When life gives you lemons, make lemon water

lemon water

Have you ever thought about a ‘life hack’ for your body to perform at its peak during stressful times? What is your technique for getting the edge? When life gives you lemons, make lemon water! I’ve spoken to entrepreneurs who need to maximize their performance and I was surprised to observe they frequently drink lemon water to boost their mood and feel energized. After a quick Google search, there were several hits commonly under the names of ‘detox’, ‘energized’ and ‘morning rituals.’ I am a big fan of the tangy and sharp taste of lemon, but I have learned in college to think critically and evaluate the research studies myself. So I began to dig a little bit deeper!

Several friends who have claimed to have ‘hacked’ their body for peak performance had spoken volumes of the healthy benefits of incorporating lemon water as a morning ritual. When I was first introduced to this habit, my gut feeling was that the tangy taste is due to the acidic feature, and therefore it may have detrimental effects on teeth and possibly causes erosion of the enamel. So I began to look into the literature to see if consumption of lemon water as part of my morning rituals would make me a hypocritical pre-dental student. The health benefits included, but were not limited to, improved digestion and nervous systems and decreased anxiety. However, the effects associated with anxiety have been slightly controversial.

Those who are more conscious of their healthy diet may have read a recently published diet book by Dave Asprey. His view on this ritual is consistent with the current literature. In his book, The Bulletproof Diet: Lose Up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life diet, he claims to have meticulously researched every fruit, vegetable and supplement. He introduced the ketogenic diet, which increases the metabolism by burning fat as fuel. It is claimed in the book that several endurance athletes use this diet for peak performance. While I assumed the acidic feature of lemon would interfere with the diet, I was surprised to read that lemon may induce alkalinity inside the body. In fact, Asprey claims that Ketogenic diet followers are advised to drink water lemon to balance their body pH.

He categorizes food on a spectrum into three different groups: bulletproof, suspect and toxic. Asprey claims that lemon is free of toxins and contains antioxidants and, therefore, is a bulletproof fruit. After learning a lot about the benefits of drinking lemon water, I fortunately (or unfortunately) did not stop my research on a positive note. In a study by Zimmer, Kirchner, Bizhang, Benedix from June 2 2015, it was shown that: “Sprite, apple juice, and orange juice are about five times more erosive than Coca-Cola light.”  To my surprise, it was also demonstrated that “Coca-Cola light showed the least erosivity, whereas lemon juice showed statistically significant higher erosivity than all other drinks except Sprite and apple juice”. Also, another study by Bergamini, Bernardi, Sufredini, Ciaramicoli, Kodma, Kabadayan and Saraceni in January 2014 showed that erositivity induces anxiety and corticosterone in rats. In this study, an animal model was used to test their hypothesis. Another study by Russel and Guo et al. found a positive correlation between hypersensitivity and increased anxiety in animals and humans. This finding is in contrary to my initials findings through the Google search.

Should you be eliminating the habit from your morning rituals? No, but you can be conscious of the effects on your teeth and use a straw to minimize the detrimental effect while benefiting from all the other positive effects of lemon water.

~Arvin Khamseh, predental

This is a bonus Wellness Wednesday post–two for the month of July! If you haven’t committed to your personal wellness while in dental school, now’s the time. Read all the Wellness Wednesday posts on Mouthing Off here. Visit ASDAnet.org for wellness resources and a list of counseling services available at each dental school. Your wellness is paramount to your future as a dentist. If you have an idea to share for a future Wellness Wednesday post, e-mail Editor@ASDAnet.org.

Arvin Khamseh

Arvin Khamseh is optimistic about providing his future patients with resources so they can contribute to making the world a more generous place. He watches all the YouTube videos related to local and international oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) events. One of his career aspirations is to attend OMS events, socialize with the members, and pick their brains.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Is it better to have cucumbers with the lemons to counter effect the acidity?

    1. Absolutely! the cucumber also anti-inflammatory properties.

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