Holistic Natural Health Experts

Dehydration Effects: Understanding Dehydration and Its Impact on Holistic Health

Generally speaking, dehydration is a rather unclear concept to most people. Let’s shed some light on the subject to give you a better understanding.

What is dehydration?

While everyone has the cliché of the person lost in the desert dying of thirst, few people identify dehydration on a daily basis.

Today, unfortunately, there are more people who are dehydrated than those who are adequately hydrated.

Although the extreme dehydration example exists, most people suffering from dehydration are not experiencing an immediate life-or-death situation. 

Common dehydration effects on the body

Dehydration affects the whole body. This is why, along with the specific symptom of thirst, dehydration can generate various symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Poor digestion
  • Muscle aches
  • Poor venous circulation
  • etc.

Thirst can be more or less present depending on each person’s metabolism and ability to listen to their body. For example, people who suffer from chronic dehydration will tend not to feel their first as much as someone who hydrates correctly.

Chronic dehydration

It is more common to find what we call chronic dehydration in our modern societies. 

We estimate that approximately 70% of the world’s population suffers from it.  Of course, chronic dehydration may be mild and not be considered an established medical diagnosis. 

Nevertheless, your body will function in a sub-optimal way.

The effects of dehydration are really subtle at first. So the symptoms are therefore minimized or ignored, although our body is primarily composed of water!

Importance of body’s water balance

Much more subtle than the cliché of the person dying of thirst, chronic dehydration is nevertheless dangerous and can lead to many health problems.

At the macroscopic level, the liver and kidney functions can no longer take place normally, causing, for example, the kidneys to have difficulty diluting waste sufficiently to eliminate it.

At the microscopic level, intracellular particles can no longer move and transform normally, transport through cell membranes is disrupted and the recovery of metabolic waste by the lymph is diminished. Our fluids thicken, our blood becomes more viscous because its water content decreases.

Chronic dehydration also impacts our entire body through the complex mechanism of dryness management.

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Signs and symptoms of mild/chronic dehydration

Over time, chronic dehydration affects all of our body functions, making it a significant health problem.

It can express various symptoms such as:

  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritability and lack of concentration

We must increase awareness of real hydration as it is one of the most basic but essential health habits. 

Cardiac effects of dehydration

The heart is a muscular pump that propels blood through the arteries. Dehydration thickens the blood and overloads the heart. Optimum hydration is absolutely essential for heart longevity. 

This is especially true during exercise when the heart has to pump even more blood.

That’s why it is highly advised to drink before, during, and after physical exercise. 

Effects of dehydration on the brain

Mental faculties rely on the proper transmission of information between neurons, and neurons need water to function like any other cell in our body. 

The elderly are obviously the most sensitive, as their brains have less water reserve than those of younger people. What’s more, they are often on medication, and dehydration can increase the side effects of certain chemical drugs. 

Therefore, symptoms can appear both because of dehydration and the side effects of medication.

The difficulty lies in thinking of dehydration as a possible cause, so trivial can it seem.

If we consider the long-term effects of chronic dehydration on the brain, we can say that it contributes to accelerated aging.

Impact on the digestive system

A normal digestive cycle requires the production of around 10 liters of digestive juices in total. Those intestinal juices include: 

  • Saliva
  • Gastric juices
  • Bile
  • Pancreatic juices
  • Intestinal juices 

A large proportion of these juices are reabsorbed to avoid major losses that would lead to dehydration.

However, water must be replenished, and juices must be produced to compensate for the daily loss of 200-300 ml. 

If the digestive system doesn’t get the water it needs, digestive enzymes can’t function and food won’t be digested properly. Poorly digested food leads to the death of good bacteria and the development of pathogenic bacteria, this is called dysbiosis. 

Other problems may be added, such as constipation and insufficient secretion of digestive juices. 

Let’s also talk about the special case of the liver. It contains around 1 liter of blood at any time of the day and is the major and irreplaceable organ for detoxifying the blood, synthesizing blood proteins, and regulating our metabolism. The liver is, therefore, heavily impacted by dehydration.

The synthesis of bile represents 1 liter per 24 hours, most of which is water! And without bile, there’s no fat digestion!

In the long term, this can lead to chronic diseases of the digestive system.

There is also the specific case of women who lose blood every month with their menstrual periods. The liquid part of blood, plasma, contains 90% water, so it’s vital to stay sufficiently hydrated during and after your period.

Effects on cognitive function and mental well-being

As we’ve already mentioned, good hydration is essential for maintaining mental faculties and brain health.

The habit of drinking enough should be taught from childhood, as dehydration can also have repercussions on children’s cerebral metabolism, leading to fatigue, lack of concentration or restlessness.

Connection between dehydration and immune system health

The regulation of immunity is complex and subtle and involves a huge number of different cells that secrete cytokines to communicate with each other. The immune system is present in every system and organ of our body. No part of our body functions in a vacuum.

But this regulation also depends on the other systems that communicate with the immune system: the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, respiratory and hormonal systems.

So, once again, hydration plays a part in the proper functioning of the cells of all these systems.

Holistic Health and Hydration

Water covers about 70% of the earth’s surface and makes up about 70% of our bodies. 

The holistic approach to natural medicine obviously advises drinking enough, but not only that: water quality is essential. 

We’ve developed all the information about these two crucial points in our book: “Hydrating Well with Healthy Water”.

Holistic approaches to maintaining optimal hydration levels

To stay well hydrated, it’s not enough to just drink. 

Our body’s water metabolism must also function properly. For example, demineralization facilitates dehydration, but many other health problems can also be problematic. 

That’s why treating health problems with natural medicines helps prevent chronic disorders that can lead to dehydration.

Conversely, as we’ve said, dehydration promotes a number of health problems, and this point is always taken into consideration in a holistic approach.

It’s also worth mentioning that only water and healthy beverages can hydrate. 

Sadly, many commonly consumed beverages are toxic, so in a holistic approach, it’s important to replace them so as not to harm our bodies. 

Finally, hydration is directly linked to our diet. A healthy diet is one of the pillars of hydration, since it provides healthy, nutrient-rich water, along with plants.

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