Did you know that your body is 70% water?

Even more incredible – your body is a highly complex bio-electrical water machine, so no wonder hydration is vital to staying healthy!  We require one litre of water for every 25-30kg of body weight to cleanse the body, and make many chemical reactions happen. Not enough water can have significant consequences on our health, including rationing, where certain functions start to be cut back.

You are not sick, you are thirsty.

Dr F Batmanghelidj

According to Dr F Batmanghelidj, author of the bestselling book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, chronic pain should first and foremost be interpreted as a sign of chronic water shortage in the body.

Here are some more facts to get you reaching for another glass of water:

  • The brain weighs 2% of total body weight, but receives 15-20% of the blood supply (mostly water). A lack of water (just a 1 or 2% reduction) can reduce cognitive ability, like basic maths, and even lead to depression.
  • 75% of the weight of the upper body is supported by a water core contained in L5 disc (lumbar spine). The remaining 25% is supported by muscle fibres around the spine. If you, like millions of other people, have suffered from lower back pain at some point in your life, then dehydration may well have contributed.
  • A 25-year-old alive today will have a shorter life expectancy than 40 years ago, due to degeneration from toxicity which can lead to chronic dehydration.
  • It is extremely difficult to take in too much water. If we drink too much, our body simply adjusts by increasing the amount of liquid we urinate.

Do you drink enough water? 

How do you know if you are adequately hydrated?
Let’s start with a bit of human biology:

Our organs (liver, heart, lungs, kidney, stomach and spleen etc) are constantly working, especially during the day, and in the process create a great deal of heat that must somehow be removed from the body, or we would just burn up!  Heat is expired in breath from our lungs (water vapour) but is also removed via the blood in water molecules through our skin when we sweat.  As blood circulates round our body, not only does it deliver the water molecules needed for all the basic functions/chemical reactions in the body, it also carries heat away via the sweat glands and lungs.

As the blood delivers all that water, it must also replenish it.

The body’s main water tank is in the bowels (large intestine and colon) and if the water level here drops (because you have not had enough to drink), then the blood volume in the body will drop and the blood will thicken. This means inadequate blood supply throughout the body and in particular to the brain. The brain must be fed with sufficient oxygen and glucose – if too little oxygen reaches the brain you will start to feel tired and drowsy.

What do we do when we’re tired?  Yawn! 

Rather than just an indication of tiredness, this is really a clever reflex action designed to enrich oxygen supply to the brain.  Yawning then is an indication of dehydration and not just tiredness – a sign that the brain is not getting enough oxygen…

To counteract that feeling of lethargy, especially mid-morning and mid-afternoon, most people reach for a coffee, a sugary snack or soft drink, but in truth we are simply dehydrated. Moving your body even a short distance to get that coffee or snack will temporarily make you feel more alert, with an increase in blood pressure boosting oxygen levels to the brain. This may be short lived however, as the effects of the caffeine/ sugar start to drop again, and you feel even more tired.

This time yawning is no longer enough to supply the body with the extra oxygen the brain needs, and the body’s reflex response will be to slow down your metabolic rate (reducing heat production) to the point of falling asleep. When you are in a horizontal position, that crucial flow of blood will get more oxygen back up to the brain… but, few us ever manage an afternoon sleep and so there is the potential for more serious consequences (eg falling asleep at the wheel whilst driving), as we go about our day dehydrated and more tired than we need to be.

It is crucial then that we replenish our water levels throughout the day.

In Part 2 of this article, I will talk about some specific symptoms that can be linked to dehydration, how toxins must be flushed out and a summary of 10 reasons to drink more water!


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