The Golden Age - Hydration Equation
Stressed? Tired? Putting on weight? Suffering from heartburn, backache, high blood pressure? Drinking more water could help, but is this the whole story…?
By Dr Jaroslav Boublik
We all know that we should consume at least two to three litres of fluid each day. While this is important, we must question whether this fluid is penetrating far enough to provide nutrients to all the cells and organs throughout the body.
The core issue at question here is hydration: the body’s ability to utilise and manage water at a cellular level.
While you might consume enough fluid over the course of the day, it will only be effective if it is reaching the required targets – the tissues of the body. Hydration is not only about supplying the body with fluid, it is also about making sure the fluid reaches the necessary organs and cells to promote proper function. Good hydration during the stages of life will prevent visible aging, which occurs when the largest organ in the body (the skin) becomes regularly dehydrated.
Hydration can be tested by pinching the skin on the back of your hand. If it springs back to its original shape, chances are your hydration is satisfactory. If a small ridge remains for a few seconds you may be lacking fluid.
A major reason for poor hydration as get older is the gradual decline of the thirst mechanism in the brain. When we are young and get thirsty, there is no stopping us when we want a drink. However, over time by ignoring the signal or responding to the signal for fluid with food or dehydrating drinks (such as coffee or alcohol) the signal will decline. For most people this will occur as early as their teenage years.
Therefore, the issue becomes not how much fluid we intake but how well the uptake of that fluid occurs. By improving uptake the water will reach all cells in the body and provide the twin benefits of supplying nutrients to the individual cells and flushing the cells clear of toxins which may have built up.
This is what is known as long path hydration and short path hydration and it differs from the short path hydration common in most people in several essential ways.
Short path hydration means the fluid will follow a path from the mouth, to the stomach, into the small intestines, into the circulation, into the kidneys, into the bladder and out of the body. This process will actually tend to stress the body, particularly the kidneys, rather than assist the hydration of tissues.
Long path hydration means the fluid will follow a similar path to the circulation, but will then flow into organs and tissues before flowing into the cells.
Recently our company, Wild Medicine Pty Ltd - developed specific technology that promotes this pathway of correct long path hydration. The core technology - which has since been patented - contains homeopathic dilutions of several herbs, combined as a concentrate. This concentrate is added to a drink to promote cellular uptake of fluid.
However there are some good simple techniques that, when used daily, will also assist fluid uptake. The best is a combination of apple juice and water. Apple juice contains a lot of fructose – a key sugar which opens pathways for water to infiltrate cells. Another good vehicle for hydration, which may surprise most people is cola, diluted 1-1 with water. This is used by a lot of athletes because the caffeine, at a diluted level, will help the body uptake water. Remember however, that while these approaches will assist in meeting immediate hydration needs, they will not upgrade hydration in the same way that herbal or homeopathic formulas can.
Other soft drinks have other common sugars which, while not quite as good as fructose, will improve the uptake when diluted with water.
If the body is lacking electrolytes - for instance after an extended period of exercise - then the plethora of sports drinks play their role. Again they are their most effective when diluted with water. However it is also important to monitor electrolyte levels. Those who tend to perspire a lot may require a lot more electrolytes than someone who did the same amount of exercise but didn’t perspire as much.
Hydration is a much overlooked issue in managing our wellness. The fact that water acts as the most basic level of metabolism should be a clue to the importance of hydration as a component in any holistic healthcare regimen. But simply drinking water is not enough…
Based on an article originally published in Women’s Fitness Magazine.
Hydration Solutions for Everyday Health
The best: Apple juice and water, plus The Aqua Hydration Formulas.
Second choice: Apple juice and water
Third choice: Other non-citrus juices and water
Next: Pure spring water and mineral water, various soft drink diluted with water
Finally: Concentrated sports drinks