Water woes: personal hydration edition
October 23, 2020 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I have dramatically increased my water intake over the last several weeks. I was most likely chronically dehydrated before and now I seem to be retaining all that new water.

I went from maybe 12oz of water on a good day to at least 48 to 64 oz of water intake daily. Since then my weight has increased, my legs feel swollen, and I actually got a Cahrley horse in my leg this morning which I haven't had in 20 years.

I am exercising daily but have been super hungry as well. How long will it take for my body to realize I am going to continue drinking a good amount of water and let go of this water weight?
posted by tafetta, darling! to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You sound like you need some electrolytes to go with all that water! Try some extra salt (both regular NaCl and the "no-salt" KCl substitute if you can find it) and magnesium supplements and I think you'll feel a lot better within a day.
posted by teremala at 7:50 AM on October 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Electrolytes! You can get some of those tablets that you drop into water (Nuun or Gu) or even packets of things like Liquid IV.
posted by something_witty at 8:00 AM on October 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

"The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide." Is there a particular reason you think you were dehydrated? You get water from many foods and all beverages; I almost never drink plain water. (There are plenty of good reasons to drink more water, such as replacing high-calorie drinks, but that's separate from dehydration.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:07 AM on October 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Should I take magnesium everyday AND electrolyte supplements or just one or the other?
posted by tafetta, darling! at 8:25 AM on October 23, 2020

You definitely need potassium. I've found that for me, taking a simple electrolyte supplement (I tend towards the Mio water enhancer things, but there are a metric ton of options) works just fine alongside a magnesium supplement too. But pay attention to how you're feeling and take it relatively slow - electrolyte balance is one of those things that your body will adapt to over time, but huge fast changes throw everything out of whack (as you've found.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2020

Magnesium is safe to take "to tolerance," which means too much
will trigger a rather urgent bowel movement but not actually hurt you (in normal human quantities, of course -- don't massively overload yourself on it). If your other electrolytes don't have magnesium, I'd recommend adding it specifically for the leg muscle cramps. I used to get them all the time and daily magnesium has fixed me right up.
posted by teremala at 9:11 AM on October 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I talk this stuff up constantly, it's improved my life so much and one bottle will last one person 6-8 weeks with pretty diligent use. I keep the big bottle by the water dispenser and the little travel flask in my bathroom for my nightstand water.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Should I take magnesium everyday AND electrolyte supplements or just one or the other?

Check the ingredients on the electrolyte supplements, if they have magnesium in them already (in some reasonable quantity, not 2% of the RDA or something), then you don't need to take magnesium also.
posted by yohko at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2020

I tend to get muscle cramps (I think that's what you mean by a horse?) if I am low in potassium in particular, I find that having a banana or other high potassium fruit each day helps with that a lot. If you are getting the cramps first thing in the morning you might eat the banana for desert after dinner.
posted by yohko at 12:47 PM on October 23, 2020

The condition caused by consuming large quantities of water without electrolytes is called water poisoning; one of the symptoms is cramping and you might be interested to look and see if you have other ones. (And the commenters above are correct that consuming electrolytes is the way to remedy mild water poisoning.)
posted by XMLicious at 1:00 PM on October 23, 2020

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