Today I wanted to introduce you to a really simple technique designed to help to hydrate your body quickly and easily that also takes some of the load off your kidneys and helps them function at an increased level. But before we get to that let’s first take a look at what role water actually plays in the body and why it’s so important.
You know you need water to survive, and you feel better when you drink it regularly, but what’s really at play in the body when you sip H20? In short, a lot! Believe it or not, your body weight is about 60% water. Your body uses water in all of its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions.
Water is undoubtedly our most important nutrient. You can survive without food for three weeks or longer but without water, you can only survive for a few days- this gives you a bit of an idea about how important drinking enough water is to our health.
How much water should you drink?
The amount of water you need depends on a variety of different factors and unfortunately, there is no universally agreed-upon answer to this question. How much water someone needs depends on a variety of factors including your sex, weight, the climate you live in, how physically active you are and whether you have any other health problems.
The general suggested intake is about eight glasses of water a day which is the equivalent of about 2 litres with an extra glass for every hour of physical activity. This amount will increase in hot climates or during strenuous exercise because when we’re sweating more, we lose fluid through sweat- anywhere from 100mls to several litres per day depending on our activity levels and the temperature.
As I mentioned, optimal water intake will also differ depending on any health conditions you have. This is particularly the case for people with advanced kidney disease. As kidney function declines, getting rid of excess fluid can become a problem, leading to a build-up of fluid in the body. For this reason, for people in stage 4 and 5, the recommended fluid intake will depend on urine output, fluid build-up and blood pressure. It’s important that you speak to your doctor about your own specific needs.
Water: our most important nutrient
The most common answer I get when I ask my clients how much water they drink in a day is ‘not enough.’ So, while most people know water is important for their health, it doesn’t mean that they are getting enough.
Let’s have a closer look at the reasons why water is such a powerful element when it comes to your health:
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- Regulates body temperature
- Aids digestion
- Normalises blood pressure
- Maintains electrolyte balance
- Protects your tissues, spinal cord and joints
- Helps your body remove wastes
- Helps your brain function optimally
- Keeps your cardiovascular system healthy
- Help flush bacteria from your bladder reducing the risk of urinary tract infections
- Helps to prevent kidney stones
Water and the Kidneys
The kidneys play a key role in regulating fluid balance in the body. In addition to regulating fluid balance, the kidneys filter waste from the blood. The kidneys function more efficiently in the presence of an abundant supply of water. If we’re not adequately hydrated, the kidney produces more concentrated urine resulting in a greater cost in energy and more wear on kidney tissue.
Studies have shown that drinking less fluid and specifically drinking less water was linked an increased risk of developing CKD and a faster decline in eGFR.
While there may not be any agreed-upon ‘right’ amount of water to drink per day, there is one thing that all health professionals agree on and that is that dehydration = bad.
Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Obviously, not drinking enough water causes dehydration but certain circumstances can exacerbate the process including diarrhoea or vomiting, increased sweating, burn recovery or diseases such as diabetes.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated.
Symptoms of dehydration vary depending on the severity but can include:
- Urinating less often
- Dark urine
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Dry skin
- Changes in mood and cognitive functioning
Dehydration and Kidney Disease
Dehydration can cause a build-up of wastes and acids in the body, and it can clog the kidneys with muscle proteins, causing damage to the kidneys. Dehydration also contributes to the formation of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, both of which can lead to kidney damage. Kidney damage from medications (nephrotoxicity) also increases in the presence of dehydration.
Dehydration is well known to be associated with acute kidney dysfunction and it used to be believed that this was reversible and didn’t have any long-term effects on the kidneys. Evidence is now accumulating showing that chronic or recurrent dehydration causing kidney injury may over time lead to permanent kidney damage.
Makes a pretty good case for making sure you’re well-hydrated, doesn’t it?
The type of water matters
We talk a lot about the quality of the food we eat but we often forget to think about the quality of our water. Water quality varies a lot throughout the world, but all water contains some degree of impurities such as chemical, fertilizer and waste residues; additives from the treatment process such as chlorine and aluminium; organic matter, sediment, rust, lead and other substances absorbed in the waterways and plumbing systems; parasites and other microbes and pharmaceutical drugs.
For this reason, it is recommended to drink filtered water for the best kidney health. Filtering your water will reduce heavy metals, chemicals and toxins, which can burden your kidney function, as well as contribute to other health issues. Plastic bottled water (spring or purified) is not recommended, as there is the danger of chemical contamination via leaching from the plastic. Glass bottles, however, would be acceptable.
Okay, so we’ve discussed the key role water plays in our body (remember without it we die), the consequences of dehydration and the link between inadequate fluid intake and kidney disease. Now I think it’s time to introduce you to the…….
Kidney Calm Hydration Technique
Throughout the day, we all continually drink liquids to rehydrate, usually drinking 200-250ml at a time but have you ever really thought about the pressure this puts on your kidneys?
Because the kidneys play the primary role in regulating the balance of fluids in the body, whenever the body is exposed to a large amount of water at any one time, the kidneys have to work hard to help maintain that delicate balance of fluid and electrolytes.
By following this simple ‘Kidney Calm Hydration Technique,’ you will literally take the load off the kidneys, removing the burden and helping them function at an increased level. Plus, this technique helps to hydrate the body quickly, easily and to a greater degree, so you will reap the benefits of increased energy, mood and concentration, improved urination, better digestion and a younger, healthy-looking complexion.
Are you ready? Here it is:
Measure out your daily fluid allowance (on average 2 litres of water daily) each morning and have 70ml (equivalent to two mouthfuls) each half hour until it is all gone.
That’s it! I did warn you that it was simple. But please do not underestimate it. Do not hesitate, measure it out now and get drinking.
* Don’t forget to discuss your own water needs with your healthcare provider and keep within your fluid restriction if you are required to follow one. *
Hopefully, this article has given you the push you might have needed to up your water intake and I do really encourage you to start using the Kidney Calm Hydration Technique so you can discover the benefits for yourself.
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