Are You Sick or Thirsty? Histamines and Hydration
Dr. Batmangehlidj was controversial. His theory is that it is not the medication that makes you better but the glass of water that you drink.
Whilst his position may be a little extreme he has a point. Water is the most fundamental macro-nutrient in our body, so dehydration can profoundly impact on our health, leading to fatigue, headaches, confusion, and even uticaria.
So, is there a Histamine Connection?
Controversially, Dr. Batmangehlidj also believed that water is the “only natural process for the regulation and inhibition of histamine’s over-production and release” and that increased water intake may counter-act symptoms brought-on by diseases linked to histamine action.
But could water really be a cure to histamine intolerance? Well no. There is no evidence that water can regulate histamine levels in our body but there is evidence that dehydration results in the release of histamines in the brain.
Simplistically, the subfornical region of the brain, monitors water levels and signals thirst to the body. Histamine is then released by the brain rather than the body, which then signals to vasopressin to retain water. Our cells then hold on to water and our urine turns dark.
One implication of this for those of us that take anti-histamines, is that by blocking the histamine receptors, anti-histamines may mask the signal of thirst to the body, making it important for us to consciously drink water.
So, how much should you drink?
Bio-individuality applies to the amount of water our bodies need to function properly. On average, men should ingest about 3 litres (13 cups) and women about 2.2 litres (9 cups) of water each day.
Whats more, water intake should be increased in the following situations; hot or humid temperature, high altitude (above 8,200 feet), high exercise levels, illness of fever, diarrhea, vomiting, infections of the bladder or urinary tract, pregnancy/breast feeding, and increased coffee, tea, soda, alcohol and energy drink consumption.
So, what type of water should you drink?
There are many types of water including tap, bottled, filtered, distilled, alkaline ionised, and spring water. Consumption generally depends on cost and availability, as not everybody has access to the best sources of water.
Simplistically the best water to drink is the one you do. I believe that the key to drinking water is to find water that you like to drink and just drink it. Water does not have a taste but can take on the flavour of its container so that it can taste unpleasant. If you don’t like tap water, try bottled water. If you don’t like bottled water, buy a filter or buy spring water, and drink from glass. If you find yourself stuck here are some options:
- Tap water, although the most readily available, may not always be the safest option. Some cities have very good purification systems, while others leave traces of chlorination by-products, lead, and sometimes bacteria. Research your city’s Consumer Confidence Report to see if additional home purification is warranted. It is also possible to have your own water tested.
- Water filters can help to remove contaminants when environmental toxins pose a threat to water systems. It is important to know which contaminants are present in your water and ensure that the filter is tested for that contaminant.
- Distillation, a process consisting of boiling water, has also been found to remove impurities and toxins. However, some believe the naturally occurring minerals in non-distilled water are un beneficial to health.
- Bottled water has become a popular option for individuals without access to safe tap water; however, there are growing concerns about chemicals from the plastic seeping into the water, such that glass bottles are preferred, as well as the effects that the increasing number of bottles is having on the environment.
- Water ionizers are gaining more recognition for their ability to create alkaline ionised water through electrolysis, which may have certain health benefits.
- Spring water may be available direct from the source so that it is shipped in and stored in a tank. It is important to ensure that the water has been tested at the source.
So, how can you add flavour to water?
Finally, What Are Three Things I have Done?
Many of us struggle to remain hydrated and I am no exception. The three small steps that have made the biggest difference to my hydration levels are:
- Buying a decorative water dispenser which is in full view in my sitting room – and acts as a prompt. I bought one like this one here.
- Buying a glass water bottle that I can carry with me (but keep in the car). I bought one like this one here.
- Trying to drink 1 to 2 litres of water first thing in the morning – to set me up all day.
Histamine intolerance or not, hydration is extremely important to our health, and anything that helps us to remain hydrated is important. I hope that some of these suggestions will encourage you to drink more water. At the end of the day you need to find something that works for you and your lifestyle. These are just some of the things that have worked for me.