Why Dehydration Is So Dangerous

The scary thing about modern people is that most of us are dehydrated and don’t even realise it. And dehydration is not something that the body can afford to be —its deterioration is almost immediate.

Water is an important structural component of skin cartilage, tissues and organs. For human beings, every part of the body is dependent on water. Our body comprises about 75% water - the brain is 91%, blood is 90%, muscles are 75%, kidney is 82% and bones are 22% water. The functions of our glands and organs will eventually deteriorate if they are not nourished with water.

Symptoms of dehydration

Symptoms of the body’s deterioration begin to appear when the body loses 2% of its total water volume. In a healthy adult, this is seen as fatigue and general discomfort.  In an elderly person, a 5% water loss causes the body chemistry to become abnormal and one can usually see symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles, lethargy and even disorientation. Continuous water loss over time will speed up aging as well as increase risks of diseases. When assessing if you are dehydrated look for the following common symptoms:

  • trouble with basic math
  • difficulty focusing, fatigue and yawning
  • erratic and moody behaviour
  • sneezing, headaches
  • constipation
  • aches & pains unrelated to injury/infection
  • craving sugar, sweets and caffeine
  • urine is dark and has a strong smell (morning time aside)

Dehydration makes your heart and kidneys work harder

One of the reasons these symptoms occur is because dehydration actually places the body under great strain and makes many organs, including the heart and kidneys, work much harder.

If your body is not sufficiently hydrated, the cells will draw water from your bloodstream, which will make your heart work harder. At the same time, the kidneys cannot purify the blood effectively. When this happens, some of the kidney's workload is passed on to the liver and other organs, which may cause them to be severely stressed. Additionally, you may develop a number of minor health conditions such as constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, nosebleeds, urinary tract infection, coughs, sneezing, sinus pressure, and headaches. 

How did I become dehydrated?

You would think that some automatic biological impulse would kick in saying, Alert alert! Thirsty thirsty!And it does! It is called the thirst mechanism but for most modern people it’s not working properly.

The thirst mechanism can reduce in functionality due to the aging process but one of the primary causes for its failure is because people are trying to satisfy thirst with other beverages or food. We hear the message from our brain alerting us to our thirst but instead of reaching for water, we reach for other beverages including tea, coffee, juice, soft drinks or milk or food. For those of us who do reach for water to quench the thirst, it is often the wrong water, the water incapable of hydrating on a cellular level.

Let’s look at each mistake separately.

Mistake 1: Quenching thirst with other beverages

Beverages like juice, milk, tea, coffee and soft drinks are all liquid foods and require the body to put in energy and effort to digest them. Once digested, more toxic waste products are created, which in turn dehydrate the tissue cells further and add to their acid load. The poor kidneys then have much more work to do to purify the system. To further exacerbate the problem, caffeine drinks and soft drinks are also diuretics, which will cause more dehydration.

Far from addressing the dehydration problem, drinking these other beverages in fact increases the problem. The initial thirst mechanism worked by sending the message of thirst, but the response was faulty. This is very common in today’s world. We mistake the thirst mechanism for hunger, or reach for other beverages, neither of which addresses the problem.

It is a big mistake to count these liquid foods as a replacement for 'water'. Nothing else does what water does in the body. If the average adult loses 2.5 litres of water per day then of course this amount needs to be replaced. More active individuals can need 3 litres or more for optimum health. These other liquid beverages do not hydrate. In fact, they add to the dehydration, placing an already dehydrated system under more strain.

Now think about the impact on the behaviour of our children and most young adults who reach for high caffeine (Redbull, Mother) and sugar and flavoured drinks chocolate milk); imagine the strain on their body and the impact on their behaviour! We often hear and see the results in violence, poor behaviour and illness. 

Mistake 2: Quenching thirst with the wrong water

zazen Water is underpinned by one important understanding: Not all water is the same.

Of the many people we meet we come across water drinkers who consistently have a similar complaint about feeling bloated when they drink tap water and bottled water… and regardless of the amount they drink in a day they still feel thirsty! Some are drinking 3 litres per day! This is because the water cannot be used by the body effectively and sits in the stomach while the body tries to use it!

For water to hydrate your body it must be:

  • filtered (cleaned of toxins, bad bacteria and chemicals) – reducing the toxin load on your body – so your body is NOT the filter!
  • mineral and electrolyte rich and balanced
  • mildly alkaline (your blood is 7.4 pH slightly alkaline)
  • naturally energised
  • have smaller water clusters

Neither tap water, nor bottled water, nor filtered water, nor overly alkaline water achieves this balance of ingredients. zazen “Alkaline Mineral” Water is designed to be all of these things — the perfectly balanced water able to be received and absorbed into the body at a cellular level meeting the modern day body’s hydration requirements.

How much good quality water should you drink?

For every kilogram lost(remembering that you need to replace the water lost each day due to everyday metabolic / body function), you should drink approximately 1 litre per 25 kilograms.