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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Your Urine, What it can Tell You

A previous post talked about your POOP; this one discusses what your urine can tell you.

I was taught in chemistry courses that normal human urine should be “straw-colored” or very pale yellow, clear (not cloudy), and fairly odorless.  Any deviation from that color, clearness, and odor is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong…

For example:

Cloudy or Murky

If your urine is cloudy or murky instead of clear, it could mean you have too much protein in your urine.  This excess of protein may indicate that your kidneys are not functioning properly due to kidney stones, a tumor, or other disease states.  Cloudiness can also indicate a bladder, vaginal or urinary tract infection. Extreme cloudiness (so cloudy that it is almost milky) can indicate the presence of fat or mucus.

Colourful Urine

Urine that is dark yellow usually indicates dehydration.  Although your first output of the day is typically darker yellow and more concentrated, especially if you have had a good night’s sleep, it should not stay that way throughout the day.

Although some medications may cause orange urine, an extremely dark orange colour can indicate impaired liver function caused by a blockage or obstruction, infection, cirrhosis, or hepatitis.

Urine that deviates from the yellow color to pink, red or dark brown often means there is blood present.  This can indicate a urinary tract or bladder infection, an enlarged prostate gland, or the presence of a tumor.

Some foods and supplements or vitamins can cause your urine to be discolored and or exhibit a pungent odor.  Examples include curry, garlic, beets, berries, asparagus, and B vitamins.  Synthetic dyes in medications, vitamins, and some food can result in a blue or green tinge.  

Smelly Urine

Urine that smells like sulfur or just funny is usually food-related. An ammonia-like smell usually indicates dehydration.  A foul smell usually indicates infection.  Sweet-smelling urine usually indicates diabetes.

Frequency

The frequency of your need to urinate is also significant.  If you cannot go almost four hours without the need to find a bathroom you should investigate this need.  The reason could be temporary like pregnancy or excessive water, caffeine, or alcohol consumption.  It can also indicate weak pelvic floor muscles, or more critically,  a bladder infection, stones, or tumors.

Conclusions

Remember that anything you eat, drink, swallow, breathe in, or even ingest through your skin is removed from your body through your kidneys and liver into your urine.

The moral of this post is to convince you to keep an eye on what your urinary output is telling you.  Keep these variations in mind.  If drinking more water does not fix the variation by rehydrating your body or helping the filtration process of your kidneys and liver by diluting the offending source, be sure to seek medical advice.