Are you dehydrated? How dehydration can influence blood pressure (Pt. 2)

We are electro-magnetic beings

The movement of water (blood and lymph) exerted by our circulatory and lymphatic systems generate hydro-electric energy that the body can use. This is possible because of special pumps found on the cell membrane that generate energy when water passes through this membrane. But it is also made possible by minerals flowing through our arteries and smaller vessels carrying electricity. Whenever electricity is flowing along well-defined pathways, magnetic fields develop around those same pathways. The magnetic fields, in turn, have an effect upon the flow of charged particles in our blood and lymph (3).

Salt, because of its high concentration of minerals, is needed to keep the fluid in the body electrically charged. This is the reason these minerals are called ‘electrolytes’, they carry electrical charges. What is more, salt keeps water in the right places in the body, especially in the inside and outside the cells. Not only salt and water create this electro-magnetic effect, the foods we eat extract the minerals from the soil, then as we digest these foods they get incorporated into our bloodstream and tissues.

Something like ‘leaky gut’ and maldigestion, however, can allow undigested food to enter the blood stream and interrupt the normal flow of energy by thickening the blood, creating an immune response and an increase of ‘circulating immune complexes’, blood clots, and many dead cells.

In this sense, health can be defined as a combination of all the electromagnetic fields of the foods we eat, and the minerals circulating in the blood, lymph, the vital organs, nerves and brain. The health of the whole body is built around the presence of these minerals, being suspended in the body. A mineral rich diet is essential for heart health (3).

The composition of the body: Minerals, trace elements and electrolytes

Like we already pointed out, 4-5% of our body’s tissues are made of minerals, trace elements and electrolytes. 25-26% is made up of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, the remaining 70% is made out of water.

All of the electrolytes, minerals and trace elements are needed for the body to function properly. Deficiency of one does not result in death but the tissue that mineral, electrolyte or trace mineral activates can throw the other processes off balance. Deficiency symptoms may lead to fatigue, nausea, disease although not necessarily to death.

The critical mineral balance in the body is known as homeostasis: the normal internal stability of the body chemistry and processes when all body systems are in the proper balance. How much we need of each depends on age, sex, weight, lifestyle and individual body chemistry.

Each mineral has its own vibration (electrical charge) and each has its function in the body. In general, electrolytes are found in the body in greater amounts than minerals and trace elements. Out of the 4-5% amount of minerals present in our body, electrolytes make up 70-80%. Electrolytes are vital to health and life, without them life would not be possible (3).

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals which are capable of splitting into two opposite electrically charged minerals (ions) when dissolved in a fluid like water or blood plasma. Once they split, the water portion of the blood transports them to body tissues in this electrically charged form, then they move from one electrical level to another, and recombine with other ions or interact with one another. When this happens, they attach themselves to:

  • Proteins to become part of enzymes (Eg. hemoglobin)
  • Co-enzymes
  • Hormones
  • Vitamins and
  • Other highly active and important substances in the body

 As an example, let’s say you take some magnesium chloride. This combination will stay as such until it is dissolved in the blood or lymph. There, it separates into two particles with opposite electrical charges: magnesium and chloride. This split form keeps recombining to allow the body to perform all the functions we know as heartbeat, nerve conduction, etc.

The electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which have a positive electrical charge, and chloride, sulfate and phosphate which are negatively charged. Electrolytes act mainly inside and around cells: potassium, magnesium and phosphate are found inside, while sodium, calcium and chlorine are found outside the cells. Differences in electrical potential between the inside and the outside of the cell allow some substances to go through the cell wall and keep others out. This is one of the ways cells control what can enter and what cannot.

Electrolytes work in pairs, this is the case sodium and potassium, calcium and magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. This means that when there is too much of one, the other that pairs with it, is excreted.

Electrolytes can be destroyed with vomiting or diarrhea, high fevers, perspiration, even drinking too much water can can flush them out of the body through urine. Physical or mental stress will deplete electrolytes and trace minerals at a very fast rate. Conditions caused by electrolyte deficiency are high blood pressure, cholesterol and clogged arteries, digestive problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.

