Water is an essential nutrient (macro-nutrient). Water is essential for all energy production in the body. Water is also used for temperature regulation and waste elimination and is essential to cell processes. An inadequate supply of water can result in up to a 30% reduction of energy. Between 50% and 70% of the body weight is water. Insufficient water in the body results in a decrease of blood volume thereby reducing the overall oxygen transport ability of the blood to properly supply the muscles during exercise. Since blood is used to regulate body temperature, inadequate cooling of the body occurs. The heart rate increases as the cardiovascular system is stressed and overheating occurs leading to possible heat stroke or heat exhaustion. We can survive without other nutrients for several weeks. However, we can only survive without water for about one week. Water is used to emulsify solutions within the body and transport them to the various tissues including the transport of waste byproducts.

Thirst is not an accurate measure of the body's water requirement. Age and environment alter the thirst mechanism. Therefore, a quantitative schedule must be utilized to adequately hydrate the body. Two hours prior to exercising in a hot environment, the participant should consume 2-3 cups of water and another 1-2 cups about 15 minutes before exercising. During exercise, about 4 ounces of water should be consumed every 15 minutes to replace water lost through sweat and maintain blood volume. As a guide for each pound of body weight lost through sweating while exercising, drink two 8oz. glasses of water. A loss of only two-percent of body weight through sweating can bring on the onset of dehydration. Adults should drink about 2 1/2 quarts of water per day.

Early signs of dehydration include dizziness, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite. Advanced dehydration is manifested by rapid pulse, shortness of breath, deep yellow urine, blurred vision and hearing loss.

Cold water is absorbed into the body from the stomach faster than warm water. Recent studies suggest that drinks containing up to 10% sugar are almost as readily absorbed from the stomach. These sugary drinks have been shown to improve endurance in events lasting 2 to 3 hours. However, for fat burning purposes, consumption of sugary drinks will provide carbohydrate energy to the exercising muscles and possibly stave off fat metabolization for use as energy.

Therefore, if your intent is performance, then consume sports drinks. However, if the purpose of the exercise session is to burn fat, then drink water only. The glycogen stores in the muscles will run out in about 20 minutes and the body will be forced to metabolize stored fat for continued energy.

Consumption of salt in excess of recommended dietary requirements draws water out of the cells thereby impairing cellular function. Salt depletion may occur during endurance type exercises and when consuming water only. Salt tablets are not recommended because they draw water out of the body and into the stomach. In cold weather, urine production is increased therefore it is just as important to properly hydrate in cold weather environments as it is in hot weather.

Food and Fitness: water

Water is the most abundant chemical in the body, making up roughly 60 per cent of body weight. It is an essential nutrient although it provides no energy. It has excellent solvent properties enabling it to act as a transport medium for many chemicals. It is involved in many chemical reactions including digestion of food.

Evaporation of water as sweat is essential for cooling the body. However, failure to replace water losses results in dehydration. This can adversely affect physical performance even if relatively slight. Each 1 per cent loss of water results in a 2 per cent reduction in aerobic capacity. Water loss causes the heart rate to spiral upwards. A loss of 6 per cent of total body water is serious; and loss of more than 10 per cent can be fatal. The amount of water an individual drinks depends on water losses (see water replacement).

Hardness of water varies with geographical location. There is statistical evidence that heart disease is more common in areas with soft drinking water than in those with hard water. However, the link between type of water and heart disease is not proven.

The quality of drinking water varies. In most areas of the USA and the UK, tap water is safe, but in some areas it can become contaminated with bacteria, nitrates, or other pollutants. Some people drink bottled water because they are worried about pollutants, but others drink it because they prefer the taste, or believe that bottled water has health-giving properties. Ironically, bottled water is not always healthy. Some contain high levels of sodium and the same pollutants as tap water.

Think You're Drinking Enough Water?

By Leroy R. Perry, Jr.

