By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Magnesium and dehydration
Dehydration is a condition where the body loses excessive water and salts.
If the kidneys and brain are functioning normally, the body is able to manage small changes in water intake.
However, the body can lose a considerable amount of water due to diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating. An excessive loss of fluid may also come as a result of certain health conditions. Certain medications can also increase the risk of dehydration.
With excessive water loss, electrolytes like chloride, potassium, sodium and magnesium are flushed out with the water. As we rehydrate, these electrolytes need replenished as well.
Two thirds of the human body is water.
Our cells need plenty of water so the essential chemical reactions taking place inside them can work properly.
During minor variations in water intake, our body is able to regulate water loss through the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secretes a hormone called ADH or anti-diuretic hormone.
The main function of this hormone is conserve the fluid volume of your body by reducing the amount of water expelled through urine. This is done by increasing the permeability of kidney cells to reduce water loss.
When the concentration of salts in the blood stream increases (as a result of less water intake), an anti-diuretic hormone is released by the pituitary gland. This in turn allows reabsorption of water from the urine, making the urine more concentrated.
A diuretic functions by preventing the release of ADH. Low levels of ADH will cause the kidneys to excrete too much water.
As water loss through urine is increased, so is the loss of electrolyte salts. Excessive use of many diuretic medications can lead to symptoms of dehydration and magnesium loss.
Diuretics inhibit the re-absorption of electrolytes in the kidneys. Therefore, more sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride ions are excreted through the urine.
Magnesium is an important mineral that helps in various cell metabolic activities. Loss of this ionic mineral from the body worsens the symptoms of dehydration.
Magnesium is essential for:
When there is a deficiency of magnesium, the entire cell process is affected, leading to symptoms like:
Mild to moderate dehydration is characterized by:
The condition becomes severe when there is increased electrolyte loss from the body.
With severe dehydration, there may a deficiency in the body’s electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. This can lead to further water loss.
Severe dehydration can lead to a drop in blood pressure, causing light headedness or the feeling you are going to faint.
Magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride ions are important minerals required for the healthy functioning of various systems of the body.
Balanced electrolytes in the body are critical for optimum sports and fitness enthusiasts. During exercise and excessive physical exertion, electrolytes are lost due to excessive sweat.
These imbalances can lead to:
You can purchase Gatorade or a similar product to help replenish electrolyte salts that have been lost during exercise.
These sports drinks contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride. They also contain sugar or sweeteners to improve taste.
A little known product, Ionic Sea Minerals, may actually be a better choice for pre-hydration, hydration and re-hydration.
Take six stalks of celery and one apple and grind them with water to make a mix. Squeeze in some lemon juice.
This juice combination works wonders for the replacement of electrolytes. Celery is a natural source of four important trace minerals. Apples provide potassium and a pleasant taste.
Another home-made electrolyte mix can be prepared by adding ½ teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of maple syrup, ½ teaspoon of sea salt and a dash of lemon juice to an eight ounce glass of water and mixing well.
Baking soda may taste a bit weird, but it helps to balance the acidity of the electrolyte mix.
A banana smoothie can work wonders for treating symptoms of dehydration. Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, needed to regulate the body’s fluids.
To make banana smoothie, crush one banana with one cup of almond milk and one cup of Kale. Kale is a great superfood, plus it is a good source of calcium and magnesium.
Severe dehydration can cause enough loss of magnesium salts from the body to lead to a worsening of the condition.
To treat and prevent dehydration, magnesium and other electrolytes should be included in the diet.