How To Crush the Four Major Dehydration Myths

The Truth about Dehydration: 4 Myths, Revealed

Dehydration. You know what it is—too little water in the human body—but you
may not realize that you're experiencing it more often than you realize … and that it can have a huge impact on so many areas of your life!

As a seven-time IronMan finisher, I consider myself to be in good health. And as the developer of Hyburst, I consider myself an expert in the field of hydration. So how did I end up passing out from dehydration, needing IV fluids and a glucose
injection??

The answer is important—not just for me, but for you, too—because it illustrates
how fast your body can succumb to dangerous symptoms of dehydration.

A few months ago, I attended an event called, "Hell on the Hill." It's an annual endurance event hosted by Jesse Itzler and Sara Blakely on their property in Connecticut.

It's designed to push your limits, physically and mentally, to demonstrate the power of the human will. When you're done, you've ascended and descended the hill 100 times and covered 8.5 miles, but the distance isn’t the issue. It's hot and slippery, and it's hard to find footing. It's 80 yards at a 35% incline.

I'm in shape. I'm a hydration expert. And I'm an IronMan (which means I've completed courses that comprise a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run). And while I'd seen dehydration happen to other athletes on various courses several times, I never expected it to happen to me.

But I underestimated the course and the conditions. I underestimated my own hydration. Although I had water and Hyburst with me, it wasn't enough, and by the time I finished the course, I realized I was in trouble. I actually collapsed.

When I regained consciousness, the paramedics were standing over me. They wanted to take me to the hospital, but we talked with my doctor and after a couple of bags of IV fluids and a glucose injection, I was feeling much better.

Dehydration this severe is dangerous. It means you have low blood pressure, and not enough oxygen. It means fuzzy thinking, headaches, possible vomiting, and digestion issues.

But even mild dehydration can cause problems. And whether you realize it or not, you may be experiencing those problems right now. That's why I wanted to share with you some of the most common myths around dehydration, and the truths behind them.

Myth: Dehydration is not a big deal. It doesn't affect people other than making them feel thirsty.

Truth: The human body is 60% water. Water is everything: it acts as a transporter of nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs, provides structure to cells and tissues, and can help preserve cardiovascular function (The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance by Shaun K. Riebl, MS, RD and Brenda M. Davy, PhD, RD, FACSM).

 

You've probably experienced a headache due to dehydration, and other symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and lack of focus. Think about how you feel mid-afternoon. You know that mid-afternoon slump you usually fix with a soda or a cup of coffee? Chances are, it's dehydration at work.

Those obvious symptoms aren't the only ones you should be watching out for. Body water loss of as little as one to two percent can impair cognitive performance, including emotion regulation, reaction time, and short-term memory.  

Long-term dehydration can also increase the chances of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, hypertension, and stroke.

Myth: If people are dehydrated, they know it.

Truth: Not necessarily.

A CBS report from 2013 found that 75% of Americans likely suffer from chronic dehydration. So chances are good that you're dehydrated right now!

Dehydration can feel like hunger—because your body is looking for any source of liquid (even food). You might also experience thirst, a dry mouth, a headache, or muscle cramps (along with the fatigue and fogginess mentioned earlier).


The thing is, many people attribute these symptoms to something else, when they actually result from dehydration.  

Myth: Drinking more water is the best way to avoid dehydration.

Truth: Plain water doesn't contain electrolytes that are crucial to optimal hydration. Your body needs electrolytes—sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride—in order to function properly. Electrolytes form ions, which carry electrical energy necessary for many functions, including muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses. (Note: This is a big topic, and I'll go more into depth on it in my next article. Watch your inbox!)

Myth: Only athletes get dehydrated.

Truth: Dehydration isn't exclusive to people who do sports. Children and older adults are especially at risk for dehydration. Children don't always remember to drink enough and my not have access to water they can get for themselves. And older adults with decreased kidney function may need to drink more than they realize.

But even healthy, younger adults can become dehydrated because they aren't aware of their hydration state.  

Now, here are some tips for staying hydrated:

  1. Keep your water bottle handy and make sure you're getting plenty of water throughout the day. Women need about 12 cups per day and men need about 15 (you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces, every day!).

  2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially watermelon). They're loaded with water and other important nutrients.  

  3. Make sure you're getting electrolytes in addition to other liquids.

And here's one final tip:

Sign up for my complimentary 4-Pack Challenge. When you do, you'll get 4 packets of Hyburst plus a Hydration Guide at no cost! Plus, I'll send you regular content about the best ways to stay hydrated and healthy. Sign up here:

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