Are you dehydrated? How dehydration can influence blood pressure (Pt. 2)
We are electro-magnetic beings
The movement of water (blood and lymph) exerted by our circulatory and lymphatic systems generate hydro-electric energy that the body can use. This is possible because of special pumps found on the cell membrane that generate energy when water passes through this membrane. But it is also made possible by minerals flowing through our arteries and smaller vessels carrying electricity. Whenever electricity is flowing along well-defined pathways, magnetic fields develop around those same pathways. The magnetic fields, in turn, have an effect upon the flow of charged particles in our blood and lymph (3).
Salt, because of its high concentration of minerals, is needed to keep the fluid in the body electrically charged. This is the reason these minerals are called ‘electrolytes’, they carry electrical charges. What is more, salt keeps water in the right places in the body, especially in the inside and outside the cells. Not only salt and water create this electro-magnetic effect, the foods we eat extract the minerals from the soil, then as we digest these foods they get incorporated into our bloodstream and tissues.
Something like ‘leaky gut’ and maldigestion, however, can allow undigested food to enter the blood stream and interrupt the normal flow of energy by thickening the blood, creating an immune response and an increase of ‘circulating immune complexes’, blood clots, and many dead cells.
In this sense, health can be defined as a combination of all the electromagnetic fields of the foods we eat, and the minerals circulating in the blood, lymph, the vital organs, nerves and brain. The health of the whole body is built around the presence of these minerals, being suspended in the body. A mineral rich diet is essential for heart health (3).
The composition of the body: Minerals, trace elements and electrolytes
Like we already pointed out, 4-5% of our body’s tissues are made of minerals, trace elements and electrolytes. 25-26% is made up of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, the remaining 70% is made out of water.
All of the electrolytes, minerals and trace elements are needed for the body to function properly. Deficiency of one does not result in death but the tissue that mineral, electrolyte or trace mineral activates can throw the other processes off balance. Deficiency symptoms may lead to fatigue, nausea, disease although not necessarily to death.
The critical mineral balance in the body is known as homeostasis: the normal internal stability of the body chemistry and processes when all body systems are in the proper balance. How much we need of each depends on age, sex, weight, lifestyle and individual body chemistry.
Each mineral has its own vibration (electrical charge) and each has its function in the body. In general, electrolytes are found in the body in greater amounts than minerals and trace elements. Out of the 4-5% amount of minerals present in our body, electrolytes make up 70-80%. Electrolytes are vital to health and life, without them life would not be possible (3).
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals which are capable of splitting into two opposite electrically charged minerals (ions) when dissolved in a fluid like water or blood plasma. Once they split, the water portion of the blood transports them to body tissues in this electrically charged form, then they move from one electrical level to another, and recombine with other ions or interact with one another. When this happens, they attach themselves to:
- Proteins to become part of enzymes (Eg. hemoglobin)
- Vitamins and
- Other highly active and important substances in the body
As an example, let’s say you take some magnesium chloride. This combination will stay as such until it is dissolved in the blood or lymph. There, it separates into two particles with opposite electrical charges: magnesium and chloride. This split form keeps recombining to allow the body to perform all the functions we know as heartbeat, nerve conduction, etc.
The electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which have a positive electrical charge, and chloride, sulfate and phosphate which are negatively charged. Electrolytes act mainly inside and around cells: potassium, magnesium and phosphate are found inside, while sodium, calcium and chlorine are found outside the cells. Differences in electrical potential between the inside and the outside of the cell allow some substances to go through the cell wall and keep others out. This is one of the ways cells control what can enter and what cannot.
Electrolytes work in pairs, this is the case sodium and potassium, calcium and magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. This means that when there is too much of one, the other that pairs with it, is excreted.
Electrolytes can be destroyed with vomiting or diarrhea, high fevers, perspiration, even drinking too much water can can flush them out of the body through urine. Physical or mental stress will deplete electrolytes and trace minerals at a very fast rate. Conditions caused by electrolyte deficiency are high blood pressure, cholesterol and clogged arteries, digestive problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.
More functions of electrolytes
-Keeping the acid-alkaline balance: The normal state of the blood stream is slightly alkaline, limited to a very narrow pH of 7.3 to 7.45. This is important because most of the mineral processes in the body can only happen in the narrow pH between 7.35 and 7.45 and temperatures close to 98.6 degrees F. Many of the body’s enzymes are designed to trigger or speed up mineral processes at that pH and temperature range. Certain electrolytes constantly neutralize metabolic and other acids to keep the pH of the blood within the proper range. For example, carbon dioxide wastes released by the cells are carried in the blood plasma as sodium bicarbonate, rather than carbonic acid. When this happens, the pH of the blood is not forced to be too acidic (3).
Magnesium also assists in the neutralization of acid wastes in the bowel.
Potassium combines with metabolic acids in the muscle tissues especially in critically important tissues like the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas.
-Muscle contraction: Muscle contraction depends on the electrically charged ions of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. This is initiated by a nerve impulse requiring potassium and sodium at every nerve synapse that allows the nerve impulse to get to the muscle from the brain.
-Sulfur is used in tissue respiration, plays an important part in bile secretion and is found in insulin. The sulfur compounds in garlic are believed to have a powerful anti-cancer effect and an immune system enhancing effect as well.
