Are you Dehydrated?
You could be dehydrated and not even know it. My only symptom was light headedness. Dehydration is more than just needing to drink more water, it can also result from electrolyte depletion.
My Story: How I Learned I was Dehydrated
Little did I know when I took a day off work to check out The Healthy Living Expo in downtown Minneapolis, that I would spend the next several weeks learning about Himalayan salt as a means to cure dehydration and replace electrolytes. I was offered a chance to use the MERIDIAN McPulse for free. The McPulse was designed to provide a Pulse Wave Analysis of your body’s arteries to give you a sense of how well you are aging from the inside. Although I confess, I am somewhat at a loss as far as how this non-invasive technology works, what stunned me most was the interpretation of the results which indicated I was not just a little, but SEVERELY dehydrated….
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is defined as a deficiency of fluid that disrupts metabolic processes. It can be caused by a loss of electrolytes or water. Isotonic dehydration is most common, which is a mixture of electrolyte loss and water. This is interesting because it means that water alone isn’t always enough to rehydrate a severely dehydrated individual. While many of us have heard of electrolyte replacement drinks, these are often expensive processed sugar water concoctions containing artificial ingredients that more health conscientious individuals prefer to avoid.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
Dehydration can cause headaches, low blood pressure (hypotension), increased heart rate, fatigue, swelling of the tongue, constipation, lightheadedness, dimmed vision, fainting, loss of appetite and dry skin, and delirium or death if water loss exceeds 15%.
Causes of Dehydration:
Here are some of the many possible causes of dehydration: diabetes insipidus (caused by a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone leading to excessive thirst and urination), hypernatremia, hyponatremia, diarrhea, vomiting, stimulants such as methamphetamine or amphetamine, weight loss, fasting, alcohol consumption, prolonged exercise and sweating, diuretics, hot dry environments, infectious diseases such as cholera or gastroenteritis, and food borne illnesses such as bacillary dysentery resulting from water polluted with feces.
I drink a fair amount of water and/or tea in a day, and learning that I was dehydrated was an unexpected result, but also explained some of the lightheadedness I had been experiencing. I decided to try a homemade Electrolyte Drink, which I’ll admit tasted quite awful. However, in a pinch, perhaps it could be made more palatable by adding it to another beverage such as juice? I combined the following in a mason jar, drank about a 1/4th cup serving (which was all I could really force down) and put the rest in the fridge never to drink again:
How to Cure Dehydration with an Icky Homemade Electrolyte Drink:
- 1 Qt water
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp No Salt (potassium based) sodium free salt alternative (which contained: potassium chloride, potassium bitartrate, adipic acid, silicon dioxide, mineral oil and fumaric acid)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Benefits of Himalayan Salt
I wasn’t sure what kind of salt would be best to use in the yucky electrolyte drink – table salt enhanced with iodine vs. sea salt? And so my research continued. I learned that Sodium choloride (table salt) is refined and often contains additional ingredients, and while sea salt would be a good option, it is often refined also because our oceans have become so contaminated with mercury and other toxins even the salt is polluted. So, it would seem that when it comes to salt, the benefits of Himalayan salt is the crème de la crème because it comes from pristine deep mountain deposits which haven’t been touched in millions of years. As an added benefit, Himalayan crystal salt may contain up to 84 trace elements and minerals (including calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium and iron), however you’ll have to supplement your iodine another way such as kelp or a liquid extract.
It’s funny how one thing leads to another then another… so next thing I knew, I was researching Himalayan Sea Salt, and wondering if the “vibrational components” were too hoaky or if there might be a grain of truth to the anecdotal energy benefits to the body. I’m all for extra benefits, especially if I can get them through a bath so I don’t have to drink a yucky electrolyte drink!
Himalyan Salt Replaced Electrolytes and Helped me Cure Dehydration
Fortunately, I found a much easier way to get the electrolytes I needed-and all I had to do was take an occasional relaxing bath with Himalayan bath salts!
My idea of a relaxing getaway often includes a visit to one of my favorite hot springs. A plethora of healing benefits have been indicated in countless testimony, so I am not alone in this hot spring yearning. Soaking in hot spring mineral pools has been said to benefit almost every condition and health problem imaginable from respiratory problems, fatigue and detoxification, to skin problems, rehydration, and stress reduction.
How much Himalyan Salt to use in your bath?
Do-it-yourself Hot Spring Bath with Himalayan Salt Crystals
For a do it yourself hot spring bath at home, I’ve personally enjoyed dissolving this mixture in my hot bath water:
- 1-2 cups of Himalayan Bath Salt (the deeper the red color, the more minerals present I’ve been told because it comes from deeper more iron rich areas of the earth)
- 1-2 cups Epsom salts (also a good source of magnesium which is something many of us are deficient in)
Soak 20-30 minutes and I think you should get the majority of the benefits..or tweak the time and measurements to your own needs and preferences. While most baths are dehydrating, the Himalayan salt in this bath is supposed to be absorbed into the upper layer of your skin actually helping your body retain some of that water rather than losing it. I’m hoping it will help me replenish some of my electrolytes.
More Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt
Other possible Himalayan salt benefits of a sole saturated salt water solution, observed by some, include a more stable heart beat, improved circulation, the elimination of aches and pains, and potentially even the regulation of blood pressure (but remember, it is important to replace lost fluids that you may lose through sweating or your blood pressure could increase. When it comes to blood pressure, it’s all about having the proper balance of water and electrolytes.)
Osteoporosis and Dehydration
I’ve also come to understand that osteoporosis results from a salt and water shortage in the body and that bones are 22% water, so it’s important to maintain the proper levels to keep our bones and other connective tissues healthy and strong.
Electrolyte Replacement Drinks vs. Himalayan Salt Bath???
My Conclusion: It is good to have options!
Replenishing our electrolytes (especially with mineral rich Himalayan salt) can help prevent dehydration while increasing the quality of our lives in so many diverse ways, and fortunately, there are many electrolyte replacement drinks that actually taste good so getting your electrolytes replenished need not be a chore anymore!