Importance of Water: The Foundation to Health

glass of water

What’s behind the ‘drink 8 glasses of water a day message? We keep hearing this and while it sounds like it might be a good idea, do we understand why?

Facts About Water & Your Body

The body is made up 75% water. About 10 pints of that water is within your blood circulation. But think about how much you weigh, and the fact that 75% of your weight is water. Where is the rest of the water?

There are 2 other reservoirs of water within your body. One is within the cells that make up your body and the other is surrounding the cells (between the cells and the blood vessels, this is called lymph).

The lymph, which is mostly water, bathes the cells in liquid. It floats nutrients from the blood circulation into the cells. It works the other way too. Waste from the cells floats over into the blood circulation so it can be taken away and removed from the body.

Thirst is a Poor Indicator to Your Level of Hydration 

As we get older our thirst mechanism declines. For example, when we feel thirsty at age 40 our body is more dehydrated than it would have been at age 20 with the same level of thirst experienced. Also, the same level of thirst at age 60 means an even greater level of dehydration. The end of this spectrum is clearly seen in very old people in nursing homes. Very old people will say they are not thirsty despite not having had a drink all day. It’s easy for the very old to get severely dehydrated.

Our thirst mechanism starts to decline in our 20’s and other signals our bodies give us when it needs , e.g. hunger, are misinterpreted. The result is we don’t drink enough water.

Effects of Dehydration

If water is short there is a hierarchy mechanism at work in the body, with the brain sitting right at the top. For adequate water to get to the brain the blood circulatory system must have adequate volume. If water is not in abundance it will ‘borrow’ some from the lymph. The lymph in turn will ‘borrow’ some from the cells.

The result is dehydrated cells. Have you ever had a hangover? How well were you able to function in that state? Cells can’t function properly when they are dehydrated. If the lymph is running low on water it can’t function properly either It can’t take goodies to the cells and remove toxic waste products away from the cells efficiently.

What’s the result of all of this? Well lack of energy for one, but on a more serious side this can set the stage for all sorts of illness the longer it goes on.

While I was researching water I came across a patient comment about doctors. It mentioned that we rarely ask about fluid intake. “How true” I thought. This is no doubt due to the fact that we were not taught about the importance of water at medical school.

Thank you for reading. Please get yourself a glass of water and tell me what you thought of this.

Cheers

Uber Health to you 🙂

 

 

30 thoughts on “Importance of Water: The Foundation to Health”

  1. We all need to be reminded about the benefits of drinking enough good, clean water and I’m pleased you ask your patients which in turn reminds them.

  2. Hi Julie, I thought I’d been drinking enough water, but when I read your blog and find that age makes a difference to thirst level, I think I need to increase the amount which I will now do. I am 55 years old and I usually drink about 2 – 3 half liter bottles a day. I think I should now increase that to 4 – 5. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Hi Gerry – yes that level in increase will help I’m sure.
      Your body is at a good level of hydration when your urine is very pale yellow or even colourless – that’s the best guide to what you need.

  3. Lots of information in your article Dr Julie that never knew about….and explained in an easy way that a lay person can understand. How long would it take for the average person to get back up to a normal level of hydration?
    James

    1. Hi James
      That’s a great question. A couple of weeks ago I advised one of my patients to start drinking about 4 pints of water each day, that was about the right level for her size. When I caught up with her again she told me that she was expecting to be running to the loo all afternoon having drank the 4 pints within a short space of time, however she only managed one relatively small trip. She realised then just how dehydrated she was.
      I think most people can easily rehydrate within a day. Once your urine is very light yellow or colourless your are rehydrated.
      Depending what damage long term dehydration has caused it will take longer for that to correct it self.

      1. Thanks for that Dr Julie…..now that know 4 pints of water will do the job…just have to start drinking the stuff!!! as find water so bland will add some lemon and lime to make it more palatable…look forward to hearing more of your findings on your blog.
        James

  4. Hi Julie,
    Good reminder about water. No doubt in my mind that water first thing in the morning starts me off so much better than anything else. It’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself, so I tell patients just try it for a few weeks and evaluate. That should speak volumes.
    Regards,
    Peter

  5. Hi Julie and all the best with your blogging 🙂

    I love water and always drink my fair share of the beautiful and amazing liquid 🙂 My personal views of how much we should drink though is based on the individual. Some people don’t require as much as others for numerous reasons. If someone was going from drinking next to no water to copious amounts that could do more harm than good for that person as it is not just a matter of say topping up a car radiator system as the human body is far more complex than that.

    I would encourage those that feel the urge to take in more water to increase in small amounts not chugging it down as there have been some reports of death due to excessive water drinking. These reports are exceptions but highlight the need for balance as Goldylocks would say not too much or too little what we need is just right for us.

    People who have kidney problems and may have been issued with a water intake program should consult with their carers before making any changers, remember it is horses for courses 🙂

    Best wishes
    vtp

    1. Hi Vince, thanks for your comments.
      Thanks for pointing out the issue with people with kidney disorders – these people need to take any increases gently and would be better doing so with advice from their own Dr. When done under supervision water increases can help with kidney function, but it needs to be done with care.
      People in reasonable health without kidney function problems will have no problem having 8 glasses of water spaced out over the day. (glass = half a pint or about 250ml)
      Death by water in fortunately rare – it has happened in marathon runners mostly who have taken on vast quantities without balancing it with salts and electrolytes. The other group of people it happens to from time to time is people with psychiatric disorders who drink water compulsively.
      The levels I’m talking about in this blog won’t cause the average person any harm (quite the opposite) when started immediately. But some people may find that it’s a big increase for them and might prefer to increase gradually.

