Why Water Alone Doesn’t Hydrate the Body: Dehydration, Minerals, & Adrenal Exhaustion


If you have been dutifully drinking your 8 eight-ounce glasses of water daily, here’s why you aren’t getting the benefits you believe you are:

Tap water and bottled water are purported to contain some minerals, varying in content from source to source.

However, most bottled water is expensive and may not be any better than tap water, which can have dangerous substances in it such as remnants of pharmaceutical drugs and other chemicals, heavy metals like chromium, lead, and arsenic, plus the added chemicals fluoride and chlorine.

According to this report from ABC News:

“20/20″ took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli. “There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated,” he said.

According to Body Ecology:

  • Tap water is municipal water that comes out of the faucets and has been treated, processed and disinfected. It is purified with chlorine and generally has added flouride. But one of the byproducts from using chlorine in our drinking water is linked to cancer1.
  • Distilled water can be any kind of water that has been vaporized and collected, leaving behind any solid residues, including minerals. Distilled water has no minerals in it at all.
  • Reverse osmosis water has been forced through membranes that remove larger particles, pollutants and minerals. Reverse osmosis water is usually acidic2.
  • Deionized water has had ionized impurities and minerals removed from it but not bacteria or pathogens.

In general, most of the water available is lacking in essential minerals we need for health. Mineral deficiencies can cause just about every major disease and symptom known to humankind including rapid heartbeat, headaches (including migraines), 

If you are chronically dehydrated, you may be suffering from symptoms of adrenal exhaustion:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Salt cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling thirsty or dehydrated, and need to drink a lot of water at one time
  • Sleep issues: falling asleep, wake in the night or wake early in the morning
  • Tension, nervousness, anxiety or panic

Adrenal glands are found just above your kidneys, and in combination with your thyroid, work to generate energy for your body. Together, these organs secrete critical hormones for health including something called aldosterone. This hormone is secreted by your adrenals and regulates the concentration of minerals and water levels in the body – such as sodium and other minerals – to keep you hydrated.

Another important job your adrenal glands have is to regulate the body’s response to stress. In modern life, stress is frequent and acute, thus creating a constant state of adrenal fatigue. This issue is so rampant, in fact, most people suffer from it – especially women. The more stress you have, the more hormones like aldosterone and salt circulate in the body.  As stress levels begin to fall, aldosterone tapers off and sodium must exit the bloodstream. Your kidneys process salt, and as it leaves your body in the form of urine, water goes with it.

So, the more stress you experience, the weaker your adrenal glands will become, which means the more you will have to rehydrate. That’s why even if you are drinking water all day long, you may not be getting the rehydration through adequate mineral repletion your body needs for good health.

What can we do to obtain enough minerals in our diets?

  • Drink nettles infusions
  • Make and consume bone broths from the bones of pastured animals and birds (cattle, bison, lamb, poultry, etc.)
  • Eat foods from pastured animals and birds – meat, eggs, poultry, dairy, raw milk
  • Eat cultured foods – yogurt, kefir, sour cream, cultured vegetables made from home
  • Use cell salts homeopathic tablets or liquid minerals – add the liquid minerals to your filtered water and stocks and soups you make at home. I have been using Best Process Trace Minerals as recommended by my Naturopath, and I’m noticing a huge difference in the way I feel.
  • Drink mineral water or filtered water with added minerals, fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, or unsweetened cranberry juice

13 more ways to rehydrate and nourish your adrenal glands:

