Why Do You Need Water?
By Dr. Mercola
You can actually survive without food for months, but without water you'd die after a few days, so needless to say, water is absolutely essential to life.
Your body is made up mostly of water, which:
- Is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination
- Aids your circulation
- Helps control your body's temperature
- Lubricates and cushions your joints
- Keeps your skin healthy
- Helps remove toxins from your body
But do you need to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day?
That's the recommendation we've all been traditionally told. The article above is actually not offering proof that this recommendation is wrong, per se. It's simply a review of the available research on water's ability to improve your health when ingested in larger amounts, such as 8 glasses a day or more.
Its conclusion that increased water intake has no discernible health benefits might be a bit misleading, however.
For example, the research on water intake and reduction in migraine headaches showed that 15 patients with migraines, who were assigned to increase their water intake for two weeks, had 21 hours less migraines compared to the control group. However, the difference was not considered to be statistically significant. If you suffer from migraines, you might disagree...
Your Body Tells You How Much Water it Needs - Here's How
A few years ago I too began to question the general recommendation of eight glasses of water per day, which led to my refined recommendations on water intake.
Since your body is capable of telling you its needs, using thirst and the color of your urine as guides to how much water you should be drinking are good ways of ensuring your individual needs are met, day-by-day.
As long as you are not taking riboflavin (vitamin B2), which fluoresces and turns your urine bright yellow (it is also in most multi-vitamins), then your urine should be a very light-colored yellow. If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water.
When your body begins to lose from 1 percent to 2 percent of its total water, your thirst mechanism lets you know that it's time to drink some water. If you are healthy, then drinking whenever you feel thirsty should be an adequate guide of how much water you need. You can confirm whether you are drinking enough water by looking at the color of your urine, as mentioned above.
Of course, if it's hot, exceptionally dry outside or you are engaged in exercise or other vigorous activity, you will require more water than normal so be sure to stay well hydrated in these cases.
Additionally, as you get older your thirst mechanism works less efficiently so older adults will want to be sure to drink water regularly, and again make sure your urine is a light, pale color.
Keep in mind that quenching your thirst with substitutes such as sodas, coffee or sugary fruit juices is NOT the same as drinking pure water! Both coffee and soda are high in caffeine, which acts as a diuretic that will dehydrate you even further. And then of course you have the issue of sugar and HFCS - but I will not rant about that here.
Water is Water, Right?
Not so fast!
Even more important than how much water you should be drinking is what type of water you should drink.
The answer is clean spring water and water that has been filtered by reversed osmosis -- I do not recommend drinking either tap water or distilled water. Contrary to the traditional belief, it's also important to avoid fluoridated water.
Why should you avoid distilled water?
Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated, and the vapor condensed back to liquid water. Although it's a controversial stance, I am firmly convinced that regular and consistent use of distilled water is harmful to your health. If you want VISUAL proof, just take a look at these photographs!
Distilled water has the wrong ionization, pH, polarization and oxidation potentials, and if you drink it for too long it can drain your body of necessary minerals. This happens because distilled water is like a vacuum without any minerals, so it will actually leach beneficial minerals from your body to balance it out. While this might be beneficial for a short period during some sort of detoxification regimen, it's usually highly counter-productive in the long run.
Distilled water is also highly acidic. Most of us are far too acidic already and the last thing we need to be drinking is a fluid that will make us even more acidic.
Distilled water is usually touted as beneficial because of its lack of contaminants. However, many of the devices that distill water are made of metal, which will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back to the water and worsen your health.
Why You Should Avoid Bottled Water
Filtering your own water is important because you really want to avoid bottled water as much as possible.
Not only is bottled water a major strain on the environment, but a lot of bottled water is no cleaner than tap water. In fact, about 40 percent of bottled water IS regular tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.
The metal antimony (a silvery white metal of medium hardness) has been found in many commercially bottled water brands, for example. The amount of antimony leeching into the water you're drinking depends on the manufacturer, and can vary greatly. One study that looked at 63 brands of bottled water produced in Europe and Canada, found concentrations of antimony that were more than 100 times the typical level found in clean groundwater (2 parts per trillion).
It's also been found that the longer a bottle of water sits on a shelf -- in a grocery store or your refrigerator - the greater the dose of antimony present. The biggest offenders were packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. It is believed that the amount of antimony leeching from these PET bottles differs based on exposure to sunlight, higher temperatures, and varying pH levels.
Most municipal tap water -- though generally far from pure -- must actually adhere to stricter purity standards than the bottled water industry. In one study, a third of more than 100 bottled water brands tested for contaminants were found to contain chemicals like arsenic and carcinogenic compounds, at levels exceeding state or industry standards.
Additionally, fluoride (a highly toxic bone poison that should be avoided at all costs) is usually present in both tap water AND filtered bottled water.
Nalgene bottles should also be avoided as they can leach another unsafe chemical called BPA into your water. Glass bottles are best, but if you're traveling and can't use a glass bottle, the high-density polyethelene (HDPE) Nalgene bottles appear to be a safer choice, so far.
Most people are chronically dehydrated and they need more water, whether it be through pure water or via fresh fruits and vegetables. I've seen people feel exponentially better when they've increased their water intake. They've had more energy, arthritis pain decreased (significantly), back pain is decreased (or gone with my own personal experience) and digestion feels better.
The biggest benefit I see when people drink more water is that they spontaneously drink less, or no, soda!
I've said it before. I'll say it again. A talented data manipulator can make statistics say just about anything they want. Disraeli was right...There's lies, damned lies, and then, there is statistics.
Water is responsible for every function of your body and to limit your water intake is going to affect health.
Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D. is an amazing doctor that ended up doing decades of research on hydration, painful diseases and how water can cure the major body pains. His research started when he was a political prisoner and carried research forward as a result. The doctor's website is www.watercure.com and it is a very important read, especially when there is misinformation on water intake.
One of the books the doctor published is Water: RX for a Healthier Pain-Free Life and the ISBN # is 0-9629942-7-8 and here are some of his reasons your body needs water everyday.
- Without water, nothing lives.
- Comparative shortages of water kills some aspect of the body
- Water is the main source of energy.
- Water generates electrical and magnetic energy inside each and every cell in the body.
- Water is the bonding adhesive in the architectural design of the cell structure.
- Water greatly increases the efficiency of the immune system including against cancer.
- Water is responsible for the transport of all substances in the body.
- Water increases the rate of absorption of essential substances in food.
- Water increases the efficiency of the red blood cells in collecting oxygen in the lungs.
The above are a few of the comments from Dr. Batmanghelidj, his information is eye opening and qualified.
My background includes buildings and the human health related to the function of the building. Your body uses and loses 8-12 cups a day depending on the person. If you don't replenish that water, your body will be affected. The formula used for hydration is your weight divide by 2 in ounces every day. eg. Electrically charged water is what your body needs, not distilled or bottled water. They are dead water, try growing something with it.
I also just read a book from Dr. Bat this winter. Fascinating. I believe that water is alive and that it is very important to not wait for your 'thirst' indicator but to watch your output. In other words, if you have light, straw colored, clear, relatively odor free urine, then you probably are drinking enough.
Each person is different, and each person has different needs.
Personally, I drink local spring water that has a pH of 7.95, sodium free, with all the minerals still retained...I prefer to drink my water just slightly cooler than room temperature.
I completely agree. Water is the basis of our life and health. If you don't believe me, just ask NASA. The first thing they look for in searching for life on other planets is water. The Water Cure concept is very, very interesting and should be investigated further.
I think the real problem is not the people who drink 8 glasses of water per day. It is the 99.9% of the population who don't.