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  • Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC

Are You Hydrated?

A Holistic Perspective On Water And Hydration

Water, the lifeblood of Mother Earth. That free flowing H20 is crucial for the survival

of every organic species on the planet. Our earth is made up of 71% water – just a

little more than the human brain which floats at 70%. In fact, water comprises up to

55-60% of our entire bodies. With over half our bodies composed of water, it’s clear

to see why staying well hydrated is one of the most important (and easiest) things

you can do for your health.

3 Common Hydration Myths Busted

Myth: Water Is The Best Way To Hydrate

The truth is, it depends. For most of the year, water on its own should be enough.

However when we sweat on particularly hot days or after a lot of exertion, we don’t

only sweat out water. We sweat out minerals such as sodium and potassium. These

are electrolytes and are vital in keeping the body balance and hydrated, and the

muscles working effectively.

Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt and a splash of apple or lemon juice to your water

on days like these will go a long way towards replenishing your electrolytes, helping

to prevent muscle cramps and other symptoms of electrolyte imbalance.

Myth: Store-Bought Electrolyte Drinks Are Healthy

Brightly coloured electrolyte sports drinks are readily available in every corner

store, but what are you really drinking?

While over the past few years most brands of sports drinks have changed their

ingredients to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO), an additive used to emulsify

the ingredients which comes with a long list of unfortunate side effects, other

problematic ingredients still remain. Always read the label and avoid drinks that

have very long ingredient lists, are very high in sugar or contain artificial food dyes.

Reach for coconut water as a naturally electrolyte-rich alternative.

Myth: Coffee; Tea Are Dehydrating.

Recent research shows that while the diuretic effects of drinking 1-2 cups of coffee

minimally increase urine output for about three hours after consumption, exercise

seems to negate those effects altogether.

If you’re a tea drinker, research shows that drinking 4-6 cups of tea can actually be

more beneficial than water consumption alone as teas can provide antioxidant and

herbal benefits as well.

This does not take into account caffeine’s effects on your adrenal glands however,

so if you’re avoiding coffee in order to get a good night’s sleep, by all means keep it


Dehydration And Chronic Dehydration: Know the


Dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water for your body’s needs.

Even being just a half litre under-hydrated can lead to an increase in cortisol levels –

the stress hormone – which can put a real strain on your overall well-being. In the

summer months, common culprits for dehydration include extreme temperatures,

excessive physical activity in the heat, and let’s be honest, too much alcohol

consumption. Fortunately, these triggers are all preventable by maintaining a

healthy balance of water, rest and shade.

The Warning Signs Of Chronic Dehydration

When the body is constantly forced to function without enough water over days

and weeks, chronic dehydration can begin to set in. Chronic dehydration can cause

a variety of health complications from high blood pressure to kidney stones.

You may already be familiar with the most common signs of

dehydration, which include:

● Extreme thirst

● Tired muscles

● Dizziness and disorientation

● Dark-coloured urine (deep yellow, brown or maroon)

However, chronic dehydration reacts a bit differently.

As the body kicks into survival mode, it gets creative by sucking moisture from other


Chronic dehydration may present itself in a variety of ongoing symptoms, such as:

● Constipation

● Fatigue

● Muscle weakness

● Headaches

● Dry or flaky skin

If you suspect you might be suffering from chronic dehydration, increasing your

intake of water may not be enough to get you back on track. It is important to make

an appointment with your healthcare practitioner so they can properly assess your

concentrated blood volume, electrolyte levels, and kidney function to help get you

back on the path to optimum health.

Beyond staying hydrated, how do we know what type of water is best? Must we wet

our lips only with melted artisanal ice chipped by hand from Alpine glaciers -- or are

bottled brands no better than the backyard hose?

What’s In Your Tap Water And Is It Always Safe?

With upwards of 90,000 cases of illness and 90 deaths a year due to waterborne

illnesses, it’s no surprise that we have become skeptical about the quality of our tap

water. Who knows what variety of microorganisms, pollutants, and other foreign

disruptors might be flowing from our faucets, or not? While municipal tap water is

generally considered to be safe, and in areas with a modern water supply system

tap water still remains better for you than allowing yourself to become dehydrated,

there are a few potential contaminators that can, and sometimes do, leech their

way into our water sources:


Bacteria and parasites can easily enter water sources such as private wells from

human or animal fecal matter. Some of the most common bacterial gastrointestinal

diseases transmitted through water include salmonella, shigella and in some parts

of the world even cholera. While cholera may not be a current concern in North

American waterways, parasites like cryptosporidium can be, causing diarrhea and

leading to potentially fatal illness if not immediately treated.