If you're not, you could end up with excess body fat, poor muscle tone, digestive complications, muscle soreness -- even water-retention problems.

Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. A normal adult is 60 to 70 percent water. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days. Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink. In fact, many live in a dehydrated state.

Without water, we'd be poisoned to death by our own waste products. When the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water. If there isn't enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones. Water also is vital for chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism. It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. Water also lubricates our joints.

We even need water to breathe: our lungs must be moist to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. It is possible to lose a pint of liquid each day just exhaling.

So if you don't drink sufficient water, you can impair every aspect of your physiology. Dr. Howard Flaks, a bariatric (obesity) specialist in Beverly Hills, Calif, says, "By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention."

Water retention? If you're not drinking enough, your body may retain water to compensate. Paradoxically, fluid retention can sometimes be eliminated by drinking more water, not less.

"Proper water intake is a key to weight loss," says Dr. Donald Robertson, medical director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. "If people who are trying to lose weight don't drink enough water, the body can't metabolize the fat adequately. Retaining fluid also keeps weight up."

The minimum for a healthy person is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day," says Dr. Flaks. "You need more if you exercise a lot or live in a hot climate. And overweight people should drink in an extra glass for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight. Consult your own physician for their recommendations.

At the International Sports Medicine Institute, we have a formula for daily water intake: 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you're not active (that's ten eight-ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds), and 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day, at the same weight).

Your intake should be spread throughout the day and evening. You may wonder: If I drink this much, won't I constantly be running to the bathroom? Yes. But after a few weeks, your bladder tends to adjust and you urinate less frequently but in larger amounts.

And by consuming those eight to ten glasses of water throughout the day, you could be on your way to a healthier, leaner body.

Calculating Your Own Daily Water Requirements

By Dr. Thomas Stearns Lee

The human body is composed of 25% solids and 75% water. Brain tissue is said to consist of 85% water.

It has become a practice to regard a "dry mouth" as a signal of body water needs, which is further assumed to be well-regulated if the sensation of "dry mouth" is not present. A dry mouth is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration, however. Damage occurs to the body at a persistent lower level of hydration. Because of a gradually failing thirst sensation, the body becomes chronically and increasingly dehydrated.

Signals of dehydration can be any of the following symptoms:

*Heartburn, stomach ache
* Non-infectious recurring or chronic pain
* Low back pain
* Headache
* Mental irritation and depression
* Water retention ( ironic but true! )

Further problems often develop when the sensation of thirst urges an intake of water, and instead, soda pop, coffee, or alcohol-containing beverages are taken to quench the thirst. While these beverages contain water, they are actually dehydrating fluids. Not only do they eliminate the water contained in them, but they also cause you to lose further amounts of water from your body's reserves!

Daily Water Requirements: Drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces. Sedentary people: 50%; Active people: 75%

The Human Body and Water

Water is vital to your health. Every part of your body is made up of cells. Protoplasm, the basic material of living cells, is made of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, salts, and similar elements combined with water.

Water acts as a solvent, transporting, combining, and chemically breaking down these substances. In a normal case, minerals and micro elements pass through the cell membrane to the nucleus by electro-osmosis.

A cell exchanges elements with the rest of the body by electrolysis. The body needs electrolytes (salt minerals like sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate) for basic body functions.

If your body loses water, it loses the use of these minerals. Otto Warburg, winner of Nobel Prize, made an important discovery in 1933. He found that in the case of an abnormal or sick cell, the direction of the exchange reverses. The cell to empties and dies. So, we need to drink water in order to keep our cells hydrated, to keep our body’s electrochemical balance to stay alive...

The quality of our internal water also plays an important role in the process. If the water is too acidic or too alkaline, electrolysis cannot happen properly and we become sick.

The Practical he Health Benefits of Drinking Water

The benefit of drinking water in elimination of body wastes and toxins

Our organs are made of cells. The cells are made of and live in a water solution. Our blood also is mostly water and serves to dissolve, process and transport nutrients, and eliminate waste materials.

