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19 March 2007 @ 04:18 pm
It's a mystery  
How can tea be a diuretic make me thirstier as I drink it if it's mostly made of water?
Tags: ,
Current Mood: confusedboggled
Elanadomestinatrix on March 19th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
The same way that coffee and alcohol are.
The same way that lemon juice is acidic even though it's also mostly water (which of course is neutral),
The same way that a lye solution will burn even if it's diluted with water.
nplusmnplusm on March 19th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)

Wouldn't most liquids made mostly out of water, be diuretic?

Logically adding fluids to your body is going to increase the flow of urine....simply because you're providing more urine building blocks.

Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Now that I've looked up "diuretic" you're answer makes perfect sense.

This is what people always say to me when I say, "Tea makes me thirsty!" so I had always assumed diuretic was just a synonym for dehydrating.

It makes me thirsty before I have to pee, so despite the poor word choice, I continue to main that this is a thoroughly boggling mystery to me.
King Ratgkr on March 19th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
The sensation of thirst isn't 100% accurate as to whether your body in fact needs liquids.
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Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)
Astringent. I only knew this word in the reduce-mucus context until just now. Lemons are an excellent astringent and are my friends. I love being able to expand my understanding of the word; I had a more narrow definition.

I ALSO learned in Un Lun Dun yesterday that phlegm has a second meaning - it can also mean calm. So, if someone is phlegmatic, they're calm (rather than filled with snot).

It occurs to me I should verify that instead of taking a dark fantasy young adult book at its word about that... ;>
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Kburgunder on March 20th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Heh, I get to be an exception to that latter bit. I have some kind of hyper-crazy mucus production that I constantly battle, and I'd say I'm ... not so much... with the lethargic ;)
King Ratgkr on March 19th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
Do not question the Miéville!
Tracy Lauricellatmib on March 20th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC)

It does also mean calm. I belive the origin of the term stems from ancient Greco-Roman medicinal practice that divided the body into four substances or "humors".

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humorism

Interestingly enough these same categories have been applied in more modern medical practice as modern psychological theory:


I suspect the term phlegmatic as pertaining to being calm stems more directly from the psychological theory than the Greco-Roman medicinal one though. :)
Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)

Why on Earth not? If thirst isn't just an indicator for needing new liquid... what's it up to?

Biology = magic. Hmph.
King Ratgkr on March 19th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty certain it's a plot by biologists to take over the soda market.

My actual knowledge is very little. However, I've noticed a few things.

* Cold water quenches my thirst better than hot water.
* Sucking on mints makes me feel less thirsty.
* I'm less thirsty if I've brushed my teeth in the morning.

And a quick Google search on thirst got a causes of thirst not actually related to lack of fluids.

Oddly enough, it's something that's come to mind every cup of tea I've had in the last week or two.
Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
Gatorade makes me feel like I'm going to DIE of dehydration. Thirst quencher my lily white ass.

My tea is closer to me than my glass of water, and I have a headache probably caused by mild dehydration but I want the tea more than I want the water, which doesn't actually seem to be doing anything useful. But look at all of the water in it! wtf!
Kira Baranovakira_baranova on March 20th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
In fact, if you are thirsty, you are already behind the 8 ball so to speak. Meaning, that you are already somewhat dehydrated.
King Ratgkr on March 20th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
Until I see a study documenting it, I will take that with a grain of salt.
nplusmnplusm on March 19th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
Chemically speaking, caffiene is an alkaloid.

As an alkaloid, it will react quickly with acids to create soluable salts. This means, when the alkaloid hits your blood, it reacts with the uric acid, causing a salt precipitate. Excess of salts in your blood are dealt with via the kidney. The kidney takes the excess salt and pushes it out in the urine stream. The more salt it collects, the more it creates urine to expel the salts. The more urine it creates, the more water it takes from your body.
Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
That makes sense and reduces the sensation that this (biology, body function) is all Magic™. Thank you!
nplusmnplusm on March 19th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
Please note that I don't have any idea why tea makes you thirsty :). This is just why caffiene generally is dehydrating.

That said, I once heard that if you put salt on your tongue and stare at a bright light, you'll create an artificial need for thirst, as your body has been programmed to respond to brightness and salt as causes of dehydration. Never tried it, though...maybe this weekend...

Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
This sounds like something that should be done in a double blind experiment before drinking a copious amount of tequila, I'm thinking.
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Kburgunder on March 20th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
Ha! And shame on me for not realizing as I was contemplating my tea that I could not possibly have a more ideal friend to ask that you on this subject: not only do you have NDI but you're BRITISH! ;)
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Kburgunder on March 19th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
I need to look up tannins...
Kburgunder on March 20th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
From wikipedia:

The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is an example of a plant said to have a naturally high tannin content. When any type of tea leaf is steeped in hot water it brews a "tart" (astringent) flavor that is characteristic of tannins. This is due to the catechins and other flavonoids. Tea "tannins" are chemically distinct from other types of plant tannins such as tannic acid[2] and tea extracts have been reported to contain no tannin