HEALTHY HABIT: The importance of cellular hydration

Most of us in North America do not consume enough water. Our diets could have some poor choices, adding to the dehydration of the body, there may be an excess amount of caffeine/alcohol consumed, stress and then daily exercise further contribute to daily dehydration.

Some symptoms of dehydration are:  a dry mouth—this is generally the last stage of dehydration; a person who is easily stressed; mood swings; emotionally liable; dry skin; dry lips and mucus membranes such as nose and mouth; headaches; chronic fatigue; constipation; back pain; asthma; allergies; high blood pressure; dizziness; muscle cramps; insomnia; peptic ulcers; acid reflux; ulcerative colitis; vomiting; weight gain; food cravings; inability for the body to detoxify toxins efficiently; diabetes and autoimmune diseases…just to name a few.

What does proper hydration do for the body?

The human body is composed of 25 per cent solid matter and 75 per cent water.  The brain tissue is said to consist of 85 per cent water.  Even our bones are 25 per cent water!  Water is required to help the body metabolize fat; convert food inter energy; prevents wrinkles; anti-aging; weight loss or regulation of weight; supplies essential nutrients to the cells of the body; removes toxins from the cells of the body; regulates hormones; regulates temperature; builds a strong immune system; increases mental acuity; sustains energy throughout the day, fights fatigue and helps to prevent disease.

What is dehydration?  It is the loss of water and minerals essential for normal body function.  Dehydration can disrupt the delicate fluid and salt balance required to maintain healthy cells and tissues.

The key to hydration is not simply water consumption, it is about “cellular hydration”—this is essential to long-term health and wellness.

The body is made up of billions of tiny cells; the health of each and every one of these cells, working together is a major part of what makes up the cellular metabolism.  This is known as cellular hydration.

Cellular hydration:  This is the most important form of hydration.  It is the water inside the cells.  Consuming water will only serve to increase water outside the cells.

When the cells are hydrated from the inside, it triggers a cascade of reactions:  puts the body in healing mode; encourages protein building, or muscle, and tissue repair; increases the release of growth hormone—growth hormone is the hormone responsible for building lean muscle mass, body repair when we sleep, anti-aging; decreases acidity in the cells; decreases the autoimmune response; increases resistance to viruses; DNA repair; and increases fat burning.

When the cells are dehydrated from the inside, it triggers a cascade of breakdown reactions: lean muscle mass wasting; lack of oxygen in the body; accelerated aging and DNA damage; body is more susceptible to viruses, free radicals and autoimmune diseases; all symptoms of aging are essentially due to cellular dehydration.

Water and Sea Salt Consumption:  General tap water and bottle water does not hydrate the cells from the inside.  It increases water around the outside of the cells.  However, Celtic/Himalayan Sea Salt plus water equals hydration of the body from inside the cells.  Unrefined salt is one of the most essential ingredients of the body.  For survival, the human body needs, in order of importance:  oxygen; water; salt and potassium.

One way to hydrate the cells is by the use of high quality Celtic/Himalayan Sea salt, which contains over 80 naturally occurring minerals.  A general rule of thumb is 1/8th-1/4th teaspoon Celtic sea salt per every litre of water consumed.  The salt does not have to be added to the water you consume, but it can; salt can be added to food after cooking; or a few granules directly in the mouth.  If there is a history of Kidney disease, please contact your Medical Practitioner prior to adding or removing any salt from the diet.

All salt originates from the sea.  Salt labeled “sea salt” in most stores is typically the refined pure white variety—stripped of all its 80 minerals.  Whole natural sea salt is slightly grey and will be in larger crystals, granules, or a powder.

Sea salt has many healing properties, but salt becomes a problem when it is refined table salt.  Refined salt, also known as table salt ,does not contribute to increasing cellular hydration and should be minimized in the diet.  Refined salt is found in canned foods, processed meats, processed foods, any food found in a box etc.

The take home message is essentially that depletion of these minerals makes the body acidic.  All disease starts in an acidic environment.  Re-adding minerals from sea salt makes the body alkaline…optimal health is created in an alkaline environment.  It really is such a simple tip to incorporate, for long term prevention and health!

Dr. Neetu Dhiman, is a Naturopathic Physician at Brio Integrative Health Centre Inc.  She can be reached at

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