The human body is made up of nearly 60 percent of it, and the Earth’s surface is 71 percent covered by it. It’s water, of course, and it touches nearly every aspect of our lives. However, with certain medical conditions – like diabetes – the importance of water and hydration increases substantially.
The short answer? Those with diabetes are more prone with dehydration because they urinate more frequently when blood sugar is above 200. That’s super high.
But the long answer is a little bit more complex.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus (includes type 1, type 2, et. al) occurs when two things happen:
- Type 1 Diabetes (or other rare cases) – When insulin is insufficiently produced. This is also known sometimes as Juvenile Diabetes.
- Type 2 Diabetes (more common) – When the body is unable to use insulin appropriately. Also known as “insulin resistance”, this typically occurs later in life, occurring after the pancreas has been producing too much insulin for too long, and the body has essentially tired out.
But the biggest secret ingredient to regulating your blood sugar and staying healthy? Clean water. Here’s how.
Hydration: A Sugar Balm
A recent study of 3,600 participants in France, including those both with and without diabetes, found that people who drank more than 34 ounces of water every day were less likely to develop high blood sugar than people who drank less than 16 ounces. The study was extensive, spanning nine years. It considered each person’s age, gender, weight, activity level, and quantity of non-water drinks they consumed.
…people who drank more than 34 ounces of water every day were less likely to develop high blood sugar than people who drank less than 16 ounces.
Whether or not you’re diabetic, and no matter your age, it just goes to show that the amount of water you drink daily can affect so many different parts of your physical wellbeing, including your blood sugar.
Intuitively it makes sense. When blood sugar is high, the body seeks to dilute the amount of glucose in the blood. Water also helps to rehydrate the body as it attempts to rid itself of excess glucose through urine. As such, someone with diabetes can use hydration as another method to reduce and manage their glucose levels.
There is also a more hormonal reason that hydration leads to lower blood sugar levels. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic hormone that helps clue the body into whether it should release or retain water.
For people with diabetes, increased levels of vasopressin can cause serious problems. Vasopressin levels rise in the body when it’s dehydrated, at which point, vasopressin tells the kidneys not to produce urine, but also prompts the liver to release blood sugar. This is somewhat of a catch 22 because although the body tries to rid itself of extra blood sugar through urine, the kidneys struggle to produce the urine needed to complete that flush. Clearly, keeping vasopressin levels regulated is worth the extra trips to the tap.
Clean Water > More Water
Alas, no tale of triumph is complete without a roadblock or two. In this case, the roadblock comes in the form of water quality. It’s well known that there is little downside to drinking healthy amounts of water as another way to manage blood sugar. But without paying close attention to your water quality, you could be adding in other minerals or contaminants that could be detrimental to your wellbeing.
Americans get their water in two ways. One is from your city – usually, a municipal treatment facility that pulls in water from a lake, river, or other similar bodies of water. From there, they treat the water for contaminants using either chlorine or chloramines before sending it through the pipes to your tap.
Alternatively, a small percentage of Americans source water from wells instead of through their municipal treatment facility. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate well water, so it’s up to the well owner to annually test and maintain water quality for those who use it as a source.
But buyers, beware. In the case of well water, there are many instances where some naturally-occurring chemicals, like arsenic, can seep into the groundwater and end up in your water supply. This is especially true for those that leave downstream from an agricultural facility or industrial/manufacturing plant.
And if that wasn’t scary enough, a recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association has linked inorganic arsenic found in drinking water to the development of diabetes. Yikes!
Where Regulation Meets Hydration
Fortunately, the problem of well water is easily solved. The best way to ensure your well water doesn’t contain dangerous levels of arsenic (and other contaminants that might end up in your well) is to test it regularly. Some of the best times to test your well water is right after heavy rainfall, following plumbing work, or upon noticing changes in the taste or smell of your water.
The same thing goes for municipal water. Even though it’s treated at the source, it can pick up contaminants from pipes on the way to your tap and can also contain trace amounts of chlorine/chloramines from the treatment facility that can leave an unpleasant color, taste, and odor in your water, on your skin, and in your hair.
One of the best ways to solve this? Filtering your water from the outset.
Well and municipal whole house water filters are designed to filter out the contaminants that end up in your water from every tap in your home, so you can shower with ease and cook with confidence. These systems are tested and proven to run the water through a series of steps that catch sediment, reduce contaminants and curb the levels of chlorine, bacteria growth, herbicides, and pesticides.
For those living with diabetes? This can mean the difference between struggling with your insulin levels after every meal and eating good food with peace of mind.