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Dehydration – Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

A vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated as they opt for more flavorful drink alternatives.  Unknowingly they become more dehydrated by drinking alcohol, sugary beverages, and caffeinated drinks in place of water which can lead to long term health conditions over time.   Many of these non-water drinks act like diuretics and cause the body to expel water it needs to rid itself of  cellular waste products and harmful inflammatory by-products, further compounding health issues.  Proper hydration is essential for your body to function properly and protect itself.

Dehydration happens when a person loses more fluid than they take in, either through natural processes like sweating and urination, when you have a fever or after a vomiting or diarrhea bout. Dehydration is more likely to occur when the weather is warm or during periods of profuse sweating, like during exercise. Drinking water frequently is key, whether you are working out at the gym, sitting on the couch or at the office,  water helps the body compensate for the liquids that are constantly being lost throughout the day.

Dehydration is much more than just not drinking enough water.   You probably know that drinking water is essential for surviving, but have you ever wondered why? Water is all around us and  inside of us. Scientists know that water, which covers 71 percent of the planet, is one of the things that makes living on earth possible. And living organisms not only depend on water, but most of them are also made of it too.

Around 60 percent of the adult human body is water (water makes up 75 percent of a newborn’s body weight!), and many of our organs, including the heart, the brain, and the lungs, are composed of 70 to 85 percent water. Even seemingly hard and dry bones have massive amounts of water in them; 31 percent, to be exact. Water also makes up a large percentage of blood which brings oxygen and nutrients to our cells and supports vital bodily processes such as our immune system throughout the body.  Without water, the blood becomes thicker, cells shrink, and blood pressure rises to make up for the lack of liquids.

Lymphatic fluids, part of our immune system, make up four times the volume of blood and are designed to remove waste products from our body.  Our essential bodily systems need a continuous supply of water or they can become impaired.  Dehydration also leads to inflammation throughout the body which can cause many health issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, asthma, obesity, pain disorders, arthritis, depression and even cancer to name a few.  All of these conditions can be linked to a chronic state of dehydration as well.

Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

It’s normal to lose water by sweating, urinating, and even breathing. But replacing those liquids can be quickly achieved by drinking plenty of water and eating foods with high water content (like fruits and vegetables). But when you don’t drink enough water, you may start experiencing symptoms of mild dehydration. Mild dehydration is not immediately life-threatening and can be solved by drinking more fluids. However, severe dehydration is considered a medical emergency that can cause serious brain, kidney, and heart damage if not treated in time.

These are some signs and symptoms of mild and severe dehydration:


· Thirst and hunger

· Dark yellow/amber urine

· Dry mouth

· Dry skin

· Muscle cramps

· Dizziness

· Fatigue

· Cold hands

· Headache


· Flaky skin

· Rapid heartbeat/weak pulse

· Brain fog/disorientation

· Seizures

· Fainting

· Rapid breathing

· Sunken eyes


Can Dehydration Trigger a Migraine?

Many migraineurs find themselves particularly susceptible to migraines when summer rolls in. High temperatures, humidity, and barometric pressure changes are all known migraine triggers. But dehydration, which is extremely common during the summertime, is an often-overlooked trigger that can be easily avoided.

There is significant clinical and anecdotal evidence of dehydration as a migraine trigger. However, few research studies have been conducted to confirm or deny the claim. One research study published by the medical journal Neurology analyzed data from 7,054 patients who had been admitted to the emergency department with a headache. Their results showed that the risk of getting a migraine increases almost eight percent for every nine-degree rise in temperature. The researchers didn’t name dehydration as a trigger, but it is a well-known fact that hot temperature frequently leads to it.

Another study published by the European Journal of Neurology randomly assigned migraine patients to two groups. The first group was asked to drink 1.5 liters of water (around six cups) a day for two weeks, and the second group was given a placebo medicine. Results suggested that, on average, the group that drank more water experienced 21 fewer hours of headaches than the placebo group during the study.

How to Prevent Dehydration

Fortunately, dehydration is easy to prevent and treat. Most guidelines recommend healthy adults to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day (aka the “8×8 rule”), which adds up to half a gallon or two liters of water daily. The 8×8 rule is a good starting point because it is easy to remember, but the fact of the matter is that the amount of water your body needs depends on many factors, including your age, degree of physical activity, the weather, season, and more.

One of the best ways to find out how much water you need is to experiment for a couple of days with your water intake. If you work out a lot or have a physically demanding job, you will most likely need more than 8 glasses of water.

On the other hand, if you are not as active or spend lots of time indoors, two liters might be more than enough. A good rule of thumb is never to wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Thirst is one of the early signs of dehydration, so while you are not likely to be severely dehydrated the minute you feel a little thirsty, it’s always best to sip a little water throughout the day.

Because staying hydrated is not easy for everybody, here are some practical tips that might help:

· Get a few water bottles and leave them where you spend the most time – at home, at the office, in your gym bag. Having a water bottle with you will help you remember that you need to drink water, save money, and cut down on single-use plastics.

