by Dr. David Minkoff July 12, 2023 3 min read
Water retention is swelling in some part of the body, usually the feet and ankles, caused by large accumulations of fluid in the spaces between the body’s cells or in the blood vessels.
But it’s a symptom of something, not a condition in its own right.
And, while it can be caused by specific physical conditions of the kidneys, heart or circulatory system, most cases are actually due to lifestyles or diet, and they’re pretty easy to fix.
But there are many things that can cause this, so let’s jump in and see how this all works so you know what to do to help you.
Throughout the day we drink water and our body lets it out, either through sweat, urine, or even breathing.
But the amount of water in our bodies, and what it does, is very exact regulated by key minerals: Salt & Potassium.
Salt draws water into the body or cells, and potassium flushes it out of the body or cells.
Remember eating something very salty and wanting to drink water? That’s the salt causing this, because that’s a key thing it does in the body.
Potassium does the opposite. If you were only eating salt, and no potassium, it would be very hard for you to sweat even on a hot day. Because salt holds the water in and potassium is needed to flush it out.
When you take potassium, your body is then able to sweat or go to the bathroom, both to release impurities, but also to help cool you down.
Even the way your kidneys regulate fluids is based on your salt and potassium ratios. Salt allows the kidneys to pull fluids in and potassium allows it to flush it out again.
Potassium is very important here. Our diets are quite often heavy in salt and low in potassium.
Now, salt is not bad at all, it’s just as necessary as potassium is. Without it your cells couldn’t function, your organs wouldn’t work properly, and you’d be very lethargic.
But too much salt without the needed potassium can cause an imbalance and lead to your body holding water, often in the feet and ankles.
Potassium also helps your body release excess salt that isn’t needed.
So this is important.
Good sources of potassium are bananas, raisins, cucumber, coconut water, apricots, berries, apples, oranges, lemons, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, melons, and of course properly formulated electrolyte drinks like PerfectAmino Electrolytes which is very exactly balanced for proper salt and potassium levels.
But that’s one reason we love watermelon on a hot day, it’s not just because it’s sweet, our body is craving the potassium in it.
Okay, I think we know about potassium now. If you’re eating heavy amounts of salt, maybe cut back, or at least get some potassium as well and drink plenty of water to help flush out excess salt.
But there are some more causes.
Too little protein in your blood can also cause water retention. And this ties in to salt and potassium.
You see, blood protein, called albumin, helps hold the salt and water in your blood vessels so it doesn’t leak out into your tissues.
But if blood protein goes too low, this fluid is let out and we get fluid retention, especially in the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
Usually low blood protein levels can be addressed by increasing protein/amino acid intake. But they can also indicate that something else is wrong.
So if balancing your salt and potassium levels and increasing protein intake don’t correct it, it’s best to check with your doctor to see if blood protein levels are low and what’s causing this.
But often it is just due to a lack of protein/amino acids when working out or in general and this can be easily remedied by taking more PerfectAmino.
Okay. Last is sugar.
Sugar, as contained in sports drinks and electrolyte formulas, also causes water retention, though indirectly.
We know it increases insulin levels, but insulin, especially high insulin levels, decrease your body’s ability to flush out salt.
So we keep more salt in, thus keeping in more water.
In this case we just need to lower sugar levels, especially processed sugars which spike insulin levels the most.
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by Dr. David Minkoff
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