Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Summertime has officially arrived! You can recognize it by the long days, tan skin, vacation plans…. And the heat! (If you live in the Southeast like I do, you’ll also recognize it by the HUMIDITY!)
Sweating from exercise, daily activities, & hot weather results in the loss of water, sodium (salt), and other electrolytes. Usually we call this “dehydration,” but the scientific term is volume depletion.
Symptoms of volume depletion include dark urine, fatigue, dull/ weak skin tone, and even dizziness or confusion.
You also may have heard that lack of proper hydration causes bloating. This is true, but there’s more to it than just “water in, water out!”
Behind-the-scenes, volume depletion can affect your hormones.
Loss of water and electrolytes causes a hormone called vasopressin to rise, which has two major purposes. The first is that vasopressin is an antidiuretic, which means that it causes water retention. It’s second purpose is that it’s a stress hormone and also triggers the release of cortisol, another stress hormone. Together, these two hormones activate the sympathetic nervous system ("flight, fight, or freeze" mode) to help you survive.
Dehydration and volume depletion are stressors on the body. Even moreso, stress of ANY kind can also lead to loss of electrolytes because your adrenals use electrolytes, vitamin C, and antioxidants more rapidly. You always need more nutrients in times of stress!
You’re more likely to become dehydrated & to experience volume depletion during the luteal phase, which is the part of your menstrual cycle that comes after ovulation, but before your period (generally lasting 10-16 days). That’s because progesterone increases your body temperature & acts as a diuretic, decreasing water retention. If you’re balancing your hormones & electrolytes, you won’t bloat in the phase before your period! If you do bloat as a PMS symptom, that means something is off.
If you know that sometimes you slack on hydrating as well as you should and experience bloating, it’s because this is a stress response on your body.
Overtime, this stress can lead to adrenal fatigue/ dysregulation between your adrenals and two parts of your brain called the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, irritability, anxiety, depression, weight gain, sleep disturbances, and high blood pressure.
We need to drink half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight every day-- but we also need sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and bicarbonates to help with everything from fatigue to heart health, muscle recovery, endurance, and more.
This summer, make a commitment to take care of your hormonal health by drinking more water and electrolytes! Your body, skin, and energy will thank you!
Try my Adrenal Creamsicle recipe to help nourish your body with nutrients it needs to fight stress or stock up on these hormone health approved electrolytes: