Lemon Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

What are the benefits and Negatives of Drinking Lemon Water daily?

 

 

Research suggests that the average female needs 91 oz of water while the average male needs 125oz of water daily,  But it’s so bland. So how do you get it in? What about flavored water or water with something added to it? 

 

The most common fruit placed in water is Lemon, and with good reason. The question is, is it for your betterment or does it cause harm. Well, just like anything, too much of a good thing is too much. Use best Judgement and guidance from multiple providers, including your dentist. 

 

So what is Lemon Water Used For? 

Ayurvedic medicine has long stated that lemon in the water plays a role in detoxification, hydration, weight loss, digestion, improved skin quality, prevention of kidney stones, and it’s a good source of Vitamin-C.  But which of those hold water?

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It turns out that most of it is correct. In a study published in 2016, they looked at the benefits of using lemon water with honey in it to decrease lipid profiles. 50 people participated and the results were conclusive. The Fat weight of the person decreased, Triglyceride levels went down and Free Fatty Mass decreased. The questions for the researchers that I have is in part around the fasting and in part around subject numbers. Intermittent fasting is also shown to improve Free Fat Mass and triglycerides, so is it a side effect of just that, or is it actually the lemon in the water? 

 

If i was not convinced that it had to do with the lemon in the water, a 1014 study with 100 participants showed similar results. They added daily walking for 20 minutes as a component of their study though, and took out fasting. 

 

The most conclusive results that I could find were in a 2019 study looking at changes in the gut microbiome and longevity. That study showed that microbial activity of bacteria that help the body break down and digest food was increased by 10% -30% depending on the individual’s microbiome at the start of the study. They showed that the persons had more energy and then they also were looked at over a period of ten years. They tested at younger ages via blood work, mental cognitive tests and agility than same aged peers. 

 

So why do some think it is harmful to drink lemon water? The answers might surprise you. 

Most of the time, we don’t think about washing fruits that we peel, but they can be a significant host for things like e.coli, staph and MRSA. One study of 20 restaurants across the US showed that almost all of the oranges and lemons contained at minimum E. Coli on the skin. You don’t want to stick that in your water (or beer).When it comes to restaurant lemons and oranges, Squeeze them into the drink, but leave the fruit on the plate please. 

 

Lemons are acidic in nature, so they can irritate the skin, gums and cold sores or canker sores. The American Dental association recommends that you stay away from them in those instances. Also, if you have weak tooth enamel or start to notice your teeth feel rough when you run your tongue over them, re-consider your flavor of water. That acidity may also play a role in GERD. While some people get a benefit for their heartburn from lemon water, others can suffer because the pH balance in the stomach is upset by trying to balance out the acidity of the lemons. 

The last thing you may want to consider is about migraines. If you are unsure of your triggers, check citrus fruits specifically when you know you have some down time. Getting a migraine at work because you drink lemon water is not a good plan.

 

That’s all for now, Check back later for more health news!

 

Effects of Lifelong Intake of Leon Polyphenols on aging and intestinal microbiome; Shimizu et al. sci rep. (2019)9;3671
Effects on 8P of Daily Lemon intake and Walking. Y.Kato et al. J. Nutr. Metab. (2014)2014:912684
Does Short Term Lemon Honey Fasting Have Effect on Lipid Profile and Body composition. J. Ayurveda Integ Med (2016)Mar; 7(11-13).

Are you Drinking Enough Water?

Drinking water is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, digestion and muscles. Water acts a lubricant, shock absorber, building material and solvent. Water is essential for body temperature regulation through sweat, nutrient transport, waste product removal, and maintaining fluid balance. In the summer when it is hot and people sweat more, they often don’t get enough fluids. Air travel also negatively effects hydration status due to low humidity levels in the airplane cabin.

Elderly populations are at a higher risk of dehydration as a result of physiological changes and age-related decline in fluid intake. Children are also at a higher risk of dehydration as they have increased heat gain from the environment. This is due to greater surface area-body mass ratio compared to adults, increased heat production during exercise, decreased ability to dissipate heat via sweat, and decreased sensation of thirst compared to adults. Pregnant and lactating women require additional fluid intakes to avoid dehydration, as well.

Clothing, equipment and larger body size can increase sweat rate and thus dehydration risk, along with environmental conditions such as hot, humid environments and altitude. Furthermore, athletes may be more prone to dehydration during the beginning of training season. However, repeated exercise in hot environments helps the body adapt to heat stress and will result in greater sweat volume, lower electrolyte concentration of sweat, and lower temperature for onset of sweat.

Thirst may not be a reliable indicator for fluid needs and those with great sweat losses may not voluntarily drink enough fluid to adequately rehydrate. Therefore, a systematic approach to fluid replacement is necessary. For every pound of weight lost with exercise, a pint of fluid is required for replenishment (Essentials of Strength and Conditioning). Fluid guidelines differ for children and adults. The recommended water Adequate Intake is 3.7 L (125.1 oz) for men and 2.7L (91.3 oz) for women per day (Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies). During activity, children weighing ~88 pounds should drink 5 oz cold water or flavored salted drink every 20 min during the event whether they are thirsty or not (American Academy of Pediatrics). All sources of fluid (coffee, tea, juice, soda, food fluid, etc) contribute to meeting a person’s water needs.

During exercise, sweat output can’t keep up with increases in core body temperature unless fluids are consumed. Sweat losses that exceed fluid intake can quickly lead to a hypohydrated state with subsequent increase in body temperature, decrease in blood plasma volume, and increase in heart rate and perceived exertion. Mild dehydration can greatly affect performance, resulting in increased fatigue, decreased motivation, neuromuscular control, accuracy, power, strength, muscular endurance, and overall function.

All electrolytes, including sodium chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium, are essential to muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Increased loss of electrolytes with significant sweat production could alter performance. When large quantities of hypotonic fluid are consumed, lots of urine is produced long before the person is hydrated. Likewise, athletes who exercise intensely or for many hours and hydrate with only water or a no- or low-sodium drink may dilute their blood sodium levels to dangerously low levels, called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia leads to intracellular swelling and the athlete may present with HA, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, swollen hands and feet, restlessness, and disorientation. Some athletes need to replace sodium losses with higher-sodium foods and add electrolytes to drinks. Fluid intake shouldn’t exceed sweat losses to avoid hyponatremia (for example, athletes should not weigh more after workout).

 

Article written by Dr. Jessica Khani, PT, DPT, CSCS

 

The information provided is not medical advice and is not intended to be used in place of seeking advice from a professional.

 

References:

Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2002/2005) and Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate (2005). National Academies.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Sports Medicine: Health Care for Young Athletes. 2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL. American Academy of Pediatrics; 1991:98.

Haff, Greg. Triplett, Travis. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning. Fourth edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2016. Print.