More functions of electrolytes

-Keeping the acid-alkaline balance: The normal state of the blood stream is slightly alkaline, limited to a very narrow pH of 7.3 to 7.45. This is important because most of the mineral processes in the body can only happen in the narrow pH between 7.35 and 7.45 and temperatures close to 98.6 degrees F. Many of the body’s enzymes are designed to trigger or speed up mineral processes at that pH and temperature range. Certain electrolytes constantly neutralize metabolic and other acids to keep the pH of the blood within the proper range. For example, carbon dioxide wastes released by the cells are carried in the blood plasma as sodium bicarbonate, rather than carbonic acid. When this happens, the pH of the blood is not forced to be too acidic (3).

Magnesium also assists in the neutralization of acid wastes in the bowel.

Potassium combines with metabolic acids in the muscle tissues especially in critically important tissues like the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas.

-Muscle contraction: Muscle contraction depends on the electrically charged ions of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. This is initiated by a nerve impulse requiring potassium and sodium at every nerve synapse that allows the nerve impulse to get to the muscle from the brain.

-Sulfur is used in tissue respiration, plays an important part in bile secretion and is found in insulin. The sulfur compounds in garlic are believed to have a powerful anti-cancer effect and an immune system enhancing effect as well.

-Calcium and sodium are in every cell of every organ, gland and tissue of the body and they are two of the most needed elements. The fluid surrounding the cells of the body contains a certain concentration of sodium ions which cannot pass through the cell membranes. When the fluid level drops too far, the sodium concentration increases and the thirst center of the brain is activated. The pituitary gland releases a hormone that signals the kidneys to conserve water. When the fluid level increases too much, the sodium concentration is decreased and the adrenal glands release the hormone aldosterone, which signals the kidneys to get rid of some of the water while retaining the sodium. In the course of filtering 170 liters of blood plasma every 24 hours, the kidneys recycle over 99% of the water, sodium, chloride and bicarbonate, 95% of the phosphate, 93% of the potassium and 70% of the sulfate. The excess minerals or metabolic wastes that are not needed are excreted in the urine (3).

They assist vitamins: Vitamins cannot do their job unless adequate minerals are present in the body. Minerals combine with certain vitamins to detoxify and help remove metabolic waste from the body.

What are the most important electrolytes for a healthy heart?

Sodium-potassium and calcium-magnesium are some of the most important electrolytes for the heart.

Sodium and potassium are always found together in the body. According to Dr. Eric Berg, potassium is one of the electrolytes that we need in the highest amounts: we need four more times potassium than sodium. That is around 4,700 mg of potassium a day, balanced with 1,000 mg of sodium.

Dr. Berg explains there is what is known as sodium-potassium pump that is built on the surface of our cells. Each of our 100 trillion cells has between 800,000 and 30 million of these little pumps. The importance of these ‘pumps’ is immense: these pumps are generators of electrical energy and they allow nutrients to go in and out of the cell. This is essential for health because each cell requires a lot of energy in order to do their work, in fact, 1/3 of all the food we consume is used to run these pumps.

There is another pump in the stomach called the hydrogen-potassium ATP ACE pump that also requires potassium and allows the body to create stomach acid to help us digest food. These pumps are also in the muscles, and the nervous system.

Potassium, therefore, is essential for building these pumps and because of this potassium is needed for:

  • Charging the cell electrically: Our cells have certain voltage that allow things in and out of the cell to create energy for our body to function
  • Helping the muscles contract and relax: Potassium allows calcium to go into the cell. Calcium is essential for muscles to relax, and muscle cramps might be a sign of potassium deficiency
  • Helping in nerve conduction: The nerves need potassium too in order to conduct electricity
  • Controlling fluid and hydration in the body
  • Assisting in the production of energy in the body as a whole

Best food sources of potassium are dulse with 8,060 milligrams per 100 grams, kelp (5,273 mg.), goat whey (3,403 mg.), wheat bran (1,121 mg.), sunflower seeds (920 mg.), almonds (773 mg.), etc. Eating two generous garden salads each day containing at least 6 vegetables, will provide enough food sodium and food potassium to keep the body’s reserves. Processed foods have a lot more sodium and little potassium, while unprocessed foods provide more potassium than sodium.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency are:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of heaviness on muscles
  • Arrythmias, because the electrical impulses don’t work
  • Alteration in heart beat, like the ‘skipped beats’ characteristic of atrial fibrillation
  • Hypertension
  • Fluid retention
  • Lack of stomach acid, which translates into problems digesting protein and absorption of minerals
  • Constipation, the potassium from vegetables helps with constipation and keep the liver clean

Potassium levels can be low due to different reasons:

  • Not consuming enough vegetables in the diet
  • Surgery
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Too much sugar in the diet: High sugar can lead to a condition known as ‘insulin resistance’ in which the high levels of sugar cause the body to start ignoring insulin. Because insulin helps carry nutrients inside the cells and is necessary for the sodium-potassium pump to absorb nutrients, with insulin resistance, nutrients don’t get stored inside the cell
  • Diuretics: They flush the electrolytes from the body
  • Too much salt: It can deplete potassium
  • Ketogenic diets: As the body looses fat, urination is increased and potassium is lost
  • Drinking too much water
  • Stress

Most tests don’t show a deficiency in potassium because potassium stays inside the cell, with the exception of a very sophisticated test called ‘Intercellular test’.

