Dehydration: Low Energy and Brain Fog are Signs

dehydration

Many common symptoms such as lethargy, low energy levels, brain fog, muscle weakness, and light-headedness are from dehydration. Also included in the list are muscle cramps, nausea, and even increased breathing and heart rate.

What is dehydration?

A whopping 75% of our body consists of water. It is present in our cells, between our cells in body tissue, and in our blood vessels.  When this percentage drops, caused by more water leaving the body than coming in, we suffer the consequences.  By the time we actually feel thirsty, we are dehydrated.

Water loss happens routinely when we sweat during exercise and when we have a fever. It also occurs when our bodies eliminate waste (urine and bowel movements), and even when we breathe.

How can we prevent dehydration?

To replace this routine water loss from our bodies, we should drink six to eight glasses of water daily.  Fruit and vegetables contain lots of water, so increasing your daily intake of these items will help as well.   Also be aware that alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks are dehydrators. Adding a glass of water to your daily requirements for each serving of these items you consume.  You can include herbal tea in your daily requirement of water, it is actually hydrating.

Water Options

Drinking water does not have to be inconvenient or expensive. In fact, up to 25% of bottled water comes from municipal sources, not from glaciers or springs as advertised.  Simply turn on your tap, fill up a water bottle, and take it with you. This works at your desk working, running errands in your busy life, or relaxing at home.  Add a splash of unsweetened fruit juice, or fresh lemon or lime slices to water to spice up the flavor.

Bottoms up!

dehydration
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Another Success Story: Wheat Free and Reduced Sugar Diet

Just before Christmas a friend confided that she has been struggling with weight gain, sluggishness, and low energy for a while now and since a car accident a few years ago has added concussion-like symptoms, body aches and brain fog to her list of ailments. She was in a no win cycle where she knew she needed to exercise more, but exercise worsened her symptoms…

I told her how my wheat-free diet has eliminated many of my health issues and loaned her my copy of “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. She read the book from cover to cover, gaining motivation along the way, and by the end she was hooked!

Three weeks ago she began to eliminate wheat and sugar from her diet, noticing an improvement almost immediately. To date she has lost 12 pounds, and 2 pant sizes. More importantly, she feels more energetic and is able to exercise more frequently and for longer periods of time…fantastic!!

Lose the Wheat, Lose the Fatigue, Brain Fog and Weight

A year ago I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and low iron stores (ferritin). Since then I have read many books and discovered the two issues may be related. The book I liked the best is “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D. The basic information below is what I derived from his book. For further details and explanations, please read the book!

For years we have been told to eat more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and less of the simple carbohydrates found in candy or soft drinks, but studies have now shown that modern wheat is the culprit, making us fat and unhealthy!

This is because amylopectin, the glucose units found in wheat, is easily digested and quickly absorbed into our bloodstreams, increasing blood sugar levels. Gram for gram, wheat increases blood sugar faster than all other simple and complex carbohydrate foods. The insulin we produce naturally in our bodies converts the glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose level after a meal or snack, the greater the insulin level, the more fat deposited. The fat is deposited in our abdomens, encasing our livers, kidneys, pancreas, intestines and stomachs. This is called visceral fat and is uniquely capable of causing many inflammatory processes and health conditions.

For the past 50 years, wheat has been genetically altered to increase farmers’ yield by making the grain heat and drought tolerant, as well as disease resistant. Changes have also been made to modify its properties making the wheat more suitable for the baking industry. These changes have made wheat very popular in our lives, but have also had tremendous consequences on humans ingesting the wheat: increased blood sugar levels, inflammatory processes, pH changes, activated immune responses, neurological disorders, heart disease, cancer, skin rashes and obesity.

Wheat consumption can effect almost every organ of your body; the liver, lungs, pancreas, skin, heart, brain, stomach and intestine, thryroid gland etc. Wheat converts quickly to blood sugar, not only causing us to gain weight, but also leading to many debilitating conditions not just associated with excess weight. Wheat has also been proven to worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia, autism and ADHD.

In patients diagnosed with celiac disease, the most common wheat related illness, gluten protein causes an immune response that inflames the small intestine resulting in stomach cramps and diarrhea. Gluten is the component of wheat that makes baked products doughy and able to rise in the baking process. Wheat is the main source of gluten in our diet. Other less common sources of gluten include kamut, tricale, rye, bulgur, and barley. Gluten however is not the only villain in wheat flour, there are also thousands of other strains of proteins, enzymes and starches. These ingredients cause allergic reactions triggering rashes, asthma and even anaphylaxis.

Unfortunately wheat is not so easy to remove from your diet. Wheat products are convenient, readily available and satisfying to eat. To avoid wheat, be sure to read the ingredients list on food labels keeping in mind that wheat is in many items other than just bread. Fill the gap in your diet left by wheat with meats (not processed), vegetables, fruit,  nuts, eggs, avocados, olives, and cheese. You can actually eat larger portions of these items.

By eliminating wheat, your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as B6, B12, folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium and thiamine will improve.. Your fiber intake will also increase. Eliminating wheat from your diet may be inconvenient, but I guarantee you will notice a difference in as little as one week! You will have more energy, sleep better, feel more alert and look trimmer.

If substantial weight loss is your goal, please read my next post…

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

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For the past year or so I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy level and suffer from constant “brain fog”.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long and get distracted very easily.  Most people I complain to shrug and laugh saying “its just age” As just turned 50, I find that hard to swallow. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Getting Started

A complete physical from my family doctor revealed my iron stores or ferritin levels were very low. As a result, I was put on an iron supplement.  My ferritin level is climbing back up, but still has a long way to go to “normal” levels.  My hormone levels are within the normal range; so I am classified as perimenopausal.  It was suggested by two different doctors that I am suffering from depression.

I also found that hard to believe, so I started digging deeper.

Naturopaths can Help

I found a naturopath online and went to see her.  Although I had to pay for this visit (my health insurance does not cover naturopathic treatments) it was well worth it.  She listened to my “story” and set up a plan. 

She suggested testing for food allergies and/or sensitivities, again at my own expense. The options were to eliminate foods from my diet to see if I felt different/better (which could take months or even years) or a blood test.   I agreed to the blood test and received results within two weeks.

Blood Test Results

I am allergic to asparagus and wheat protein.   Now asparagus is pretty easy to eliminate from my diet, but wheat?  Wheat is in everything!  Luckily I am not allergic to gluten as many others are so my diet isn’t quite as restricted. Most grocery stores sell gluten-free products these days.  I can eat barley, oats, corn, rice, rye, etc. so have switched my pastas and breads to these grains. 

The bonus is, since I quit eating wheat, I have lost approximately ten pounds (most of which I notice has come off my middle) and my cholesterol level has gone down from slightly high to the mid normal range.

Further Investigation

This naturopath referred me to a second one who is also an MD and so can order blood tests etc.  He suggested that although my thyroid test results were normal I may suffer from hypothyroidism. (low thyroid function)  My other symptoms of low blood pressure, fatigue, and the fact that I always feel cold fit this theory.  He suggested treatment with dried thyroid. Although I gave it some consideration, I decided to wait to see if my rising ferritin level and absence of wheat in my diet would make me feel better.  In the meantime, I went to a thyroid specialist who has suggested testing my saliva for adrenal gland function,  stools for dairy and egg sensitivities, and my blood for further thyroid function tests.  

These tests are in progress, stay tuned!

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