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why do electrolytes increase blood volume and not just water?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by anniekim, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Another poster has just put up a thread about electrolyte drinks. I know that it has been shown that a lot of people with m.e have low blood volume and thus some docs recommend drinking electrolyte drinks. However, I was wondering if anyone could explain me to why the combination of electrolytes and water increase blood volume and not just water?

    Also it is medically recognised that the only way to increase blood volume is through electrolytes drink? And is it generally accepted amongst the few doctors who treat m.e that the low blood volume is due to dehydration, or can there be other causes? I read somewhere that Dr lerner said the low blood volume was due to heart problems in people with M.E. However, even if there could be a different cause for low blood volume is the treatment to try and correct this always the same, ie. drinking electrolyte drinks? As you can see from my questions, I don't understand this much at all.

    Many thanks in advance
    merylg and Francelle like this.
  2. Spring

    Spring Senior Member

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    Hi Anniekim,

    Without enough electrolytes you will lose the water you drink soon because they are needed to keep the water in the blood stream. It's because of how the kidneys work. In the kidneys water goes out of the bloodstream with waste and because of the elektrolytes that stay in the bloodstream most water is reabsorbed, but without the waste. Because in this proces there is also loss of electrolytes you need to keep adding them. That's why people with dehydration get saline infusions. Hope I'm clear as my education on this was a while ago ;-)
    Increasing the blood volume in ME is symptom treatment as it does not solve the low blood volume problem, but many people seem have benefits from this.

    Bye,
    Spring
  3. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Thanks for the replies, very helpful

    Spring, just to clarify are you saying that most electrolytes don't go to the kidneys with the water and waste but some may? Thanks
  4. Spring

    Spring Senior Member

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    It's kind of a balance. The kidneys let go of a certain amount of elektrolytes. I don't remember exactly how it goes. I'm staying at my parents so I can't search for it in my old anatomy/fysiology book from nursing school. Maybe you can find some information on the internet/Wikipedia on how the kidneys work. The kidneys play a part in regulating the blood pressure, that's why antidiuretics are given to people with high blood pressure and why they can't eat much salt. Maybe you can find more info if you search on that.
  5. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Thanks spring. I did google about it all before writing my first post but couldn't find what I was looking for. Your reply has been very helpful, thank you
  6. Vanguard

    Vanguard

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    If I understand it correctly the hypothalamus/pituitary aren't creating enough ADH which leads to diabetes insipidus. I'm not sure how much this contributes to low blood volume. I would think that it would deal more with the heart than with hydration.

    RichVank believes that through following the methylation protocol that ADH can be corrected on it's own, which would be optimal of course. Dr. Lerner believes that antivirals can help get the virus out of the heart therefore leading to higher blood volume. The biggest problem I'm starting to have is who to believe and which way to go. There's no general consensus yet, it seems, on treatment which is what we need badly.
  7. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, anniekim.

    The effect of electrolytes in retaining water in the blood is based on what is called osmosis. The basic idea is that when an electrolyte is present in water, it lowers what is called the chemical potential of the water itself, because there is less of it per unit volume of the solution. If there is a semipermeable membrane (a membrane that can pass water, but not electrolytes) separating two compartments that contain a water solution, there will be water molecules diffusing in both directions, but the rate of diffusion will be higher from the solution with lower concentration of electrolyte to the one with higher. Over time, the result will be to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane, and this will equalize the chemical potential of the water on each side.

    In the body, you can consider one of the solutions as being the blood, the other as being the urine, and the membrane as being the glomerulus, which is in the kidneys. It's more complicated than this, because the kidneys don't just function by diffusion, but do some active pumping. Nevertheless, the idea is that if the concentration of electrolytes is higher in the blood, it will cause the diffusion of water into the urine to be slower.

    This is really just a temporary measure, and what is needed for a permanent fix is to get the hypothalamus/pituitary to put out more antidiuretic hormone. This signals the kidneys to do some active pumping to keep enough water in the blood. If this is not done, too much water goes out in the urine, and the person is constantly thirsty and can never catch up. It's like "their bucket has a hole in it." The thing to do is to fix the hole, not just keep adding water.

    Vanguard, it's true that ADH plays a dual role. It is also called vasopressin, and it does affect constriction of blood vessels. But lack of it most certainly does cause low blood volume. I encountered one case in which the person was urinating over 7 liters per day. In ME/CFS, it is usually quite a bit less than this, but still significantly more than the average normal value of 1.5 liters per day. When water is being lost too fast to the urine, the person just can't keep up with it by drinking, and the total blood volume goes down. ADH has been measured and found to be low in ME/CFS patients. Total blood volume measurements have been made (using either a dye method or a radioisotope method) and found to be low. The late Dr. David Streeten worked on this.

    Fixing the heart will not change the total blood volume, but it will increase the cardiac output (liters of blood per minute pumped out by the heart). Perhaps this is what Dr. Lerner was referring to.

    In my view, the low cardiac output observed in ME/CFS by Peckerman and by Cheney is due partly to low total blood volume (and hence low venous return to the heart) and partly to diastolic dysfunction, which is caused by low ATP production in the mitochondria of the heart muscle cells, due to the vicious circle mechanism described by the GD-MCB hypothesis. If there is a viral infection in the heart, which Dr. Lerner treats, that would also contribute to lowering the cardiac output.

    Best regards,

    Rich
    ahimsa likes this.
  8. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Thanks Rich. You are so good at explaining things in layman's terms. I don't have a scientific brain but your posts are very helpful in helping me to get a faint grasp of the science which is enough for me, thank you
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    thanks for the info ...

    fwiw ...

    I'm a little leary of the DI diagnosis in PWCs. We're prone to infections and known for not having the right bacteria .. And the loss of the bacteria o.forminges is KNOWN in those with kidney stones. My frequent urination subsided by using AZO w probiotics for a couple of months. UTIs were constant when I first got sick with ME/CFS and come back easily.

    And my recent urine tests just showed that I have chronic dehydration despite salt loading and 10 glasses of water daily. I was actually getting a Saline IV with the Meyer's cocktail and glutathione push weekly when this showed up.

    What was interesting about these IVs is that when they were started, my veins hurt too badly to go quickly. It took 4 hours to get the full IV in me the first time. But within 3 - 4 times my veins were healed enough to go faster. And by the last time, it only took 45 minutes and no pain ... : ) ...

    I wonder what was happening to my veins to make them that painful .. maybe too much salt ? heck if I know tho.


    Oops forgot to say that howstuffworks has some great info on electrolytes. This articles leads to one on kidneys too. I.m a long way from understanding all this tho.
    tc ... x

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