Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hot Weather Tip #2

This is something I first heard from Angel Cabales, which I’ve since confirmed in conversations with several doctors.

If it is a very hot day and you have been exerting yourself, especially if you’ve been exercising outdoors in the sun, DO NOT drink an icy cold drink; the shock to your system can be fatal!

If you think about it, your stomach is right next to your heart. The temperature difference of an ice-cold drink next to your heart, which is working hard to cool your body through circulation, can cause a heart attack.

Angel personally witnessed this several times, when a cooler of ice water would be brought to farm workers laboring in the hot summer sun.

Back around 1990 I was the last person to speak with local TV sportscaster Mark Gibson, moments before he dropped dead of a heart attack. On a hot day, he went directly from a long hard workout to get a big drink from an icy water fountain in the gym. He collapsed just moments later. As I helped paramedics wheel him to the ambulance they said that certainly could have been a contributing cause.

Some things seem counter-intuitive but make sense later. On a cold day, take a hot shower but finish it cold. That closes the pores of the skin to seal in the heat. On hot days, you might cool down with a cold shower, but if you finish with hot water it can help the body cool down faster by bringing more circulation to the surface.

If you drink a lot of water, you need to supplement minerals. Dr. Batamanghelidj came up with the protocol to divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water per day. He recommended taking about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (which contains trace minerals and is naturally produced, unlike table salt that is processed and baked at 1200º) to keep up magnesium and other vital trace elements. One method is to make solé, which is a salt solution. Fill a jar with water and add sea salt until it is so saturated that some crystals remain unabsorbed on the bottom. Each morning add about 1 tablespoon to a glass of water (you probably won’t even taste it). This should supply sufficient minerals to balance drinking so much water.

Dr. Batamanghelidj’s theories are not without controversy (mostly, it seems, because water isn't a money-maker), but they make a lot of sense. When I was in graduate school, I kept reading articles about different illnesses that were caused by some “unidentified underlying cause of inflammation.” As he points out, we put water on fire to put it out! He believed that most people are chronically dehydrated, especially if they only drink coffee, tea, sodas or alcohol, all of which are diuretics.

One hundred years ago, a French doctor argued that there are many symptoms of dehydration. On the other hand, a British doctor said only thirst was a valid indicator. Since England was the dominant world power at the time, that became the predominant view of physicians. It now appears the French doctor was correct.

Dr. Batamanghelidj wrote that there are two oceans of water in our bodies, what is in the cells and what is outside the cells. High blood pressure, for instance, was in his opinion created by the body trying to force more water into chronically dehydrated cells. Without proper hydration, cells cannot expel toxins, which in turn lead to degenerative illnesses. Dr. Batamanghelidj claimed to have helped people cure a wide range of illnesses just with his water protocol, from allergies and asthma to lupus, fibromyalgia and even cancer.

It’s interesting that MSM, a popular supplement, is credited by many people with a similar range of effects. While MSM does not of itself cure anything, it aids transport across cell membranes. Could this be similar to the benefit of drinking sufficient water? I know the water cure has been a big help to me in fighting asthma.

Both Western and Oriental doctors with whom I’ve spoken about these theories agree that drinking water is good cheap medicine and unlikely to cause harm (again, the caveat is to keep up with minerals, particularly magnesium, a component of salt; too little can cause a heart attack!)

As with any health protocols, if you are under a doctor’s supervision, discuss any changes first!