-Calcium and sodium are in every cell of every organ, gland and tissue of the body and they are two of the most needed elements. The fluid surrounding the cells of the body contains a certain concentration of sodium ions which cannot pass through the cell membranes. When the fluid level drops too far, the sodium concentration increases and the thirst center of the brain is activated. The pituitary gland releases a hormone that signals the kidneys to conserve water. When the fluid level increases too much, the sodium concentration is decreased and the adrenal glands release the hormone aldosterone, which signals the kidneys to get rid of some of the water while retaining the sodium. In the course of filtering 170 liters of blood plasma every 24 hours, the kidneys recycle over 99% of the water, sodium, chloride and bicarbonate, 95% of the phosphate, 93% of the potassium and 70% of the sulfate. The excess minerals or metabolic wastes that are not needed are excreted in the urine (3).
–They assist vitamins: Vitamins cannot do their job unless adequate minerals are present in the body. Minerals combine with certain vitamins to detoxify and help remove metabolic waste from the body.
What are the most important electrolytes for a healthy heart?
Sodium-potassium and calcium-magnesium are some of the most important electrolytes for the heart.
Sodium and potassium are always found together in the body. According to Dr. Eric Berg, potassium is one of the electrolytes that we need in the highest amounts: we need four more times potassium than sodium. That is around 4,700 mg of potassium a day, balanced with 1,000 mg of sodium.
Dr. Berg explains there is what is known as ‘sodium-potassium pump’ that is built on the surface of our cells. Each of our 100 trillion cells has between 800,000 and 30 million of these little pumps. The importance of these ‘pumps’ is immense: these pumps are generators of electrical energy and they allow nutrients to go in and out of the cell. This is essential for health because each cell requires a lot of energy in order to do their work, in fact, 1/3 of all the food we consume is used to run these pumps.
There is another pump in the stomach called the ‘hydrogen-potassium ATP ACE pump’ that also requires potassium and allows the body to create stomach acid to help us digest food. These pumps are also in the muscles, and the nervous system.
Potassium, therefore, is essential for building these pumps and because of this potassium is needed for:
- Charging the cell electrically: Our cells have certain voltage that allow things in and out of the cell to create energy for our body to function
- Helping the muscles contract and relax: Potassium allows calcium to go into the cell. Calcium is essential for muscles to relax, and muscle cramps might be a sign of potassium deficiency
- Helping in nerve conduction: The nerves need potassium too in order to conduct electricity
- Controlling fluid and hydration in the body
- Assisting in the production of energy in the body as a whole
Best food sources of potassium are dulse with 8,060 milligrams per 100 grams, kelp (5,273 mg.), goat whey (3,403 mg.), wheat bran (1,121 mg.), sunflower seeds (920 mg.), almonds (773 mg.), etc. Eating two generous garden salads each day containing at least 6 vegetables, will provide enough food sodium and food potassium to keep the body’s reserves. Processed foods have a lot more sodium and little potassium, while unprocessed foods provide more potassium than sodium.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency are:
- Feeling of heaviness on muscles
- Arrythmias, because the electrical impulses don’t work
- Alteration in heart beat, like the ‘skipped beats’ characteristic of atrial fibrillation
- Fluid retention
- Lack of stomach acid, which translates into problems digesting protein and absorption of minerals
- Constipation, the potassium from vegetables helps with constipation and keep the liver clean
Potassium levels can be low due to different reasons:
- Not consuming enough vegetables in the diet
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Too much sugar in the diet: High sugar can lead to a condition known as ‘insulin resistance’ in which the high levels of sugar cause the body to start ignoring insulin. Because insulin helps carry nutrients inside the cells and is necessary for the sodium-potassium pump to absorb nutrients, with insulin resistance, nutrients don’t get stored inside the cell
- Diuretics: They flush the electrolytes from the body
- Too much salt: It can deplete potassium
- Ketogenic diets: As the body looses fat, urination is increased and potassium is lost
- Drinking too much water
Most tests don’t show a deficiency in potassium because potassium stays inside the cell, with the exception of a very sophisticated test called ‘Intercellular test’.
Calcium and magnesium are also among the most important electrolytes for the body. They both combine with certain enzymes that break down foods, produce energy, form proteins and help make DNA.
Both calcium and magnesium are insufficient in the majority of the population. Lack of stomach acid can keep calcium from being absorbed. If calcium isn’t dissolved when it reaches the small intestine it is excreted. Calcium absorption requires vitamin A, C and D, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc. For calcium to be used properly vitamin D, stomach acid, and trace elements zinc, copper, chromium, manganese and molybdenum are all necessary. Best magnesium foods are the green vegetables especially the chlorophyll rich leafy, green vegetables, poultry and fish. Best calcium foods are leafy, green vegetables, raw goat milk, nuts, seeds, ripe olives, white beans, lentils, broccoli, green snap beans (3).
Concluding, we have seen how water and salt are essential for healthy blood pressure. The minerals present in salt generate electrical currents that provide us with energy, even to the level of the cell. This is essential for the health of our heart.
- Batmanghelidj, F. Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. Place of Publication Not Identified: Tagman, 2004. Print.
- Jensen, Bernard. Come Alive. Escondido, CA: B. Jensen, 1997. Print.