I regularly tell my patients to drink water, hydrate, or take electrolytes. When working on the human body, I can tell when someone is dehydrated. It’s super simple—they move easily or they move like a car tire. The human body ultimately depends on movement for your brain to work its best. 78% of your brain is always monitoring your movement. 78 percent!
Water has a direct relationship to keep you moving properly. It is a significant reason why the majority of people I take care of get to my office. It‘s easier for injuries to happen in a body that isn't adequately hydrated. If the tissue of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, and vasculature are not hydrated properly, it compromises the ability to move and adapt, and there is a greater possibility of injury. Research shows that 70+% of people are chronically dehydrated. Think about what this means for you. Dehydration decreases the ability for blood flow throughout the whole body—one great example of this is cold hands and feet. People think this is normal—it’s not! Cold hands and feet show the inability of your blood to deliver oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the farthest point your heart has to push blood. If your heart doesn’t have the volume inside the arteries and veins, blood pressure and perfusion will be low, leading to the decreased delivery of anything in the bloodstream. If your body has decreased blood flow, it can‘t remove bad things from your body. If blood volume is low, your general inflammation is higher because it can’t be removed regularly. Think about taking the trash out of your house, imagine if you could only remove 80% of the trash. This would be a problem, right? Eventually, your house would be filled with trash and be uninhabitable.
Yep, you have to look at your pee. The color is extremely important. As a society, we have been told to drink water until your pee is clear, but this is actually one reason people are dehydrated. You read right, you can actually be dehydrated by consuming too much water. The reason: Our current water sources have a lower amount of quality electrolytes in proper form for proper absorbability into our body, so when you are consuming a significant amount of water all you’re doing is acting like a fancy water filter. So if your pee is clear, you are drinking too much water and need a variety of electrolytes and trace minerals to rehydrate.
If your pee is dark, there are a few common scenarios:
1. Dehydration (most common)
2. Infection (you’ll most likely have other symptoms)
3. Inflammation is high (check with a doctor and do blood analysis)
If you see something in your urine outside of the basic things I described, seek assistance from a qualified professional.
Now that you know what to look for, here are ways I personally go about correcting these issues. After using the restroom, a clear presentation means I’ve consumed way too much water or am low on electrolytes. For supplementing electrolytes, I love Trace Minerals Power Paks; all the flavors are great. I consistently take about two a day no matter what. When I am increasing my training for a race, it varies from 2 to 7 per day. I will occasionally get an IV for hydration during triathlon season, but I suggest you do this sparingly as it can jack you up if you do not understand your blood work. If my pee is dark, I begin to hydrate consistently, taking roughly half of my body weight in ounces of water. If I need more, I take in more—it really depends on your activity. Simultaneously, I usually stick with my two packs of electrolytes per day when my pee is dark.
Now that we have covered both extremes of dehydration, diet is the most important electrolyte replacement. Diet trumps supplementation, no matter the argument. You can not perform any exercise or be a healthy functional individual if you do not eat great food. I can guarantee if you consistently hydrate for 30 days with proper electrolyte consumption, you will be a different human being. A useless but extremely valuable clinical tip I’ve learned in the past 12 years is that people who come in to my office with an acute neck or low back situation are always dehydrated. They have either not taken enough water or they did something physically that dehydrated them. Then 8 times out of 10, they go to sleep and wake up with an acute low back pain or restricted head and neck movement. So I want to save you some time, money, and hardship—HYDRATE! Drink water, eat healthy food, and take supplementation that encourages proper hydration. You have to take in vitamins and minerals to properly hydrate, the water will not get in your system otherwise. Looking at your pee and poop is an excellent way to keep an understanding of what is happening to your body on an hourly/daily basis. I hope this helps you stay a little healthier.
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