Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Lumifer comments on Nature publishes an article about alternative therapy - Less Wrong

1 Post author: BiasedBayes 19 October 2015 05:07PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (31)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: pjeby 30 October 2015 03:45:43PM 0 points [-]

don't you want to err on the side of more water?

Of course I do. In fact, most of my water consumption is forced, in the sense that I'm drinking without any sensation of thirst. That's the problem: I have little sensation of thirst, unless I'm already drinking. While I'm drinking water I can notice I'm thirsty, or at any rate, that drinking the water is pleasurable. But the rest of the time, I drink by forcing myself to notice that there's water in the 32-ounce glass on my desk and that I should drink it, or that the glass is empty and I should refill it.

But this doesn't help as much as you'd think, because my body doesn't seem to store the water for later demand, and just prompts me to get rid of it instead... then quickly becomes dehydrated again... all with no sensation of thirst except in certain extreme cases. But I can also get too dehydrated to function, without any sensation of thirst.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 October 2015 05:07:59PM *  1 point [-]

most of my water consumption is forced, in the sense that I'm drinking without any sensation of thirst. That's the problem: I have little sensation of thirst

I am keeping in mind the Typical Body Fallacy, but this seems entirely normal to me, at least for a city person with a desk job. I don't have and don't expect to have a sensation of thirst during a typical day. I wouldn't say that I'm forcing myself to drink, I just sip and drink intermittently throughout the day basically because I recognize that otherwise I will get dehydrated (thought still no actual thirst) by the end of the day.

because my body doesn't seem to store the water for later demand

Given how you were talking about pains, it seems to be a noticeable issue for you -- so maybe set up some recurring timers to, I don't know, sip 50ml every half an hour or something?

Comment author: pjeby 30 October 2015 05:41:30PM *  0 points [-]

Given how you were talking about pains, it seems to be a noticeable issue for you

Yes -- it happens a few times a week, depending on circumstances.

Your advice would totally make sense if the baseline issue were that I'm not consuming enough water. But on a baseline day I consume between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water alone, not counting any water in the food I eat, or any other beverages such as almond milk. (I don't consume sodas, fruit juice, coffee, tea, alcohol, or really anything else.)

The problem is that sometimes, that 1-1.5 gallons isn't enough, and there are occasionally days where it's been not enough for a few days in a row, such that I end up running "a few quarts low". (I actually use my scale as another clue: if I've lost a pound or two from one day to the next, and my fat % is higher, then I know I'm dehydrating. But an hour or so difference in time spent sleeping can do the same thing to my weight, so it's not a very precise measurement.)

I don't know, sip 50ml every half an hour or something?

What makes you think I'm not doing that now? As pointed out elsewhere in this thread, my rate of water need is not constant. If I have a couple of days in a row where I underestimate how much I need to raise my intake to compensate for losses like having more conversations or physical exertion than usual (or the air conditioner running more to maintain the temperature inside!), then I will fall behind and experience dehydration symptoms. But if I try to consume more water as a matter of course, then that also disrupts my digestion, makes me feel cold, keeps me running to the bathroom, and so forth.

So, if you don't have some method for actually changing my body's regulation of water, I'm not interested. AFAICT I'm already doing everything that is doable with respect to changing my behavior around water consumption, given the lack of any reliable means for determining my precise water need, in a situation where both under- and over-consumption create health problems.

I'm going to tap out of this discussion now, as my original post was not a request for advice; it was an expression of curiosity about someone saying they experienced headache relief from both placebos and painkillers, making me wonder if it was water-related (since I have some experience of that).

Comment author: JEB_4_PREZ_2016 30 October 2015 11:50:04PM *  2 points [-]

But on a baseline day I consume between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water alone, not counting any water in the food I eat, or any other beverages such as almond milk.

That's an absurd amount of water (not from food) to be consuming every day.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 October 2015 07:14:07PM *  1 point [-]

Sorry. LW is populated by people with... different capabilities to manage their problems and it wasn't obvious to which category you belonged.