More than half of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but most of it has a very high salt content. This makes it unsuitable for human consumption. If you are wondering why, here are 6 good reasons that will discourage you from drinking salt water.
Your body will get dehydrated
The human kidneys are only able to eliminate a small amount of salt from the body at a time through urine. In order to remove huge amounts of salt, the kidneys need to produce a lot of urine to flush the salts out.
Essentially, when you drink salt water, your body will require even more water to dilute and eliminate all of it. In the end, you will just get more dehydrated from urinating too much.
See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated
Your cells will shrink
The human cells are made up of semi-permeable membranes that allow water to move in and out of them freely.
When you drink salt water, you increase the concentration of sodium outside of your cells. So, to bring back balance, water moves from the cells to the external space and this causes the cells to shrink.
When cells shrink too much, they become unable to perform their tasks and this leads to health problems.
Your blood pressure will increase
When you have excess salt in your body, the amount of sodium in your blood circulation increases. This attracts more fluid, which increases the strain and pressure in your blood vessels.
As you get more dehydrated from your body trying to flush out as much sodium as possible, your vital organs suffer and this can lead to organ failure. If not managed properly, this condition will be followed by a comma and eventually death.
You overwork the kidneys
Your kidneys play a huge role in excreting salt and water that the body does not need.
When there’s a high concentration of salt in the body, your kidneys will have to work extra hard to maintain balance. An overworked kidney can fail anytime and this can lead to further health complications.
A scaly and dry appearance
Salt water has a way of messing up with the skin by making it dry, flaky and ashy. This happens when skin cells lose water due to dehydration. You’ll see this start on the lips before moving to other parts of your body.
Another common problem that you will get when you drink salt water is cramps. It can happen when sodium builds up in the extracellular space of the cells. The high concentration of sodium outside the cells causes water to move outside.
Cells that form muscles will start to shrink and you can end up with muscle cramps. With time, your joints will become weaker, too. Eventually, this could hinder your ability to move.
Salt water animals are able to survive in such a saline environment since their cells are different from those found in humans. Their cells act like osmotic conformers, which means that their cells have the same salinity as their environment. An intake of salt wouldn’t cause a disruption in their physiological equilibrium.
Other animals, like fish, usually have specialized cells which cope with osmosis. They excrete excess salts, which allows the fish to consume salt water without any problem.
There are many negative effects of drinking salt water. Therefore, make sure to filter your water before drinking it. You can invest in whole house filters or portable ones, which you can easily take with you when you go camping or hiking.
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A retired water engineer living in Milwaukee, WI. Founder of homewaterfilter.guide.