· Add flavor to your water. If you don’t enjoy the taste – or lack thereof – of water, add a few fruits or veggie slices to the glass or pitcher. Lemon, cucumber, strawberries, ginger, blueberries and raspberries are all tasty additions packed with healthy vitamins and minerals.

· Use an app to track your progress. Logging your water intake into an app makes drinking water a little more exciting and will help you get a sense of how much water you are really drinking.

· Drink a full glass of water before each meal and after every bathroom break.

· Eat more fruits with high water content: lettuce, cucumber, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cabbage are all more than 90 percent water.

For good health and longevity, make water a big part of your daily routine.


step-into-the-light-summer1There are several weeks of summertime left to enjoy so don’t get stuck in the dark riding out a migraine or headache. August brings extreme heat but also a last chance to plan summer activities and vacations. As schedules change, and temperatures rise so do migraine triggers such as barometric pressure, disrupted sleep patterns, stress and dehydration. Some triggers you can control or avoid and some you can not. There are many things you can do to ease through August if you are a migraine sufferer.
First of all, for those times when you need help most, keep MigreLief-NOW close by so you can take 2-4 capsules at the first sign of discomfort.  (For children’s dosages age 2-12, see back of bottle).  Keep “NOW” in your car, purse, or suitcase for emergencies if you leave town or are merely on the go.  And for those of you who are back to work or off to school already, keep MigreLief-NOW at your office, or in your school backpack.  Remember, MigreLief-NOW is different than the  daily maintenance formulas… It is an on-the-spot dietary supplement taken “as needed” to provide immediate nutritional support when you need it most… NOW!  (Migraine Formulas-Overview Pdf)

As summer shifts toward fall, for many, August is not a time to grab a last minute vacation but rather a time to endure the extreme heat. The majority of the U.S. suffers hot, sticky August nights and while it’s great for the crops heading toward early harvest, sleeping can be particularly uncomfortable and trouble for migraineurs.

While a lot of people have central air to mitigate the heat, many people have either inadequate air conditioning or none at all.  For several areas of the U.S., August is a rainy season fraught with extremely uncomfortable levels of humidity.  At 90 degrees, anything over 70% humidity is considered extremely uncomfortable and can be deadly for asthmatics.  For those sensitive to barometric-pressure change migraines, the rising and falling humidity of August can make one feel as though they are on a migraine roller-coaster. Migraineurs often feel in August that, around the clock, they either have a migraine or are anticipating one at any moment.

Headache Prevention for Outdoor Enthusiasts
As a basic outdoor strategy, be sure to wear dark sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Also, staying hydrated is key to avoiding light and heat related headaches. Humidity is really tough to control out of doors, but following some of the suggestions made in preventing barometric pressure and altitude headaches is good general advice for those who will be out in the humidity as well.

The barometer drops rapidly just before a storm, and your blood vessels may react to that, trying to equalize the pressure.   Many sufferers recognize this fact and even find themselves watching the weather channel to know when to anticipate a summer storm migraine.

Strategies for barometric pressure headaches
Some migraineurs have reported that lying down in a dark room can ward off the pressure headache, but if you are or want to be an outdoor enthusiast, you have to figure out other ways to deal with it.  The good news is there are gadgets that can help you. If you are one who prefers gadgets over devices and apps, Newspring  Power International Company, Ltd. offers a fishing barometer designed to check the barometric pressure at specific locations.

The application for migraineurs is that you can set the device for up to six places where you might wish to go for the day, and program it to warn you when a storm is approaching any of those places. If you prefer a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), there are several smart phones and tablets which have barometric sensors with free apps that will send you alarms when pressure reaches the danger zone for you.

Other remedies:

A de-humidifier can mitigate some of the indoor humidity. Also, keep blinds drawn to keep the house cooler.

Keep from exerting yourself as much as possible, especially out of doors, and plan your shopping-musts around the cooler parts of the day.

Cook smart – use your microwave instead of the stove, prepare cool, summer meals involving salads and yogurt products. Don’t succumb to fast foods or snack foods, but have on hand foods that you can put together quickly.

If you sleep under a fan, avoid colds, sinus problems, neck pain that can trigger migraines by covering your neck as you sleep. Keep a towel or light, children’s blanket just for draping over your neck while you sleep.

If you feel yourself getting overheated, wet your skin and lie down in front of or underneath a fan. Putting off your shower till the heat of the afternoon is a good idea for refreshing yourself.  Of course one nice idea is simply getting away to cooler climates in August.


  • – Soak a t-shirt in the sink in cool water (not cold or chilled water), wring it out, put it on and sit in the shade or in front of a fan. (You may want to save this one for when you’re alone, unless you’re going for that ‘wet t-shirt’ contest!)
  • – Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and freeze over night. You will have a cool mist that lasts for hours.
  • – Soak your feet in cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will naturally cool the body.
  • – Wear light colors darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat.
  • – Minty fresh use mint scented or menthol lotions and soaps to cool your skin.
  • – More alcohol just the rubbing alcohol please! Put some rubbing alcohol on a damp washcloth and hold it on the back of your neck and sit near a fan. The evaporative effect can feel 30 degrees cooler.

