmosis water which there are machines you can buy to filter to clean your water called reverse osmosis and they do a really good job of cleaning your water but they also leave virtually no minerals in the water.
And almost all of the bottled water that is called purified municipal sources is reverse osmosis water. So they’re convenient and they’re good to drink sometimes if you’re doing a cleanse then it’s nice to have really pure water to really dissolve things out of the body but you don’t want to do that long term short term is okay if you do it long term you want to make sure that you supplement regularly with some minerals and you get enough salt to hold that water.
So therefore the best waters to drink long term are going to be spring water or filtered water so tap water is fine as long as you have good filtration like an activated carbon filter on there because that’s going to remove a lot of impurities like chlorine but it’s going to leave the minerals in there. Another huge and very common reason for dehydration is drinking alcohol and I’m sure that those of you who drink have noticed that you tend to get very very thirsty the day after and the reason is that the alcohol numbs certain areas of the brain so it inhibits something called ADH – antidiuretic hormone so this is a hormone that improves the kidneys ability to reabsorb water and salt but if the alcohol turns it off then you’re going to lose extra water not just the fluid that you’re drinking with the alcohol. It’s going to push additional fluid out and with it it’s going to take salt as well.
So that is why they serve the margarita with salt on the rim. So not that I encourage drinking but if you have a margarita make sure that you get it with the salt on the rim. Number seven is constipation and the place where you get constipated is called the large intestine that is the the colon and the large intestine the colon its job is to reabsorb the water so most of your bacteria live in the large intestine and the bulk that you’re passing through is from the large intestine so it consists of fiber and water so if you don’t have enough fiber then the volume tends to be small but if you don’t have enough water then the volume also tends to be small and it gets hard because without fiber and water then there is less bulk and it’s going to move much slower through the large intestine and if it moves slowly then the large intestine is going to get a lot of time to absorb more and more and more water so it gets harder and harder and gets more and more stuck so it’s not the only solution but the first thing to look for with constipation is that you’re getting enough fluid.
It’s really important that we understand also how low carb high fat starts affecting fluid balance very popular right now is low carb high fat also known as keto and when we do that when we drop the carbohydrates then we’re going to start using up the stored carbohydrates and the way that the body stores carbohydrate is called glycogen and these glycogens have an osmotic pull these molecules just like all the other particles they will tend to bind water they keep water to them so as we start burning through that glycogen there’s nothing to hold the water and you’re going to flush it out for every gram of glycogen that you burn you will lose several grams of water so if you burn through a pound of glycogen or two then you can lose five six seven pounds of water because of that.
Now this is a temporary effect because over time as your body gets used to this assuming you’re doing this as a lifestyle then your body can even start rebuilding some glycogen stores especially if you exercise in a way that uses glycogen your body adapts and learns how to figure out to create balance with this. A second way that you lose water is that when your blood sugar goes down your insulin goes down and insulin has a tendency to promote sodium retention right insulin makes the kidneys better at keeping the sodium and the water in which is a bad thing if you have high blood pressure if you’re diabetic you tend to have high blood pressure but if you’re becoming a low carb if you’re doing a low carb lifestyle then your insulin goes down. Now this does not mean that you need to drink more water all the time because if this is a lifestyle then your body learns to find a new set point and a new balance. You probably have to eat a little bit more salt because you don’t have as much insulin to promote that sodium retention.
And then we need to talk about fasting it is very similar but it’s still quite different because low carb keto you could do as a lifestyle you could do that year in and year out it just means you eat lots of things that are good healthy foods but don’t have carbs but fasting you can’t do year in and year out it’s a self-limiting process even though you could push it for a few months that’s not really recommended or what most people do you’re going to do it for a few days at a time and during this time you will use up your glycogen there is no way that you can adapt over time to not use up the glycogen so therefore you will lose electrolytes all the same things that happen here temporarily will definitely happen when you fast so here it becomes very important to drink plenty of fluids because you lose plenty of fluids both with the glycogen and the electrolytes so drink probably at least a gallon and make sure that you get at least one to two teaspoons of salt that’s the number one mineral but it’s also a good idea to supplement with some potassium magnesium and calcium.
Number eight is muscle cramps and even though people often think about cramps as being because of dehydration it is more about the minerals that you lose through the dehydration like if it’s hot and you’re sweating you’re losing water and minerals and the minerals are what regulates that muscle function more than anything.
The number one people talk about is magnesium but there are several others like potassium and calcium sodium and chloride that are also very important and the easiest ones to get and the most important probably is sodium chloride which is basically regular table salt. Now if you get the pink salt or a good sea salt then you’re going to get a lot of trace minerals a lot of micro nutrient minerals along with that.
Sign number nine is a lack of energy so if you’re feeling like this guy then that could be dehydration now when you start really losing energy we’re talking relatively extreme fluid loss but if you have extreme fatigue and weakness it could certainly decrease athletic performance so if you lose five percent of your body weight which is quite a bit that’s like you’ve lost a gallon of fluids if you’re weighing 150 pounds so again that’s not easy to do but if you’re working outside if you’re in a competition where it’s hot then if you don’t drink a lot you could quickly lose that much fluid
Now you have a 30 or more percent drop in performance in energy output as a result and while that is quite significant where it really comes into play is with high intensity interval training any form of high intensity exercise something that you couldn’t keep up for an hour something that you would normally get very tired in a few minutes such as weight lifting because now only half as much of a fluid loss will result in a 45% drop in performance so basically what this means is that the activities you can maintain long term they’re based on oxygen that’s where your mitochondria can metabolize fat and turn that into energy those we can sustain relatively well even when we’re losing some fluids but when we come to high intensity now we depend on breaking down glucose and glycogen we’re shifting from oxygen to glycolysis and now those effects are visible very very quickly this is basically the difference between aerobic and intense anaerobic exercise the anaerobic we can’t keep up nearly as well and sign and symptom
Number 10 is a rapid heartbeat and don’t jump to conclusions because there’s many different things don’t think that just because you have this you’re dehydrated but in extreme cases of dehydration you could get a rapid heartbeat and this would often be associated with rapid breathing and why is this because at this point you have lost so much fluids that your blood volume is way down you’ve probably lost fluid and minerals your blood volume is way down and it’s not enough for the heart to be able to normally pump the blood around to provide oxygen for energy so now your body is in a crisis situation and it increases the heartbeat to try to circulate that blood and it increases the breathing to try to oxygenate that blood so that would be an extreme case. If you enjoyed this video, you’ll love that one. And if you truly want to master health by understanding how the body really works, make sure you subscribe, hit that bell and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video.