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  • Dr. Katie O'Connor

Hydration Situation - Are you drinking too much water?

In 2019 I’m pretty sure most people have been made aware that it is really important to drink water.  Most people even know they should drink at least 8 glasses and possibly even know that the general best recommendation is to take in ½ their body weight in ounces of water. But what if there was something better than water?  Let’s dive in to why being HYDRATED is super crucial to health, and why there may be a better way to get there then lugging around your gallon of regular H2O and having to pee all day long.

What many people don’t realize is that have well hydrated cells is more important that simply drinking a ton of water.  Let’s take a look at why staying on the liquids is so important. Your body is comprised of about 65 percent water, which is needed for a number of physiological processes and biochemical reactions, including but not limited to: blood circulation, metabolism, regulation of body temperature, waste removal and detoxification.

Even mild dehydration will trigger fatigue, irritability, brain fog, headaches, and dry skin.  Longer term the body can lose its ability to regulate temperature, kidney function, heart function and blood pressure properly.  Once your body has lost between one to two percent of its total water content, it will signal its needs by making you feel thirsty. However, by the time your thirst mechanism actually kicks in, you're already in the early stages of dehydration, so you don't want to ignore the initial sensations of thirst.

Ok so hydration is important, what do we mean by something better than water?

Gel water, also known as structured water or 4th phase water, isn’t quite a liquid, gas, or ice. In fact, it’s H3O2, not H2O. It’s the kind of hydration that’s in water-heavy foods such as melons and cucumbers, or when you soak chia seeds and they turn into a jello-like substance. In fact, H3O2 makes up the majority of water in our bodies.  Research indicates that gel water is better at hydrating than regular water because its absorptive properties help retain more water in the body. The water in our synovial fluid, joint fluid, and, importantly, our cells, is gel water. Think of your cells as tiny Ziplock bags full of jello-like gel water, which keep our cells and tissues in the proper shape and buoyancy.  The electrolyte content and different make up of structured water is far more easy for our body to absorb all the way into the cells.  Gel water doesn’t eliminate the need for regular water, but it does reduce it. We’re not sure of the magnitude yet, but what we do know is that the absorptive qualities of gel water are excellent for hydration and that people who are better hydrated have increased cell function, energy, and mental function.

Now, don’t run out to your nearest health food store looking for “gel water” in the aisles (although we’re sure sometime soon someone will find a way to sell this simple product for a stupidly large margin), it is simple enough to make your own.  The best ways to make gel water are to simply add lemon, lime, cucumber, or a pinch of pink sea salt to your plain old water. Green juices, bone broth, collagen, chia seeds (crushed or ground prefereably), coconut products, and ghee (clarified butter) are also sources of H3O2.  Eating gel heavy fruits and veggies (think juicy, like melons, pears and citrus) will also help your body to retain water, and studies are showing that using these gel waters will improve your cells communication.  

Why we need a closer look at hydration

Water is an important mechanism by which you remove toxins and naturally produced oxidants from your body.  Recent but groundbreaking research also shows that our ability to create energy or ATP for our cells to perform functions such as repair and reproduction (anti-aging) is dependent on whether we can adequately get water into our cells.  As it turns out, if we are low in gel water, electrolytes, and fiber, we will have difficulty getting water into the cell, which is why many people feel like they are drinking a lot of water, yet still feel dehydrated. 

Preconception and pregnancy are other really important times to consider gel water. When we are trying to conceive or grow a baby, we really need all of our cells functioning at one hundred percent. Creating amniotic fluid, the placenta and having enough water for baby is a big job! Another great reason to drink 4th phase water, is that you will be less likely to be taking as many potty breaks, since the water will absorb instead of running straight through the system.  Yes, we do still recommend at least 8 glasses of water per day, but if you can make at least half of these gel water your body will respond better than you could imagine!

So try it out this week and let us know how it worked and what some of your favorite ways were to take in gel water!! Happy drinking! 

Dr. Katie O'Connor is the expert prenatal chiropractor at Life Naturally Chiropractic, an Orland Park, Illinois based chiropractic office specializing in the care of women before during and after pregnancy. Contact Dr. Katie O’Connor at Life Naturally Chiropractic for more information today.

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