Calcium and magnesium are also among the most important electrolytes for the body. They both combine with certain enzymes that break down foods, produce energy, form proteins and help make DNA.

Both calcium and magnesium are insufficient in the majority of the population. Lack of stomach acid can keep calcium from being absorbed. If calcium isn’t dissolved when it reaches the small intestine it is excreted. Calcium absorption requires vitamin A, C and D, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc. For calcium to be used properly vitamin D, stomach acid, and trace elements zinc, copper, chromium, manganese and molybdenum are all necessary. Best magnesium foods are the green vegetables especially the chlorophyll rich leafy, green vegetables, poultry and fish. Best calcium foods are leafy, green vegetables, raw goat milk, nuts, seeds, ripe olives, white beans, lentils, broccoli, green snap beans (3).

Concluding, we have seen how water and salt are essential for healthy blood pressure. The minerals present in salt generate electrical currents that provide us with energy, even to the level of the cell. This is essential for the health of our heart.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulics
  2. Batmanghelidj, F. Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. Place of Publication Not Identified: Tagman, 2004. Print.
  3. Jensen, Bernard. Come Alive. Escondido, CA: B. Jensen, 1997. Print.
  4. (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/list-minerals-sea-salt-8907.html)

Are you dehydrated? How dehydration can influence blood pressure (Pt. 1)

We have seen how the body is a pressurized system that depends on fluidity to perform many important functions: transport of oxygen and nutrients, and detoxification. Good circulation means the body can receive oxygen, nutrients and can remove toxins. On the contrary, poor circulation translates into lack of oxygen, starvation and build up of toxins. For this reason, proper circulation could be said to be the key to good health. Health is movement and movement creates electrical energy to power our heart, brain and other organs.

The importance of this is shown in the composition of the body itself: 70% of the body’s weight is made out of water, 25-26% is made out of protein, fats, and carbohydrates and the remaining 4-5% is made out of minerals, trace elements and electrolytes.

In this blog, we will see look at the importance of proper hydration for heart health. We will focus on the importance of salt and the role it plays in water balance and healthy blood pressure.

The bodys hydraulic system

The word ‘hydraulics’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘water pipes’ and it is defined as the power exerted by pressurized fluids (1). The body’s circulation system is designed as the most advanced hydraulics system (2), with its miles of arteries and capillaries. This hydraulics system makes sure that water is distributed promptly wherever it is needed in the body.

In this sense, the vessels of the body are designed to cope with the fluctuation of their blood volume and the tissue requirements by opening and closing. When the total fluid volume in the body is decreased, the main vessels also have to decrease their aperture, otherwise there would not be enough fluid to fill all the space allocated to blood volume in the body (2).

Blood volume fluctuates regularly as the body’s needs change, and it is influenced by the ‘blood-holding capacity of the capillary bed that determines the direction and the rate of flow to any site at a given time’ (2). This process is naturally designed to cope with any priority work without the burden of maintaining an excess fluid volume in the body.

As a general rule, where there is a higher demand of blood, circulatory systems are kept fully open for the passage of blood. This is the case of digestion. When we eat, more capillaries are open in the gastrointestinal tract and fewer are open in the major muscle systems. This is why we feel less active after a meal. When digestion is finished, less blood is needed in the digestive tract so the circulation to other areas of the body can open more easily (2).

This shunting of blood is highly orchestrated by a mechanism that establishes the order of priorities for the capillaries to open or close. This order is predetermined according to a scale of importance and function: The brain, lungs, liver, kidneys and glands take priority over muscles, bones and the skin in blood distribution(2).