" In the case of dehydration, the blood becomes thick and saturated, not being able to flow properly. The excess of toxins must then be stored within the interstitial space surrounding the cells pending elimination for life to continue, and over time this space begins to resemble a toxic waste site - an acidic medium. Since the cells cannot have the proper oxygenation and nutrition they begin to change in form and function in order to survive.
The end stage of this process results in the cells not resembling normal cells at all, and they continue living by means of fermentation rather than the normal oxidative mechanisms. - This is when the oncologist will tell you that you have CANCER" – J.H. Tilden, Toxemia.

A major benefit of drinking water is maintaining the body Ph balance in order to prevent and cure disease...

Dr. Sang Whang, the author of the Reverse Aging book, says the aging process is basically the accumulation of acidic wastes built up within the body...

" This book is the first common sense scientific explanation of the aging process and ‘how to’ reverse it. The nutrients that we deliver to our cells burn with oxygen and become acidic wastes after giving energy to our body. The body tries its best to get rid of these acidic wastes through urine and perspiration. Unfortunately, our lifestyle, diet and environment prevent our body to get rid of all the wastes that it generates. Gradually, these leftover acidic wastes accumulate somewhere within our body. Since acid coagulates blood, the blood circulation near the waste areas becomes poor, causing all kinds of degenerative diseases to develop..."

The benefit of drinking water in lubricating internal organs and joints

Water keeps our organs and joints moist. This permits the passage of nutrients and wastes between the and blood vessels and the rest of the body.

" Rheumatoid Joint Pain - Arthritis - is a signal of water shortage in the painful joint. It can affect the young as well as the old. The use of painkillers does not cure the problem, but exposes the person to further damage from pain medications. Intake of water and small amounts of salt will cure this problem.

Low Back Pain and Ankylosing Arthritis of the Spine are signs of water shortage in the spinal column and discs -- the water cushions that support the weight of the body.

These conditions should be treated with increased water intake - not a commercial treatment, but a very effective one.

Not recognizing arthritis and low back pain as signs of dehydration in the joint cavities and treating them with pain-killers, manipulation, acupuncture, and eventually surgery will, in time, produce osteoarthritis when the cartilage cells in the joints have eventually all died. It will produce deformity of the spine. It will produce crippling deformities of the limbs. Pain medications have their own life-threatening complications." -- Dr F Batmanghelidj MD

The benefit of drinking water for skin health

Skin health is just the reflection of our internal health. Any dermatologist can tell what part of your body is affected just by looking at your skin.

Hydration and detoxification starts inside and continues to the outside.

So, keeping a beautiful healthy looking skin is a side benefit of drinking water.

The benefit of drinking water for eye health

Recently I had an eye examination. The doctor told me that our cornea is 80% water. Working long hours on the computer makes the eyes dry. Just closing the eyes for a few seconds every hour and blinking frequently allows liquid from the tear glands to moisturize and lubricate the cornea. He also recommended regular drinking of water for good eye health...

(I was happy to hear this... My optometrist is Dr. Charles Lu PhD in Vision Science-Halifax, Nova Scotia.)

The benefit of drinking water to lose weight

Water plays a key role in the metabolic breakdown of proteins and carbohydrates.

That's why neutralizing (burning) fat and assisting in weight loss is also an important benefit of drinking water.

The benefit of drinking water in reducing water retention

If your body has a tendency to retain fluids, it might seem logical to drink less water. However, the opposite is true. To lose the excess fluids, you may need to drink MORE water. Dehydration can cause the body to retain fluid that will be released as you drink more water. The goal is to keep lots of fluid flowing through your body. To do this, drink more water while reducing your intake of dietary sodium.