Used in pesticides, glyphosate can enter our waterways from farmland runoff. It

can also be found throughout our food chain and is regularly detected in human

urine. Research suggests that glyphosate-based herbicides may be endocrine

disruptors and can also have an impact on kidney and liver function.

Lead, Aluminum & Heavy metals

When plumbing pipes grow old and begin to corrode, lead, aluminum and other

heavy metals can leak their way into our tap water. Lead consumption can lead to

severe developmental challenges and learning disorders in children. Meanwhile,

aluminum and other metals have been shown to cause nerve, brain and kidney


Hormones; Pharmaceuticals

We now know that staying properly hydrated is necessary for helping to manage

hormones like cortisol; however, tap water can also be responsible for causing

hormone imbalances. This is due to a variety of hormone disruptors and

pharmaceuticals found in many municipal water supplies such as birth control pills,

antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, among a cocktail of other micropollutants.

Even small amounts of hormones can shift our chemistry in unwanted ways.


A disinfectant used in water treatment facilities; chlorine is effective for killing

microorganisms. Unfortunately, it also poses toxic effects to our bodies, destroying

healthy gut bacteria, which can cause all kinds of issues. Chlorine has been

identified as the number one cause of bladder cancer. It is also connected to rectal

and breast cancers, as well as other conditions including asthma, birth defects and

premature skin aging.


For years, our government has pumped fluoride into our water supplies, while

many European countries have banned its use altogether. Current research

suggests that fluoride in our tap water may do more harm than good. Some studies

have linked fluoride suppressed immune system and thyroid function, disruption of

the pineal gland, and an increased risk for fractures and even cancer. Furthermore,

fluoride may contain arsenic and also leaches lead from piping at much greater


Now, who wants any of that in their water?!

So, Is Bottled Water Any Better?

Sadly, bottled water comes with its own baggage. First of all, the bottled water (or

rather the plastic bottle) industry is not sustainable. Much like the disposable plastic

straws we hear so much about, the majority of plastic bottles do not get recycled and

end up in landfills - or back into our oceans with heartbreaking irony. This doesn’t

even take into consideration the energy it takes to produce and distribute bottled

water to every corner store and hot dog stand around the world. When you add it all

up, a lot of unnecessary pollution goes into every last drop.

As for the quality of water itself, a lot of bottled water is simply glorified tap water

hiked to an exorbitant cost. Mold, microbes, benzenes, phthalates, trihalomethanes,

and yes, even arsenic have all been found in bottled water. And then there are the

harmful plastic chemicals from the bottle itself, such as BPA among other elements,

that can also be found floating in your drink.

Overhyped and overpriced, simply put - bottled water is bad for the planet and not so

great for you either. So, what’s a person to do?

What Is The Best Possible Water Source?

Your very best option for clean, pure water is to invest in a good quality filtration

system for your kitchen. For an added vote of confidence, be sure your filtration

system is certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association. And of

course, you should set a reminder to change your filters on schedule to ensure your

drinking and cooking water is always the best possible quality.

Are you always on the go? That’s easy solution. Get yourself a BPA-free reusable

water bottle (look for glass water bottles) and keep it with you at all times. That way

you are sure to keep your body healthy and hydrated, looking out for your own best

interest and the health of our planet, which is in everyone’s best interest.

Not a huge fan of drinking water no matter where it comes from? You aren’t alone

but there are options; try adding in cucumbers, mint, orange or lemon slices to

flavor it up a bit and remember water is crucial to not just hydrate our bodies but

also to flush out all the toxins we are exposed to.

Body Love Cafe is a safe place to share your struggles, ask questions and look deeper for answers typically overlooked by conventional medicine. With a focus on “why” is this happening and “what” can be done to get to the root cause, the Body Love Cafe practitioners are trained to think differently.

This type of care creates a partnership between the patient/client and practitioner to best facilitate results and overall wellness. This means we actually listen and customize our protocols. Our team includes Functional Medicine, Nutrition, Bodywork/Massage, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Health Coaching & Energy Medicine.

It all started after our founder after she suffered a “mystery illness” that left her declared permanently disabled. Unwilling to accept that diagnosis, she fought back to regain her health and then launched Body Love Cafe, our holistic health clinic in Walnut Creek, CA which recently won “Best of the Bay” by Diablo magazine for 2020.

Visit our website to learn more: or contact us at


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Statements not evaluated by FDA, not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Body Love Cafe, A Zachary Chiropractic Corporation

©2019 by Brandy Zachary, DC, AFMCP