Water is a vital component of life, second only to oxygen.
The human body is made up mainly of water. Calculations show that we should contain 65 percent of water at a minimum. This goes up to 85 percent in the case of certain organs like the brain.
While everybody knows that we need water to live, the exact reasons why it is so vital to health are rarely explained. This absence of information results in water being neglected as an important health factor.
Most people believe dehydration is what happens when one runs out of water while walking through the desert. They drink coffee, tea, soft drinks, or other beverages and think they take in enough liquids during the day. However, most of these increase water losses because they are diuretic and cause perspiration. Alcohol and tobacco consumption, for example, further increase loss of water.
During summertime and in hot countries where one is either exposed to high temperatures or lives in air-conditioned spaces, dehydration can occur very quickly and without one being aware of it.
According to studies, two out of three people are partially dehydrated. Even light dehydration of no more than two percent of total body weight disturbs physiological functions and decreases the body’s efficiency. Metabolism and energy levels are directly affected, and this extends even further to mood and mental alertness.
Here are six reasons to avoid being dehydrated in your day-to-day:
1. Fatigue And Lack Of Energy
Dehydration is the most common reason for chronic fatigue, noted Fereydoon Batmanghelidj M.D. in his book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water. It is the primary reason why metabolism fails to operate efficiently. Tissue dehydration causes a reduction in enzyme activity (enzymes increase the speed at which chemical reactions within the organism take place) and can slow down the energy production processes by a factor of up to 40 percent within one hour from the time it sets in.
On the psychological side, dehydration manifests itself by a severe lack of interest in daily activities.
Water distribution within the body is prioritized. Whenever dehydration is chronic, the intestine absorbs as many liquids as possible, resulting in concentrated, hard feces. This makes excretion of fecal matter difficult and a natural process can turn into a serious annoyance.
3. Excess Weight And Obesity
Dehydration is a key factor in obesity. Excess weight comes from eating more than the body can use or burn. But where does the tendency to eat more than necessary come from? There are many answers to this question. A lesser known one is thirst.
There are two ways to satisfy thirst:
- One is to drink liquids
- The other is to eat foods with a high water content
The second option provides the body with the liquids it needs but unfortunately it also contains unnecessary calories that contribute to weight gain. More often than we realize, we try to quench thirst by eating instead of drinking water. Whatever food eaten when not hungry but thirsty adds unnecessary calories. Even foods that are considered healthy by most, like fruits, while they contain a high percentage of water, they can also be high in fructose.
Cholesterol is one of the most vital compounds used by the body. However, its presence in the blood in high quantities can be an indicator (not the cause) of inflammation and increased cardiovascular risk in some cases.
A third of the cholesterol comes from food, while the remaining two-thirds is produced by the body itself. Hypercholesterolemia (the medical term for high cholesterol levels) can be traced to either external causes (food) or internal ones (overproduction).
One of the functions of cholesterol lies in the building of cell membranes. Dehydration is responsible for the draining of liquids from inside the cells. The body responds by increasing cholesterol production to stop the loss. When this happens, increased cholesterol levels show that the cells are functioning under non-optimum conditions, and it is thus possible to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood through the intake of liquids with no other change in the diet whatsoever.
Dehydration can increase the repercussions of cancer through a variety of mechanisms.
- increases oxidation (how fast damage to cells accumulates)
- increases acidosis (increased acidity in the organism)
- lowers the amount of available oxygen
- decreases the ability of the body to detoxify itself from chemical toxins and radiation
- has an adverse effect on the function of the intestine and its flora
- can cause damage to DNA
A mere five glasses of water a day decreases the risk of colon cancer and bladder cancer by 45 percent and 50 percent respectively.
6. Premature Aging
The aging process involves the gradual reduction of intracellular and extracellular liquids, such as liquids found inside and outside cells. A newborn baby’s body consists of 85 percent water. This percentage gradually decreases to about 70 percent in an adult and continues to decline as we get older.
This loss of water contributes to the reduction in tissue volume and is characteristic of the ageing process. Dehydration intensifies and accelerates it, and chronic dehydration makes us grow old faster. And while we need more water as we grow older, the sensation of thirst is downregulated.
Other symptoms that may be caused by chronic dehydration:
- Urinary tract infection: Evidence shows that the urine of people who are dehydrated is more concentrated than the one of the those that are well hydrated. The increased amount of toxins concentrated urine contains damages the urinary system’s epithelium (inside lining), which increases the probability of microbial development.
- Dental health: Dehydration decreases the production of saliva and thus reduces the protection it offers to teeth. People who exercise a lot and sweat profusely should be especially careful.
- Cardiac disease: Studies show that dehydration increases the risk of heart attack and stroke due to increased blood viscosity.
- Dyspepsia: The secretion of peptic fluids in the stomach is lessened.
- Low or high blood pressure: When dehydrated, blood volume isn’t enough to fill all of the body’s arteries and blood vessels. This makes the body’s pressure regulating task problematic. The result is either high or low blood pressure.
Why Do We Suffer From Dehydration?
Chronic dehydration affects anyone who either doesn’t take in enough liquids or can’t retain them.
Most of the water in the body is found inside the cells. But in order for the body to keep the intracellular water, certain conditions must be met.
- Sufficient amounts of minerals and salts must be present.
- The cell must be able to produce enough energy to run the pumps that regulate the amount of intracellular water.
- Adequate amounts of amino acids and proteins must be present for the organism to build and maintain the mechanisms that control hydration.
- The organism must have at its disposal all of the micronutrients (vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids) necessary to keep up maintenance of the cells’ biochemical balance (homeostasis).
Drinking water while the above requirements aren’t met may worsen the dehydrated condition instead of improving it. Diuresis (the increase of urine production) causes the loss of vital minerals and micronutrients and makes water retention more difficult.
The intake of natural unrefined sea salt, containing over 80 minerals and other nutrients, helps substantially. Vegetable juices are an excellent source of high-value nutrients which can be absorbed immediately.
The intake of clean, good quality water in sufficient quantities, along with enough micronutrients to cover the organism’s needs, are the cornerstone of good health.
Dr. Dimitris Tsoukalas, MD is a medical doctor, researcher, educator, and author. He is the founder of Metabolomic Medicine, a complete health system that addresses the exact root causes of chronic and autoimmune diseases through the use of highly advanced cellular analysis such as Metabolomic Analysis and Telomeres Analysis. He is a bestselling author and his book “How To Live 150 years In Health” is translated in three languages English, Italian and Greek.
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