Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
The Importance of Water
By Elizabeth Axe
60% of the adult human body consists of water. It is essential for life. Blood, being the transporter of all nutrients throughout the body consists of a little less than 80% water.
Our bodies lose water all the time through urine, sweat and respiration. Therefore replacing it regularly is important.
However in the case of chronic dehydration, where the liquid we drink and the foods we eat act as diuretics, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking and overly salty food being the main culprits, more water is expelled than absorbed.
How to test to see if you are dehydrated.
You can check very easily to see if you are hydrated or not. Hold one hand at chest height, palm down. Take the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and lightly squeeze the skin covering the bone of the hand at chest level then let it go. If you are fully hydrated it will snap back into place, if not it will take time. The longer it takes to go back to smooth the more dehydrated you are.
This test works because when we become dehydrated our amazing intelligent body adjusts accordingly taking water from cells that are less important to life to provide for those that are. The most important being the brain and the heart, the least important being the skin. Little sips of water are taken from skin cells throughout the body, transported by blood to where it is needed. In the best case scenario this water will be replaced as soon as possible and balance will be restored. Over time this deficit means that the body can no longer take anymore from the skin cells because they only have just enough to maintain their purpose. The skin becomes dry and wrinkles begin to appear. No amount of face creme and serums will replace the water in those cells.
The next line of defense is the connective tissue. Connective tissue covers every surface of every organ, muscle and bone in the body. Its’ purpose is to connect everything in your body to everything else. It also provides an incredibly strong stretchy sack that allows all your muscles to slide over each other without friction. It also allows our skin to stretch. When we become dehydrated and the body can no longer sip from the skin cells it takes from the connective tissue which results in our bodies becoming stiff and sore as the muscles catch on each other as they move.
If chronic dehydration continues as we age the water is pulled from bursa, the sacks of water found at all joints. These sacks are there to protect the cartilage at the ends of the bones from wearing out through friction. When the bursa no longer have enough fluid people get arthritis from bone grinding on bone.
The stomach needs water to prevent the hydrochloric acid, our digestive juices, from attacking the stomach wall. The stomach wall is coated with a mucous membrane within which there is a lattice of bicarbonate soda. The bicarbonate soda neutralizes the acid but eventually the chemical reaction that occurs depletes the strength of the bicarbonate soda eventually making it ineffective. When this happens the digestive juices can eat their way to the stomach lining. However when we are hydrated, water going into the stomach is absorbed into the mucous membrane back washing it and replenishing the bicarbonate soda.
The weakest part of the stomach in terms of digestion is the top sphincter that connects your mouth to your stomach. When you are dehydrated that muscle is no longer able to tighten properly allowing stomach acid to flow up into your esophagus. Three glasses of water one after another will alleviate heartburn better than any antacid which will interfere with your stomachs digestive processes. One glass will seem to make it worse! Keep drinking.
People who are chronically dehydrated experience a very gradual loss of vitality, so gradual they may not notice for quite a while. When water enters into a cell carrying nutrients there is an electrochemical reaction that produces a tiny packet of electricity called ATP. This is how the body maintains its’ energy levels. If you do not have enough water circulating the number of electrochemical reactions is limited and so your vital energy also becomes depleted.
Blood, Heart and Liver
Insufficient water allows the blood to become thick which means the heart has to work extra hard to pump the blood around the body. At the same time the blood vessels which are made of muscle tissue lose their elasticity and begin to deteriorate. Small cracks begin to appear so the the innate intelligence of the body sends the repair team to patch them up. What are they patched with? Cholesterol. High levels of blood cholesterol are an indication of serious chronic dehydration.
One of the livers roles is to clean the blood, When the blood is too concentrated there is insufficient water in it to allow all the nutrients to enter all the cells. So excess nutrients from food and supplements return to the liver where they are stored. These nutrients accumulate until they reach toxic levels so the liver wraps them up in fat to protect the rest of the body. This causes what is known as non alcoholic fatty liver.
So how much water should you drink?
That depends on your size. If you have a small body and the body is cool and sedentary you may only need 4 pints a day. If your body is large and hot and you are physically active you may need more than a gallon a day.
If you drink alcohol, coffee, black or herbal teas you need to also drink additional water to counteract their diuretic effects.
The best way to tell is by doing the simple test above. Your urine should be a very pale lemon color. If it is darker you need more water if it is clear you need less as you are making your kidneys work overtime.
Your body is dynamic it changes all the time in response to its’ environment. If you wait until you are thirsty your body is screaming at you for water.
The bottom line is all the expensive supplements and good quality food is of limited use if the body does not have the water to transport the nutrients into the cells.
Elizabeth Axe has practiced body work for many years. She has learned a lot of modalities in an effort to find a solution to her chronic pain caused by a relatively small accident. After 30 years she became aware of being chronically dehydrated and found that her pain was her bodies scream for water.
If you would like to find out more please read:
The Body’s Many Cries For Water by F. Batmanghelidj, MD