" Contrary to popular belief, drinking water can actually help you shed excess water weight. When water is in short supply, the body, thinking there's a shortage, begins hoarding it. This water is stored in cellular spaces, in order to keep them alive - as seen above. In other words, your skin starts looking soft and puffy... If water retention is a chronic problem, it may be because there's too much salt in the diet. The higher the sodium intake, the more the body tries to retain water (to dilute its concentration). Either reduce salt intake or drink more water."
-- University of Maine

The other benefits of drinking water

* Transport of oxygen to cells,
* Maintain muscle tone, and
* Regulate of body temperature.

What Causes of Dehydration?

The most common cause of dehydration is the failure to drink, but there are also other causes for the loss of water…

* Illnesses like pneumonia, a cold the flu, or diabetes insipidus.
* Eating too much protein. The kidneys excrete too much water. Urine output is responsible for the dehydration in this case.
* Sweating. Take care during hot and humid weather.

Should I Drink Water or other beverages?

Soda, diet soda, coffee, tea, or alcohol do not replace water, especially if the beverage is a diuretic. (Alcohol actually produces dehydration). If you don't like the taste of plain water, try putting lemon, lime or an orange slice in your glass.

" The consumption of soft drinks, like land-mine terrain, is riddled with hazards. We as practitioners and advocates of a healthy life-style recognize that consuming even as little as one or two sodas per day is undeniably connected to a myriad of pathologies." says Judith Valentine, PhD.

Dangers in Your Drinking Water

This common additive to your water supply, and ingredient in the toothpaste you and your children use may be contributing to the increased rates of hypothyroidism -- and other health concerns -- in the U.S. . . without improving dental health

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is an element from the halogen group, as are iodide and chloride. It is commonly added to the water supply as hydrofluosilicic acid, silicofluoride or sodium fluoride. Fluoride is also found as an additive in toothpastes and some mouthwashes, as a tooth decay preventive ingredient.

Why is Fluoride Used?

Fluoride is used to fight tooth decay in children. The key initial studies purporting to demonstrate its effectiveness as an anti-cavity fighting compound were performed back in the 1940s. Those studies, conducted in Grand Rapids, MI in 1945, in Newburgh, NY in 1945, in Brantford, Ontario in 1945, and in Evanston, IL in 1947, are now being called into question. According to Dr. Philip Sutton, author of "The Greatest Fraud: Fluoridation" *A Factual Book, Lorne, Australia, 1996), these studies are actually of dubious scientific quality.

More recently, other studies attempting to document the effectiveness of fluoride have been conducted. Dr. John Yiamouyiannis examined the raw data from a large study that was conducted by the National Institute for Dental Research (NIDR). He concluded that fluoride did not appear to have any decay preventing success, as there was little difference in the DMFT values (the mean number of decayed, missing or filled teeth) for approximately 40,000 children. It did not matter whether they grew up in fluoridated, non-fluoridated or partially fluoridated communities. (Yiamouyiannis, J.A. "Water Fluoridation and Tooth Decay: Results from the 1986-87 National Survey of U.S. Schoolchildren", Fluoride, 23, 55-67, 1990).

A larger study has been conducted in New Zealand. There, the New Zealand National Health Service plan examines the teeth of every child in key age groups, and have found that the teeth of children in non-fluoridated cities were slightly better than those in the fluoridated cities. (Colquhoun, J. "Child Dental Health Differences in New Zealand", Community Healthy Services, XI 85-90, 1987).

Although children's teeth have improved steadily from the 1930s to the 1990s, this improvement appears to be independent of the addition of fluoride to the water. A study has yet to be conducted that specifically addresses whether the addition of fluoride affects the quality of teeth, while controlling and accounting for other factors and other sources of fluoride.

Despite growing questions about the effectiveness of using fluoride to fight tooth decay - and increasing concerns of the safety of this practice -- over 60 percent of the United States' water supply is fluoridated. Most of those cities are in the eastern part of the U.S.

What are the Concerns Associated with the Addition of Fluoride to the Water Supply?