  1. Make sure to consume plenty of liquid gradually throughout the day, and  don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink a large amount.  If you drink too fast, you risk diluting your blood, which may cause faster excretion of water by the kidneys. Everyone needs different amounts of liquid, but a good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces. If you weigh 150, drink 75 ounces. This can be mineral water or water with minerals added. Fulvic acid is an excellent substance to add to water.
  2. During meals, consume 4 ounces of liquid or less. Drinking more than this dilutes the hydrochloric acid and other stomach juuices your body produces to properly digest your food.  Small amounts of warm or hot liquid such as bone broths, or cultured vegetable juices, or other fermented drinks like water kefir or kombucha will help you to digest your food better.
  3. Avoid processed, packaged, and junk foods. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet with real food with plenty of healthy fats and proteins.
  4. During and after you exercise, make sure you replace lost fluids with water. When we exert ourselves and sweat, our bodies lose salt and minerals, so replacing them is critical.
  5. Avoid beverages and chemicals such as alcohol, soda, and coffee. These substances cause mineral depletion.  Coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol are diuretics and cause the body to release liquid and minerals.  The kidneys are triggered to excrete water but  by triggering the kidneys to excrete pure water without releasing toxins stored in the body.
  6. Consume kelp, dulse, nori, or other sea vegetables. These foods are a good source of minerals. Kelp flakes are a very good addition to your diet and are extremely versatile for adding to soups, stews, casseroles, and many other meals as they don’t change the taste of your food.
  7. Consume safe-source seafood.  As well as being a rich source of Vitamins like A and E and Omega 3 essential fatty acids, these foods are some of the best sources of important minerals available: especially iodine, selenium, and zinc.
  8. Consume plenty of proteins and fats from animals and birds on pasture. Grassfed meats and poultry, eggs, raw dairy foods like butter, milk, yogurt, and kefir, pork, lamb, bison, and other meats and animal products from healthy animals raised on pasture or range. These foods are naturally higher in minerals than their conventional counterparts, as well as Omega 3 essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, an important antioxidant).
  9. Take a good quality, bioavailable mineral supplement. Dr. Ron Schmid, ND, recommends Cal 1000 – Mag 500 Hydroxapatite Plus. This supplement is made of the bones of grass-fed animals from New Zealand and is one of the most highly-absorbable forms of minerals available. Another good supplement from a plant-derived source is Morningstar Minerals Energy Boost 70 Supplement. Plant sources are another bioavailable source of minerals since we get our minerals directly from plants as well as animals.
  10. Use topical magnesium oil, gel, bath flakes, or lotion.  This transdermal oil is a great way to obtain enough magnesium, especially if you have compromised digestion. It bypasses your digestive system by soaking directly into the skin and into the bloodstream, and can help you avoid one of the main side-effects of magnesium supplements – mal-absorption and diarrhea.
  11. Use a good water filter.  Our family uses the Big Berkey water filtration system and we love it. They are easy to assemble and use, and if for some reason there is a situation where water supplies are cut off, you can use your system to filter out pond or river water. Berkey also has a fluoride filter available as well. Avoid distilled as most of the minerals are removed in those processes. Although reverse osmosis water removes everything, another alternative is to add fulvic minerals or liquid ionic minerals.
  12. Control blood sugar levels by eating regularly throughout the day. Elevated blood sugar causes osmotic diuresis, where the sugar exits through your kidneys and carries water out with it into the urine. As a result, your kidneys are unable to reabsorb the water. Body Ecology once again provides you with an excellent solution. Fermented foods and beverages that are naturally sour take away cravings for sugars. You’ll find yourself feeling quite satisfied with the natural sugars in foods like carrots and fruit.
  13. Manage stress and get to bed at an early hour. Sleep gives your body a chance to repair and is critical for nourishing the adrenal glands and allows for repair and restoration.

Drinking water to support your adrenal glands is only part of the whole equation.  Everyone needs adequate amounts of water to live, and we need healthy adrenals to maintain fluid and mineral balance in our bodies, but a healthy diet and lifestyle are also essential to keeping the mineral levels in your body to help you stay hydrated too. If you are drinking a lot of water and still feeling dehydrated, or if you have symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, replenish your adrenals with these recommendations.



  • December 20, 2011 - 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Very interesting post. I’ve heard about adrenal fatigue before, but never knew exactly what is was or caused by. I recently wrote a post on my trip to a local farm for a presentation on ionized water and basically it talked about maintaining an alkaline pH with mineralized, ionized water. Tap water actually contains more minerals than the acidic, nutrient-less bottled water.

