Did you know that drinking too much water can actually be bad for your health? The same thing can be said for drinking too little water. The amount of water you drink may be different, but the end result is a trip to the ER, or worse. We all know about dehydration, which is a lack of fluids in the body, usually too little water. But when you drink too much water, your body can suffer in another way, too low of an electrolyte count in the bloodstream, often called “hyponatremia.”
Hyponatremia can be so dangerous to runners that they are at higher risk if they do not have a hydration plan that also addresses electrolyte and mineral replenishment. One such example of a runner suffering from hyponatremia occurred in the Boston Marathon, with 13 % of people experiencing a hyponatremic state after finishing the race in 2002. Now, a marathon is a specific race that is an outlier, in some cases. Focusing on hyponatremia related to long distance physical activity can be considered different than hydration during periods of light exercise. Light exercise can have a different impact on the body compared to intense physical activity.
But with the summer coming, and temperatures trending to be warmer than the recorded averages, you might lose more fluids through sweating than you realize. Remembering to drink water might not be first on your list of things to do, and when you feel thirsty, it’s usually when your body is actually already deprived of water. This is dangerous because our body is not telling us we need water until it is too late. Minerals and electrolytes are important during the summer, too. Body sweat that tastes especially salty or leaves behind a white stain on exercise clothing is high in salts, meaning your body is losing minerals rapidly while sweating. This means you need to add more minerals into your diet, through foods and supplementation.
There are many ways to interpret what your body is telling you. Feeling faint or dizzy could be the beginning of dehydration. The issue is trying to manage the symptoms and make sure you are balancing your mineral and water intake. Supplementation can help, Mineral Factor, one of my best selling supplements, contains a unique blend of necessary minerals, including magnesium and potassium. These are utilized by the body to regulate multiple functions and homeostasis.
A healthy diet also maintains your electrolyte balances, along with drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. Drink more if you tend to sweat more than the average person or exercise much more on a particular day. Remember that when it’s hot out, you should drink a bit more. But enjoy the outdoors when you can, that way, the sun can help you make another important nutrient, Vitamin D!