Water shortage: dehydration

Dehydration is a serious health problem. In normal circumstances, the water we drink gets inside the cells, and regulates the volume of a cell from the inside. Salt regulates the amount of water that is held outside the cells. Water balance is kept in the right place by a self regulating mechanism in the brain. However, dehydrating beverages like alcohol, tea, coffee, juices, and other commercial drinks, processed and denatured foods with chemical additives and not enough water can influence this water regulating mechanism negatively. Even milk in great quantities can cause greater volume of urine to be excreted that is ingested (3).

What is more, when we don’t drink enough water to keep all the needs of the body going, some cells become dehydrated and release some of their water to the body’s general circulation. ‘The capillaries in some parts of the body then have to close’ (2). This is because there is a very delicate balancing process in the design of the body in the way it maintains its composition of blood at the expense of fluctuating the water content in some cells of the body. When there is a shortage of water, some cells will go without a portion of their normal needs and some others will get a predetermined rationed amount to maintain function. However, the blood will normally retain the consistency of its composition. It must do so keep the normal composition of elements reaching the vital centers. Under circumstances of dehydration the body will favor blood even if it means to shut down some vascular vessels (2).

Loss of this self regulating brain mechanism (loss of thirst sensation) (2) is characteristic of the elderly (3), and it always translates into blood volume loss. When this happens, 66% of the water lost is taken from the water volume normally held in the cells, 26% is taken from the volume held outside the cells and 8% is taken from blood volume (2).

How dehydration can lead to hypertension

Under circumstances of water shortage, the blood vessels close to deal with the loss in blood volume in the less restrictive areas. This allows the body to keep the balance needed to keep other capillaries open. When the capillaries are closed and offer resistance, only an increased force behind the circulating blood will ensure the passage of some fluids through the system. This extra force increases blood pressure as it requires the heart to work harder to ‘push through’. To improve this condition, the capillaries must remain open and full and offer no resistance to blood circulation. Activities like exercise will allow the capillaries to open and hold a greater volume of blood within the circulation, relieving hypertension (2).

In this respect, high blood pressure is ‘an adaptive process to a gross body water deficiency’ (2). Essential hypertension should primarily be treated with an increase in daily water intake. When we don’t drink enough water, the body’s only way to keep its water volume is by keeping sodium in the body, only this way will water remain in the extra cellular fluid. This is not the healthy normal status of water balance, but a last resort way of retaining some water in cases of emergency needs.

Diuretics are ‘scientific absurdity’ (2) because they force the body to get rid of its water, making the body even more dehydrated. Water is the best natural diuretic.

Dr. Bernard Jensen also believed that not taking enough water before eating may cause the circulating blood to be too concentrated with nutrients, which could affect the liver, heart and lungs negatively. He recommended people with high blood pressure to increase their water intake with added potassium and magnesium, especially after heavy meals.

Dehydration, therefore, explains the need to increase blood pressure to build a ‘filtration force’in the body. The precaution to keep in mind is loss of salt from the body when water intake is increased and salt intake is not. Dr. Batmanghelidj’s recommendation is as follows:‘After a few days of taking six-eight-ten glasses of water a day, you should begin to think of adding some salt in your diet.’(2)

Water is also needed for digestion, assimilation, elimination, circulation, nutrient transport, temperature control and as a solvent and medium for chemical reactions to take place. But the body needs a certain amount of water, no less and no more. All but 1.5 quarts of the water in the body is recycled. The 1.5 quarts represent water plus waste that must be excreted from the body as urine (3).

The role of salt in fluid balance

We just mentioned how water stays in the inside of the cell, while salt stays on the outside of the cell. When we are talking about dehydration, both water and salt are of equal importance. ‘Salt is a most essential ingredient in the body’ (2). The body’s wisdom dictates the need to retain salt in order to keep water inside the system. It will take a gradual increase in urine to pass the excess salt out. Meanwhile, the ‘edema fluid’ many people are concerned about when they start supplementing with salt, is explained by the body’s need to ‘filter some of its water and flush it through the cell membrane into some of the cells’ (2). It is the same principle as a water osmosis purification system used in cities. This also explains the rise in blood pressure to build a ‘filtration force’.

Functions of salt in the body

Salt is a most essential ingredient of the body. ‘In order of importance, oxygen, water, salt and potassium rank as the primary elements for the survival of the human body.’ (2)

Salt has many functions:

About 27% of the salt content of the body is stored in the bones in the form of crystals. Thus, salt deficiency in the body also could be responsible for the development of osteoporosis, because salt will be taken out of the bones to maintain its vital normal levels in the blood.

