We are soon entering into the hot summer months and normal activities are reappearing after months in quarantine. We are all trying to make healthy choices during this time, but a major factor contributing to our health often gets overlooked.

That part is our hydration! Most people don’t think about hydration when they aim to optimize their health -but they should. 75% of our body is made up of water alone! Here is some insight as to why hydration is vital to feeling good.

What Does Hydration Mean And Why Is It Important to Stay Hydrated?

Hydration means that you are causing something (your body) to absorb water. Since our body requires water to survive, it’s vital that we maintain a healthy consumption and do our best to promote absorption. In fact, every cell, tissue, and organ needs water to function properly. Our body depends on water to balance nutrients, regulate our body temperature, remove toxins, and lubricate our joints. Simply put, our body needs enough water to carry out the necessary functions that keep us alive.

8 Reasons Why Hydration is Vital for Optimal Health

1. Enhances Oxygen and Nutrient Delivery to Cells
2. Removes Waste and Flushes Toxins
3. Absorbs Shock to Joints
4. Improves Cell to Cell Communication
5. Helps the Body’s Natural Healing Process
6. Improves Kidney Function
7. Helps Your Heart
8. Transports Nutrients

What Happens When Your Body Is Dehydrated?

When your body doesn’t have enough water, your body pulls water from your cells, causing them to shrink. When this happens, it sends a message to your brain. Your brain then communicates this to you through the feelings of thirst. Your body also tells your kidneys to excrete less water, leading to higher concentrated urine (hence the possibility of darker urine in dehydrated individuals). This is how our bodies attempt to maintain the correct balance of water to minerals.

Side Effects Of Dehydration

Some side effects of dehydration may not be as you expected. A drop in the body’s water content by as little as 2% will have a negative impact on the body. A drop of 10% can cause significant health problems. When your body is dehydrated, it won’t be able to carry out those critical tasks listed above. Read below for some symptoms you may experience if your body isn’t receiving as much water as it requires.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

Joint/Back Pain
Focus and attention complications
Mood Changes
Increased heart rate
Dry Mouth and/or Skin
Dry Mouth / Cotton Mouth

Things That Cause Or Speed Up Dehydration

Consuming excessive amounts of salt or toxic substances (alcohol) will encourage dehydration.
Excessive sweating without proper rehydration.
Caffeine consumption
Fighting off an infection
Long travel
Vomiting or Diarrhea
Prescription Drugs
Some supplements and herbs
Chronic Diseases
Climate and ambient temperature

Tips to Staying Hydrated This Summer

The good news is that if you experience and recognize any of your symptoms as dehydration, the solution may not be taking medications, but could be as simple as drinking more water! Here are a couple of tips to help you stay hydrated.

Eat Water-Dense Foods

In the United States, about 20% of our water consumption comes from food intake. However, in countries like Greece, it is much higher because they also consume a higher intake of vegetables and fruits.

Try to incorporate more foods that are >80% water into your diet like:


Add Water Consumption To Your Schedule

Make it part of your routine to drink more fluid during the day. Set a goal of drinking ‘x’ amount of cups or ounces of liquids every so many hours, drinking a tall glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning, or setting a glass of water by your bed in case you wake up thirsty.

There is no set rule how much someone should take becausethere are so many variables that can impact how much or little water one needs such as body dynamics, diet, activity levels, climate, etc.

A simple calculation for a general rough idea of how much water you need simply take your body weight and divide it by 2. This is approximately how much water you should consume at an elementary level. If you are consuming beverages that are diuretic in nature like tea and coffee you need to drink 1.5 times your calculation. A basic rule of thumb is to pay attention to your urine color and smell.  It should be yellow or clear.  If it has a dark and strong odor, you are likely dehydrated.

Flavor The Water Naturally

If you find it difficult to down a glass of regular water, try diffusing some fruits or herbs into the water overnight. Change up the taste profile to make you want to drink more. Some examples are cucumber water, lemon & basil, orange & mint, strawberry to name a few ideas. Don’t try to buy the flavored waters in the stores. They often include added sugar or artificial sweeteners, preservatives and/or are stored in plastic bottles, which isn’t good for your health because of the toxins in the plastic.

Use The Best Water Filter For Your Area

When you are increasing your water intake, make sure you are fueling your body with clean water. You don’t want to be harming it with even more toxic chemicals. One way to ensure you are getting clean water is by using a water filter. While there are many filters out there that can reduce chemicals, you can figure out which one to get once you know what your water is actually contaminated with. Depending on where you live, you may need a specific type of filter to remove the most common toxins in your area. The EWG website allows you to enter your zip code, so it can display the toxins that are considered high and the kind of water filter that would work best for your home. One of our favorite filters that is also good for the environment is a Berkey Water Filtration system.

Supplements To Enhance Hydration

Electrolytes are needed for optimal health. They help our bodies absorb the water we drink and enhance hydration. Many of our cells rely on electrical charges to communicate (voltage-gated ion channels to be specific). Regular distilled water doesn’t carry an electrical charge. When you are dehydrated it’s important to replenish your electrolytes as well as water intake. Sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are some of the most important electrolytes for your body. The best way to get these is by taking supplements. One easy way to ensure hydration is to add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your water.  Sea salt contains dozens of minerals to help absorb and utilize the water we drink. Most people are deficient in magnesium and potassium, but you can get your levels checked just to be sure.

Increase Cellular Function and Metabolic Pathways

Your cellular function is vitally important. B Vitamins and co-factors can improve cellular function and processes so that your body can properly hydrate. If your body can’t utilize the water you are consuming optimally, then all your effort of trying to hydrate goes out the window. In2GREAT offers an IV Hydration Therapy, also known as the Myer’s Cocktail, which includes:

Specific B Vitamins
Methylcobalamin (B12)
Vitamin C

If you’re located near Kansas City, functional medicine clinics like in2GREAT can be extremely beneficial to your health. If you want to ensure you are staying hydrated this summer, get in touch with in2GREAT at (913) 308-0174.

Dr Corey Priest, DC - Functional medicine practitioner

About the author

Dr. Corey Priest has been practicing functional medicine since 2001. in2GREAT was founded in 2014 by Dr Priest after 13 years of experience with his other practices. Over his career, Dr. Priest has worked with and helped well over 10,000 patients under a functional medicine model.

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