  6. Hi Julie, this has been a bit of a wake up call as I tell colleagues the importance of proper hydration but am not actually practicing this myself! Sitting here right now with my first drink of the day… a mug of coffee! I definitely drink way to much coffee.

    I know if I haven’t drank enough water because I wake up feeling hungover- dry mouth, headache, irritated- even though I didn’t have a drink the night before… it’s obviously dehydration! Thanks for the timely reminder!

    1. Hi Chris
      Good question but the answer would be too long for the this blog!
      For starters – my knee arthritis was caused by it. Getting better nicely now the dehydration has been corrected for some time.
      Somebody else commented on this blog that she feels irritated in the morning if she’s dehydrated – it affects your mood. People suffering depression have a lift in their mood when they correct their long term dehydration.
      I have several patients at work who have reduced and even stopped their blood pressure medication just by drinking more.
      I could go on, and on, and on.. But I won’t, not today anyway 🙂

      1. Thanks julie, i’m trying to wean myself off a 2litre a day pepsi max habit! No sugar but plenty of caffeine and aspartame i think. Hope the water works – am i right in thinking it’s 8 pints a day????

        1. Quite a habit you’ve got there Chris!
          Loads of caffiene – not good and definitely a good call to start reducing Chris.
          Aspartame is even worse, the more I learn about it the more shocked I am that it ever passed as fit for humans to consume, perhaps I’ll do a post about it.
          4 pints Chris 🙂

  7. Hi Julie.
    I have my first glass of water in my hand now. I think we all lead such busy lives that we forget the importance of such basic things our body requires. I’m going to make a conscious effort each day to follow this advice and encourage my family to do the same. Can I ask would juice (diluted) have the same effect?
    Looking forward to your next blog

    1. Hi Nikki
      Dilute juice not so good, but good question to ask.
      It’s either got sugar in, not good. Or if it’s sugar-free it’s likely to have aspartame – this is not good at all, it’s a nasty chemical and shouldn’t be deemed fit for human consumption (I will write about it soon). Squash tends to have all sorts of artificial chemicals – colourings, flavourings, E numbers, blah, blah. So your body has to work hard to deal with all of this rubbish so best avoided for the most part really.
      What you could do is squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice in, a bit of grated ginger is good too.

  8. Hallo Julie, 🙂
    My friend James Harley posted me the link to your blog.
    It isn’t difficult as you know to drink enough water. Some people will need more others less depending what they do and how their individual metabolism is…I had a friend once who used to drink 5-6 liter per day! He was/is perfectly healthy. He told me once that he was always like that. And I usually drink 3-4. 4 in the summer when I skate, cycle and/or go to the gym..I’ve found that with a lot of physical workout the amount can increase (but not always-except when I do spinning class…)
    What most people forget is that drinking enough water keeps people also looking younger for longer :-)-which might help to get it into the heads of kids to drink water (in particular young girls) as most drink only sugary unhealthy stuff that gives them everything from high blood pressure to diabetes, heart disease etc.Nice blog, I look forward to your next post 🙂
    Best wishes,
    Karin

    1. Hi Karin
      Good point about the age thing, being hydrated is fantastic for your complexion and does help to keep you looking younger. Good advice, not just for the young girls, but for the old girls too 🙂

  9. Hi Julie,
    I have posted you three links below about water as you are very interested into water and its natural healing powers..
    I haven’t done enough study on both subjects accept that I did Dr Masaru Emoto’s rice experiment myself with the same outcome as thousands of other people around the globe had.. Have. Going to have ;-)…
    Sadhguru says that water has memory which would explain the change of water crystals in Dr Emoto’s original experiments.
    He brought a vibration measuring machine back with him from a visit into the US. Using this machine he was able to transfer vibrational information onto microclustered water and created HADO water. He then treated 10,000 people with this water and cured many illnesses. But it was hard to be accepted that water has such powerful healing ability. So he came up with a solution to prove that which is in the link below (1 out of four videos he did on that subject):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqWzEd2fI_Y

    I do have to confess that I bring thoughts of gratitude towards water when I shower or when I open a new bottle of water.I have stopped drinking tab water after my bird vet had advised me not to give tab water to my birds as it can cause cause them to fall ill (I still use it for cooking etc). But as we are more resistant then birds I think it’s personal choice. But the cleaner water is the better it is, that’s for certain.
    Anyway, I as I said I bless my water and it tastes better. Both Sadhguru and Emoto say that we should give water positive thoughts before we drink it or before we give it to another person…

    Sadhguru on : ‘Water has memory’
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C1p4HUHlfE

    Dr Masaru Emoto; ‘water consciousness & intent’
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8

  10. I can’t believe what a difference that first pint of water in a morning makes! It’s feels like a real boost to get me going in the morning. And I’m finding I enjoy just one cuppa tea afterwards (to get my caffeine fix…) instead of the 4+ that I used to have, which I now realise I was drinking to try & rehydrate myself.
    Thanks for the advice! Glass of water in hand, I’m definitely feeling the benefits of it. 🙂

    1. Hi Anne-Marie
      Thanks so much for posting. Briliant stuff – you echo what so many of my patients say to me and this is just how I felt too when I first started doing this. Keep it up 🙂

  11. Hi Julie,
    there is a massive amount of information on my friend’s site. You will find various health articles from different authors. But they all highly reliable.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/GoogleSearchResults.html?q=benefits+of+water&cx=010579349100583850635%3Aw_kzwe9_yca&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=UTF-8&siteurl=www.naturalnews.com%2F&ref=&ss=4742j2009434j17&sa.x=56&sa.y=15

    Good luck with your site and I will check back in at the end of the year.
    Best wishes

    Karin

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