Low salt intake will contribute to a build up of acidity in some cells. High acidity in the cell can damage the DNA structure and be the initiating mechanism for cancer formation in some cells. Experiments have shown that quite a number of cancer patients show low salt levels in their body.

Muscle cramps at night are a sign of becoming salt deficient. Also, dizziness and feeling faint might be indicators of salt and water shortage in the body. In these circumstances, an increase in vitamins and minerals intake is recommended, especially vegetables for their water soluble vitamin content (2).

Other health care professionals also believed in the importance of salt for health. Dr. Bernard Jensen had this to say about salt:

‘Sea salt (food sodium) is assimilated and stored especially in the walls of the stomach and the bowel where it neutralizes excess acids and protects the stomach and bowel wall from tissue damage due to acids. Sodium is also stored in the joints where it helps keep the joints supple and prevents calcium from coming out of solution to deposit in the joints as spurs.’ (3)

Differences between table salt and sea salt

Table salt is mainly sodium chloride and a caustic alkali with chlorine. Sodium chloride is not found alone in nature. In its natural state, it is mixed with other minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, sulfate, etc. that have to be separated in order to produce the kind of table salt that we buy at the store. This refining is done through a series of chemical procedures including bleaching and added chemicals. This kind of salt used excessively can rob calcium from the body, cause water retention, high blood pressure, loss of elasticity in blood vessels and hardened tissues (3).

Table salt enters the body in a concentrated form that the body cannot assimilate so it is sent to the kidneys. Food sodium, on the contrary, is not concentrated so it enters the system in an amount that can be controlled and directed to the right organs and tissues. The stomach and the intestine are sodium organs and are in need of constant food sodium.

Sea salt is the closest thing in nature to a natural mix of different mineral salts. It disperses little by little into the blood as it is broken down, digested and assimilated. Table salt, on the other side, overdoses the body with sodium which is more or less useless in the functioning of the various tissues and its main effect is to cause more water to be held in the tissues.’ (3)

Sea salt mineral composition

‘Sea salt comes from evaporated sea water…as a result, …sea salt has as many as 75 minerals and trace elements.’ Among them we can find:

Sodium and chloride: The most abundant ions in sea salt, representing about 33% and 50.9% of total minerals, respectively. They are both essential substances our body needs for normal function and nutrient absorption. Chloride specifically helps with muscle and nerve function. Sodium also acts in muscle function and helps regulate blood volume and pressure.

Potassium: Another important macro-mineral that works with chloride to help regulate acid levels in the body.

A quarter-teaspoon of Celtic sea salt contains 601.25 milligrams of chloride, 460 milligrams of sodium and 2.7 milligrams of potassium (4).

Calcium and magnesium: They both play essential roles in several chemical reactions in your body. Magnesium, for example, intervenes in energy production and the synthesis of RNA and DNA. Calcium helps give structure to bones and teeth, in addition to regulating heartbeat, normal muscle and nerve function. Both are present in sea salt at the approximate concentrations of 1.5 milligrams and 5.2 milligrams per 1/4 teaspoon, respectively (4).

Sulfur: It is the third most common mineral in sea salt. There is about 9.7 milligrams per quarter-teaspoon of sea salt. Even though it is not an essential mineral, sulfur plays an important role in the immune system and detoxification. Every cell in the body contains it, and it helps give structure to two amino acids. According to researcher Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., sulfur is the eighth most common element in the human body and is important for normal metabolism and heart health (4).

Trace Elements: Trace elements are metals with very specific electrical and chemical properties. As such, they have electrical effects in our body and take place in particular and unique reactions. This is the case of many enzymes, where trace elements are found embedded deep within. Enzymes could not function without trace elements: On enzyme structures they serve as valuable spark plugs that help speed up chemical reactions. They also act on proteins like hemoglobin (carries oxygen in the blood) and myoglobin (which stores oxygen in the muscles). These reactions, despite being subtle, are very powerful, therefore, although needed in very minute amounts, trace elements, work with the rest of minerals to create health. Since processing removes all vitamins and minerals from food, it is important to eat fresh foods (3).

Trace elements are also essential because they work with other minerals to maintain optimal function in your body. Among the trace minerals found in sea salt are: Phosphorus, Boron, Zinc and iron (used by the body to make enzymes involved in metabolism), Manganese, Copper, Silicon and phosphorus. Phosphorus typically occurs in trace amounts in sea salt, but it is actually an essential macro-mineral. Our body uses it as a structural component of bones, teeth and cell membranes, as well as for energy production (4).