FROZEN GRAPES:  To stay cool, try this naturally sweet frozen treat. 

These frozen bites always stay icy, but not frozen solid. They must be eaten as soon as they are removed from the freezer before they thaw completely.

1. Wash and dry green or red grapes.
2. Place in sealable plastic bag.
3. Keep in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.
4. Fill a bowl with several ice cubes and place the bag in the bowl to keep cool while you enjoy!

Again, remember to keep MigreLief-NOW on hand in times of trouble and take 2-4 capsules at the first sign of discomfort.  Children between the age of 2-12, should take exactly 1/2 the adult dose.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer and stay cool!

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.


Sign up to receive valuable health and wellness input straight from Curt Hendrix, a medical researcher, chemist and clinical nutritionist.



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Avoid Summer Migraines

While there is much to love about summer- longer days, outdoor picnics, trips to the beach, pool time and nighttime barbecues, summer months can also increase the risk of debilitating migraines. Hotter temperatures, barometric pressure changes, and high humidity make many migraine sufferers more susceptible to an attack.

What triggers migraines during the summer?

A host of factors make summer one of the worst seasons for migraine attacks. For example, dehydration, a common migraine trigger, is more likely to occur during the summer months when the weather is warm and during periods of profuse sweating where people lose more fluid than they take in.

Other factors may trigger migraines during the summer months, including:

• High humidity
• High winds
• Longer days (which can change sleeping patterns)
• Typical summer foods and drinks (hot dogs, bacon, sausage, soda, alcohol, pre-made sauces like BBQ sauce, chips, candy, etc.)
• Barometric pressure changes

But even though migraines often rob us of summer’s little pleasures, there are things you can do to minimize your risk and ward off triggers. Here are some helpful tips for avoiding migraines and headaches this summer:

Stay well hydrated.

For many migraine sufferers, even mild dehydration is the quickest way to a migraine attack. To avoid getting dehydrated while you are out and about, carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink 6 to 8 ounces every hour. Drinking water is not the only way to stay hydrated: fruits and veggies with high water content like grapes, watermelon, celery, and cucumber are fun and effective hydration options perfect for pool or beach days.

Wear sunglasses.

Many migraine sufferers are sensitive to light before, during, or even after an attack (photophobia). 85 to 90 percent of migraineurs experience photophobia which is why so many migraine sufferers seeking migraine relief, lie down in a dark room.

Some migraineurs swear by dark, polarized, tinted, or FL-41 lenses, but keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way of choosing sunglasses for your migraines. The perfect pair will be the one that sits comfortably on your face, provides adequate UV ray coverage, and reduces discomfort.  It is important to choose frames with good eye-coverage that can help block light that comes from above, that comes from the side, and that causes glare that comes from the back.

You may also need to wear your sunglasses indoors to deal with fluorescent lights, computer screens, etc. However, wearing sunglasses indoors too much can lead to something called chronic dark adaptation, which can make your sensitivity to light even worse.  If you have to wear sunglasses inside, be sure to take them off every hour or so to avoid getting chronic dark adaptation.  Consider decreasing glare and brightness by turning off fluorescent lights or adjusting or tinting your computer screen.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

With longer days and shorter nights, you probably find yourself going to bed later and waking up earlier than usual. Daylight hour changes can be very disruptive to sleeping routines; humans are wired to sleep after the sun sets and wake up when it rises. But during the summertime, the earth tilts on its axis ever so slightly, bringing more daylight hours to most places around the world.

Sleep deprivation is a potent migraine trigger, but you can avoid it by sticking to a regular sleeping schedule, making sure your room is dark, the temperature is pleasant, and limiting your sugar and caffeine consumption before bed.

Before you give in to the inevitability of waking up with a migraine, consider a natural sleep aide to help you reset your internal clock and ease back to sleep. Natural supplements with melatonin, valerian root extract, or magnesium are all safe and effective options.

Avoid Fragrances.

Fragrance loaded summer products like sunscreens are important to avoid if you are susceptible to this migraine trigger. Try to purchase fragrance-free products when possible.

Manage Stress.

Although summer is a carefree time of fun and relaxation, many people may experience what some call a “let-down” migraine because they occur on the first day of vacation or the start of a weekend. According to a study conducted by researchers at the Montefiore Headache Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, in the first six hours of reduced stress, a person’s risk of getting a migraine attack increases nearly five times, an effect that lasts up to 24 hours. The researchers found that relaxation following heightened stress was an even more significant trigger for migraine attacks and reduced stress from one day to the next significantly increased risk of migraine onset on the following day.

It is important for people to be aware of rising stress levels and attempt to relax during periods of stress, rather than allowing a major build-up.  Rising temperatures are also known to increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Practicing mindfulness or yoga and taking natural supplements to help maintain healthy levels of cortisol are great ways to manage stress and prevent migraines.

Relax, enjoy your summer, and stay safe.

When your out and about this summer, remember to avoid heat-related illnesses.  Avoid becoming overheated.  While having fun and the sun, be sure to seek out shade occasionally, drink plenty of water and cool down by misting yourself with a spray bottle of water.