It is not difficult to find theories and advice on the benefits of drinking seawater in the networks and there are authentic defenders of this pseudo-therapy who highlight its qualities to lose weight or purify the body. But, In addition to the fact that it is not scientifically proven that this is the case, drinking untreated seawater can be dangerous to our health. And, the benefits of bathing in the sea are many, but something very different is drinking its water.
The trend of drinking small amounts of seawater for medicinal purposes is not new. In the 19th century, the French physician Rene Quinton came to market in many European countries ‘Plasma de Quinton’, a seawater concoction that claimed to have medicinal values. Dozens of studies carried out since the middle of the 20th century on this famous “seawater plasma” have ended up dismantling the myth of seawater as a remedy for diseases.
Today similar products are sold as a food supplement, but they must meet a series of filtering, purification and strict sanitary controls requirements, which leave the drink in simple salty water. with a certain percentage of iodine, as specified in the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN). And the same happens with bottled seawater that can be purchased in supermarkets or online.
4 reasons why it is not healthy to drink sea water
1.- High salt concentration
The salinity allowed in our body is 9, which represents the amount of salt in the fluids of our body. For every 1000 grams of fluid, 9 are salt and 991 are water. These fluids are considered isotonic, while sea water is hypertonic because it contains more salt than human blood and its salinity is 35.
The high concentration of salt in seawater causes the kidneys to start to filter and eliminate excess sodium through the urine when drinking it. That means that in the end we lose more water than we could have drunk with the risk of dehydration that that supposes. In addition, another reaction to drinking such highly saline water is that when it reaches the intestine, instead of being absorbed, it attracts the water from the cells of the intestinal epithelium, which can cause decomposition and diarrhea. By drinking only half a glass it is difficult for us to have a strong decomposition, but if we drink in greater quantity the danger of severe dehydration from diarrhea strong is much greater.
2.- Presence of pathogens
If the seawater is not purified, it is probably contaminated with any germ or bacteria that ends up causing a gastrointestinal problem. And more in coastal areas where there are fecal remains from urban discharges or from bathers themselves.
3.- Remains of cosmetic products
In addition to germs and bacteria, seawater is also often contaminated by multiple compounds such as the remains of creams and sunscreens. In this sense, there are different scientific investigations that have studied the increasing presence of these compounds in sea water and its consequences for marine ecosystems.
4.- Heavy metal concentrations
Finally, another reason not to ingest seawater is the numerous heavy metals it contains. Mercury, boron and even uranium are worth noting, as well as compounds such as nitrates or fluorides. According to the WHO, the maximum dose of boron that the human body tolerates in an intake is 1 milligram per liter, and in natural seawater and free of spillage there are 4 to 5 mg per liter. In this sense, and of course, one of the regulatory requirements for marketed seawater is that all these metals be removed.