  • December 21, 2011 - 8:18 AM | Permalink

    Hi Kelli – Feel free to include a link to any post you write here. :) Yes, tap water does include minerals for sure, but the main issues are the chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine, as well as the others I mentioned such as remnants of pharmaceutical drugs, etc. I find that it’s difficult to trust whether filtered water actually is free of all those things. I mean, how do you know whether the filter you buy (whether it’s a Berkey or some other) is actually getting those substances out? Of course those companies are going to tell you their product does that – in my opinion – because they want you to buy their product. And then there are a lot of discussions which lean toward not using RO water because supposedly adding minerals back in isn’t effective toward getting it into our bodies. So, the suggestions in my post are really to help ensure you get more minerals in your body to avoid adrenal exhaustion and dehydration, which are actually connected and more common than people are aware.

  • December 21, 2011 - 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for all the great info. I’ve been looking into what water filter would be best to get for our home. It seems reverse osmosis is best based on what you are saying. What do you think? What do you think about distilling water and then adding minerals back into it?

  • December 22, 2011 - 8:32 AM | Permalink

    Melissa – I haven’t personally used Berkey, but I have heard from dozens of people how much they like them. I know they have filters which remove fluoride and chlorine, but I don’t know how the minerals keep from being stripped out.

    As far as adding minerals into RO water, that’s what we were doing for a couple of years…but I have read that this process doesn’t actually ensure that your body absorbs the minerals. From what I understand, it’s a bit like a processed food that has been stripped of its nutrients and then has synthetic added back in. Although there are some great liquid mineral supplements that are real minerals, I just think maybe trying to add this back into distilled or RO water isn’t the same as just drinking water which already has minerals in it.

    Here’s an informative link from Donna Gates on the Body Ecology site which discusses the different types of water and which are the best choices (it lists artisan water, well water, and mineral water among the best):


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  • Rachel H.
    March 21, 2012 - 11:08 AM | Permalink

    This article was life changing. Thank you so much. I just purchased the minerals you recommended, and I am sipping my water today rather than chugging it. Your recommendation to sip throughout the day rather than to chug has curbed my need for more water.

  • March 21, 2012 - 12:57 PM | Permalink

    Hi Rachel – I am really glad this information has helped you! I wish you the best on your health journey, as it is unique for every one of us. I can’t tell you how much better I feel with the minerals, nettles, bone broths, kombucha I also drink, and mineral-rich foods (such as fermented vegetables)I have been eating in conjunction with the liquids in intake.

  • Pingback: Why Drinking Too Much Water Is Dangerous « Nanay Miriam's "re-MISSION"

  • December 18, 2012 - 1:02 AM | Permalink

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  • Sasha
    April 23, 2013 - 2:56 PM | Permalink

    We do not know what water to drink – all of the water contains high levels of fluoride, that can be removed through reverse osmosis but after this process there are no minerals and it is too acidic as well. Bottled spring or purified water has other toxins from the plastic and most of it has introduced florid as well. Where is the truth?

  • April 24, 2013 - 8:58 PM | Permalink

    Sasha – have you heard of Berkey Water filters? These are some of the best filters on the market and get a lot of the contaminants and toxins out. Most filters don’t get out antibiotic and medication residues, which are in most water (and Berkeys are no exception), but they do a fine job of filtering out lead, arsenic, carbon, chlorine and they also have a fluoride filter as well.


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  • craig
    June 2, 2014 - 3:04 PM | Permalink

    Distilled water is actually the most hydrating water, look up how osmosis works, it moves the most effectively throughout the body. Distilled water is pure water, it doesn’t contain any harmful minerals such as fluoride or chlorine etc. or any harmful bacteria or viruses. Distilled water also doesn’t contain essential minerals, but your body gets most, if not all, of that from a healthy (solid) diet. It does not sap minerals from the body, in fact, osmosis is the process which keeps water and minerals in the body balanced.

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