Are we a dehydrated society? Can much of our dry eye symptoms be related to dehydration? by Dr. Michael Lange, Optometric Physician and certified nutrition specialist
How much water do you drink a day? What type of water do you drink? What other beverages do you drink routinely during a day? When is the last time your doctor asked you these questions? The typical American is not getting proper hydration throughout the day. Many of our health issues and symptoms could be related to chronic dehydration. Some studies indicate that as high as 75% of Americans are dehydrated. Some symptoms of dehydration are mood swings, depression, dry mouth, dry eyes, dry skin, weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, confusion, cognitive problems, fatigue , heart burn, head aches, decreased urine out put, dark yellow urine, just to mention a few. We lose water every day through water vapor in our breath as we exhale, urine, perspiration and in our stools. When we lose water we also lose electrolytes. A deficiency or unbalance in our electrolytes can further aggregate a dehydrated condition. Most Americans drink large amounts of coffee, tea, alcohol and sodas which act as diuretics and can bring on a dehydrated state very quickly.
So what do you drink? I recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. However the water that you pick is crucial. I recommend avoiding the tap water do to toxic chemicals like Chlorine, fluoride and aluminum just to mention a few. These consumed daily all have potentially long-term toxic effects. I advise my patients to drink spring water that is in glass bottles. Spring water has a relatively high ph and contains minerals that are crucial for proper hydration. Stay away from drinking large amounts of reverse osmosis, distilled water or purified bottled water. The reverse osmosis system and distillation makes a very pure water however it has too acidic of a ph and is void of any minerals. I am also concerned about the potential contamination with bisphenols from the plastics that are used in the membranes of RO systems. Some experts feel that if you consume large amounts of reverse osmosis water or distilled water that it may cause leaching of minerals from you body. If you are on a well I recommend putting a commercial grade UV system to kill any potential pathogens, a whole house carbon filter to get rid of potential chemicals and a potassium softener. Depending on what part of the country you live in would also determine whether or not a radon filtration system needs to be incorporated into your well water. If you drink the proper water you will be healthier and potentially have less dry eye symptoms as well.
There is a link between decreased potassium and dry eyes. If you are dehydrated then your electrolytes including potassium will also be low. This is one reason I recommend dry eye patients drinking a couple of glasses of organic coconut water daily. Coconut water is an ideal natural way to hydrate the body that has plenty of potassium. Many new studies suggest that coconut water hydrates the body just as well as the commercial sports drinks. A recent study also indicates drinking coconut water may help to lower cholesterol. I prefer the coconut water to any commercial sports drinks. The sports drinks are filled with sugar, artificial dyes and potential bisphenols from the plastics. All of these things in these sports drinks may cause endocrine disruption and this could aggravate a dry eye condition. My very athletic patients I sometimes recommend adding a pinch of celtic sea salt to their coconut water. If you are athletic you will need to hydrate more frequently than normal. Celtic sea salt is raw unrefined sea salt with no additives that is filled with trace minerals. I always recommend speaking with your physician before adding salt to your water. What about coffee?? Recent studies suggest that one cup of coffee a day may help with dry eye symptoms but more will actually act as a diuretic.
Proper nutrition for dye eyes is an area that I enjoy discussing with all of my patients. I have seen some remarkable dry eye improvements in patients that simply start hydrating more with the proper fluids and avoiding the bad fluids. I have also seen some amazing overall health improvements with these same patients.
In summary drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Drink spring water from glass bottles. If you drink spring water in plastic bottles then store and drink at room temperature. Drink a couple of glasses of coconut water a day. Avoid drinking tap water. If you must drink tap water at least run it through a carbon filter to minimize some of the chemical contaminants. Well water should be run through a commercial grade Uv system, whole house carbon filter and a potassium softener. Try not to consume large amounts of reverse osmosis or distilled water. Nutrition for dry eyes also consists of consuming 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I also recommend taking a good triglyceride form omega 3 fish oil with an EPA of 850-900 and DHA of 550-600. I recommend Fortifeye Super Omega since it falls in this range and is only $27 a bottle. http://www.fortifeye.com I have done omega index studies using Fortifeye Super Omega proving two per day dosing will move the omega index to a true therapeutic level over 9%. Omega 3 for dry eyes and omega index blood testing will be another article on this site in the future.
Drink to your health !
Proper nutrition for dry eyes is a start in the right direction.
Michael Lange OD, CNS