Over Hydration and Cellular Fluidity

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

One of the main regulatory actions in our boides is to maintain cellular balance between water and substance like salt, potassium, calcium etc. Too much of one or of the other brings about an imbalance...seems easy enough right?

Well for some reason we as humans decide to make our lives that much more difficult for ourselves and the way we do this is by over hydrating. Although it is rare to over hydrate to the point of vomiting and is possible to over-hydrate to the point of cold hands and feet along with minor decreases in energy along with other symptoms like peeing too clearly and minor headaches. That's right... read that second to last symptom again. Peeing too clearly and not just too clearly but too often is not a good thing.

Although peeing frequently can be taken as sign of diabetes due to the livers inability to halt gluconeogenesis leading to an increase in Glucose disposal via our urine, it can also be a sign of drinking too much. This is a problem especially if the drinking of water is forced...and why would it be forced? More often then not most people read nutritional media and one of the popular fallacies for weight loss is that we all need to drink a standard set of water each day. Obviously this need to be taken in the correct context however some people do not do this, they literally must drink a certain amount of water each day like it's a math formula...when in reality it is far from one.

Here is a bit of anecdotal evidence to further my point

This is slowly becoming a part of metabolic rehab as too many people are over-hydrating with not just water but with also green smoothies and forcing down protein shakes at the wrong times. These liquid concoctions have a place in health and nutrition, but something as simple as over hydrating can throw your body out of whack way more so than some of things we regard as unhealthy like a slice of pizza or a donut ever could.

I will go more into cellular hydration and salt regulation in a later post. This is just a primer.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for this. I have trouble understanding how the "8 glasses of water" requirement is supposed to work for all people, regardless of size, shape, and activity level.
    2265 days ago

    "while it may not be sound advice from an overall health standpoint, I can personally attest to the fact that drinking 8 glasses a day is quite effective as a weight loss enhancing technique."

    I agree, drinking water is great because obviously it is a zero calorie liquid so we don't take in extra calories from SSB (sugar sweetened beverage) However in terms of drinking water to induce weight loss via increasing consumption of water is not smart if you calories are too low and you are not consuming enough salt. Like I said in beginning our cells are delicate and need homeostasis and they will send signals to your brain when something is out of whack.

    Forcing oneself to Drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day even though you may require less on that particular day to "enhance weight loss" while your metabolic rate drops and your sodium levels decrease is not smart...any medical professional will tell you so. That is why some days you may consumes 52 oz water while other days you may consume 74oz and the average ends up being 64oz or somewhere around there. Just like with food consumption some days you may eat more then others but it averages out in a normal physiological scenario.

    The Key Word here for everyone reading this is "Forced Consumption" if your thirsty then drink but if your not then put the green smoothie down and eat something.
    2299 days ago
    Interesting blog. I've often wondered about the legitimacy of the 8 glasses a day rule. Especially when taking into account the major variances of each person's fluid intake in addition to the 8 glasses of water they are supposed to drink (much of which is made up of additional water). That said, while it may not be sound advice from an overall health standpoint, I can personally attest to the fact that drinking 8 glasses a day is quite effective as a weight loss enhancing technique. Which is probably why it's recommended here on SP.
    2299 days ago

    It depends on many different factors:

    -- how much you are eating and in what macro-nutrient ratios
    -- where your metabolic rate is at
    -- Amount of exercise etc

    I drink a fair amount of water my self but the common theme I come across with some people is trying to drastically cut calories and simultaneously increase their water intake. It's the forcing of both I find to be harmful in the majority of cases when sustained for long periods of time.

    Also keep in mind that this brief opinion of mine isn't meant to defer anyone from drinking water per se just deferring them from drinking water at inopportune times.

    For instance when you first wake up in the morning you are generally hungry yet I see this myth floating around that you should drink a 8 oz glass of water upon waking....nothing could be farther from the truth unless you really are dehydrated upon waking (which is a bad sign in and of itself) but I digress. The point then being that forcing water intake even when one is not thirsty because we must drink our water or green smoothies or protein shakes is very harmful and can lead to "metabolic harm" if done consistently.

    If your hands and face are warm then drink all the water you want to quench your thirst but if you wake up in the morning and have freezing cold hands and feet and feel hungry then eat first to the point of satisfaction before taking in liquids.

    This article sums up the point very nicely:

    2299 days ago
  • STODD251
    Interesting... I drink a lot of water, but I don't feel like I overhydrate. At what point does it become overhydration?
    2300 days ago
    I had this problem a bit when I wasn't replacing my electrolytes and was just drinking a lot of water when I worked out. Its good to drink water -- but I think Spark should remind us of our electrolytes too.
    2301 days ago
    Water Intoxication -- an increase in the volume of free water in the body, resulting in dilutional hyponatremia. Common causes are excessive ingestion of water, increased infusions of hypotonic IV solutions, or excess secretions of antidiuretic hormone.
    2301 days ago
    I've read about someone who died from chugging water for a contest. They figured because it was water and not something like beer or whatever else, it couldn't harm them. Guess they were wrong when the contestant died from too much water in their system.
    2301 days ago
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