The most recognized problem with the ingestion of too much fluoride is dental fluorosis. This condition is characterized by the failure of tooth enamel to crystallize properly in permanent teeth. The effects range from chalky, opaque blotching of teeth to severe, rust-colored stains, surface pitting and tooth brittleness.

This condition, though worrisome, may not be the key concern , at least according to some researchers. Dr. Phyllis Mullenix believes, based on her research, that fluoride acts in a way that lowers the I.Q. of children ("Neurotoxicity of Sodium Fluoride in Rats", Mullenix, P. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 17 (2), 1995).

Dr. William Marcus, believes that a study conducted by Battelle for the National Toxicology Program on the toxicology of fluoride shows that there were dose-related increases in bone cancer in male rats. Dr. Marcus also questions the removal by peer reviewers of cancers at other sites in the rats as well. Especially worrisome to Dr. Marcus is the fact that that levels of fluoride that caused the cancers in the rats were lower than those seen in humans who ingested lower amounts, but for a longer period. These levels are generated because fluoride is accumulated in the body and is not secreted.

Dr. Marcus was formerly the chief toxicologist for the EPA's Office of Drinking Water, but was fired in 1991 after insisting that an unbiased evaluation of fluoride's cancer potential be conducted. Marcus fought his dismissal, and was able to be reinstated after demonstrating in court that it was politically motivated.

An article in the Irish Times of Dublin on August 16, 1999, reports that Dr. Hans Moolenburgh's research in Holland found that up to 4 percent of people using fluoridated water experienced health problems. These problems ranged from gastrointestinal disorders to mouth sores to rashes to headaches to forms of arthritis to more serious concerns such as cancers and neurological complaints.

Studies dating back to the 1950s have shown links between Down's Syndrome and natural fluoridation. Ionel Rapaport also showed how the age of women bearing Down's Syndrome children decreased in direct relation to the increase of fluoride in the water supply. The more fluoride that was in the water, the younger the age of the women bearing Down's Syndrome children.

Even those who aren't convinced of the toxicity of fluoride should be concerned about the level of fluoride added to the water supply. The optimum level was set in the 1940s at approximately 1 ppm (equal to 1 mg/l). This was based on assumptions that the total intake of fluoride would be 1 mg/day, assuming 4 glasses of water were drunk per day. However, current intake of fluoride comes not just from the water supply. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa and reported in the November issue of the Journal of American Dental Association found that 71% of more than 300 soft drinks contained 0.60 ppm fluoride. Toothpaste, beverages, processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamins and mineral supplements all contribute to the intake of fluoride. It is now estimated that the total amount of fluoride ingested per day is 8 mg/day, eight times the optimum levels.

An additional and less well studied concern is the interaction of the fluoride compounds added to water with other water additives. Most studies examining the addition of fluoride to water have used sodium fluoride, however, most communities use the less expensive forms such as silicofluoride, hydrofluosilicic acid or sodium silicofluoride. A 1999 study of 280,000 Massachusetts children shows that levels of lead in blood were significantly higher in communities using these cheaper compounds than in towns where sodium fluoride was used or where the water was not treated at all. ("Children's Health and the Environment", 17th International Neurotoxicology Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas, October 17-20, 1999).

Aluminum compounds are frequently added to the water supply as clarifying agents. On its own, aluminum is not readily absorbed by the body, however, when fluoride is present, the two form aluminum-fluoride, which is easily absorbed. A long term study published in 1988 found that even low levels of aluminum-fluoride in drinking water delivered more aluminum to the brain than concentrated aluminum fluoride. The same study found that low levels of aluminum fluoride and sodium fluoride found in "optimally" fluoridated water cause severe kidney damage and lesions to the brain similar to those found in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Dr. Robert Isaacson, State University of New York, found that when aluminum fluoride is added to the food of rats, the rats developed short-term memory problems, smell sensory loss and other characteristics of Alzheimer's disease. (Isaacson, R. "Rat studies link brain cell damage with aluminum and fluoride in water" State Univ. of New York, Binghampton, NY, Wall Street Journal article by Marilyn Chase; Oct. 28, 1992, p. B-6).

