How anxiety can make you dehydrate
Two years ago I received the following letter from a very concerned and caring wife of an old client:
“Since our last communication (concerning my daughter), my husband Alan has had a cardiac arrest while we were staying overnight with relatives. One week later, he was out of hospital, sporting a defibrillator and now, six weeks later, he has started cardiac rehabilitation with little obvious after-effects. The doctors put it down to a viral infection of the heart muscle: cardiomyopathy. His large vessels were normal, except for 80 per cent stenosis of a small diagonal vessel. He is currently on medication that he would prefer not to have. We have a ‘miracle man’ with us largely, we think, due to his basic good health having followed the principles of your diet regime. However, over the last several years he has strayed pretty much and has not been taking any supporting nutrients. He has also had dental infections and consequent root canals. Over the past 15 months, he has had ‘palpitation sessions’ accompanied by vomiting — usually after exertion or ‘bad’ food, caffeine and alcohol. We would both like to be reassessed and return to appropriate foods and supplements.”
A thorough screening of Alan’s biochemistry revealed the following information:
- Critically depleted nutrient reserves associated with liver detoxification pathways, especially: choline, ascorbic acid, mixed tocopherols, copper, manganese, ubiquinol, thiols, bioflavonoids and glutamine.
- Inefficient nerve conduction.
- Impaired energy pathways associated with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, an important mediator of muscle contraction
- Inefficient choline-dependent immune response. (Choline does not have the glamorous profile of some of the better-known vitamins, yet even a slight deficiency can have an inhibitory impact on brain, liver, kidney, pancreatic and parasympathetic nerve function. Choline deficiency has also been associated with an increased degree of free-radical activity in liver, kidney and heart tissue.)
- Indications of a tendency to insulin resistance, which has been linked to a group of risk factors for heart diseases and stroke. (Insulin receptors are present in heart membranes, where the hormone regulates a number of processes, including myocardial energy metabolism, heart muscle contractility, protein expression and ion transport mechanisms.)
- Marked sensitivity to MSG. (Unfortunately, this additive is hard to escape, being in thousands of processed foods. MSG is made up of sodium and amino acid, glutamic acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and, as such, are vital to every living organism. When glutamic acid is withdrawn from its natural food source, without its companion amino acids, it has no nutritional value whatsoever and can cause symptoms characteristic of mild toxicity, because our body may attempt to handle it as a foreign substance. Research has shown that glutamate receptors in the heart are damaged by MSG-derived free radicals.)
Alan had no trouble returning to the alcohol-free, healthy, organic, high-raw-food diet from which he had gradually veered over the years. He now had an even better understanding of its value!
He also resumed supplements that had stood him in good stead in the past: cholecalciferol (vitamin D), essential fatty acids, ubiquinol (active form of co-enzyme Q10), ascorbate electrolytes, trace mineral complex and liver support.
Alan made a very good recovery and began to live a full and energy-filled life again. His regular blood and other medical tests returned satisfactory results.
Several months later, I received a panicked call from Patsy, Alan’s wife. He had suddenly begun to experience weakness and dizzy spells. Alan’s GP diagnosed low blood pressure, but a thorough heart check showed no reason for concern.
After questioning and examining Alan carefully, I suspected he was suffering from dehydration. He was, evidently, anxiety-prone and not coping with the pressure of work. Fortunately, retirement was scheduled for just a few months’ time.
Dehydration occurs, basically, when the loss of body fluids (mainly water) is greater than the amount taken back into the system. Alan’s urine was a deeper colour than normal — orange veering to brown. Even allowing for the deeper shade of yellow attributable to his vitamin C and B complex supplements, the colour was one to check out.
There were no indications of blood, elevated glucose, ketones or other anomalies when the urine was tested, but Alan frequently complained of a dry mouth and “sticky” tongue, especially during the night. He always took a large glass of water to bed with him and it was fully drained by morning.
Every day we constantly lose water in the form of water vapour as we breathe and exhale, and anxiety can lead to a surprising level of water loss due to sustained respiratory modifications such as accelerated breathing and heavy sighing.
A few days later, Patsy phoned again: “We have been really diligent about correct foods, the supplements and keeping Alan’s water intake up.” Since then, he has felt totally well and, almost a year later, Alan remains hale and hearty.