What are the Thyroid-Specific Concerns?

Is fluoride in part the reason for near epidemic levels of hypothyroidism in the United States? Some experts and researchers believe this is the case.

Fluoride had been used for decades as an effective anti-thyroid medication to treat hyperthyroidism and was frequently used at levels below the current "optimal" intake of 1 mg/day. This is due to the ability of fluoride to mimic the action of thyrotropin (TSH). It makes sense, then that out of the over 150 symptoms and associations of hypothyroidism, almost all are also symptoms of fluoride poisoning.

Researcher and advocate Andreas Schuld has also found that excess of fluoride correlates with other thyroid-related issues such as iodine deficiency. Fluoride and iodine, both being members of the halogens group of atoms, have an antagonistic relationship. When there is excess of fluoride in the body it can interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. It is possible that iodine deficiency, which is the most common cause of brain damage and mental disability in the world, could be lessened by simply cutting back on the use of fluoride.

The Future of Fluoride

Some advocates believe that the truth about fluoride does not reach the public easily because fluoride, produced as a toxic waste byproduct of many types of heavy industry - such as aluminum, steel, fertilizer, glass, cement and other industries -- must be disposed of somewhere. If it's not used as an additive to water, manufacturers would have to pay millions of dollars to dispose of it properly, so the pressure to keep fluoride listed as a healthy additive to water-and not as an environmental toxin that requires costly disposal - is great and political pressures to keep fluoride in the drinking water is strong.

And the U.S. government has been one of the key supporters for fluoridation. Despite the questions regarding fluoride's effectiveness and safety, the administration's stated federal health objective is to increase the number of Americans with fluoridated tap water from previous levels of 62 percent to 75 percent in 2000.

Given half a century of support for fluoridation, it's also not likely that the American Dental Association will backtrack on its support for fluoridation.

Some cities are taking action, and making the decision to stop fluoridating their water supply - or not to fluoridate in the first place. For example, the City Council of Santa Barbara, California voted in late November of 1999 in favor of a resolution that "disagrees with and rejects the State's recommendation to fluoridate the city's public water system." With this action Santa Barbara joined the California cities of Santa Cruz, El Cajon, La Mesa, Escondido and Helix, Riverview, and Lakeside water districts that have each passed protective resolutions or ordinances in 1999. The cities of San Diego and Sunnyvale have ordinances prohibiting fluoridation that pre-date the State's law. The city officials of Santa Barbara indicated that adding a chemical to the water supply to medicate everyone was not the right approach and requested that the City's staff look into other programs to help children obtain fluoride for dental health.

The only admission that you're likely to see is the 1997 addition of warnings on toothpaste tubes, that now say: "Don’t Swallow—Use only a pea-sized amount for children under six." and "Children under six should be supervised while brushing with any toothpaste to prevent swallowing." In areas where the drinking water already contains fluoride, brushing more than once daily with more than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste can cause fluorosis, the discoloration and spotting of the teeth that affects an estimated 20% of children.

What Can You Do?

Besides learning more about the effects of fluoride and getting involved in your community's decisions regarding water fluoridation, you can buy an unfluoridated, natural toothpaste, such as Tom's of Maine, particularly for young children.

You can also pay attention to the water you drink, and use filtered or bottled waters. Some water filters can remove fluoride from the water, but carbon-based filters such as the Brita filter do not, so be sure to find the right type of filter for fluoride.

Many bottled waters contain no additional fluoride. You can find out the fluoride and other mineral content of your favorite bottled waters at Bottled Water Web's Bottlers listing. Evian, and Perrier, for example, contain no measurable fluoride, but Calistoga brand has 0.9 parts per million.

Share this with your friends