WITHOUT water, there would be no life on Planet Earth. The normal lean adult body is made up of about 70% water (50% intracellular; 15% interstitial; and 5% in the blood plasma) and only 30% solid mass. This is an amazing fact which many of us don’t realize.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day benefits us in more ways than one. Adequate water intake helps us look and feel better by maintaining our blood in perfect liquid form to carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells, regulating our body temperature, assisting our kidneys eliminate harmful wastes and elements, lubricating our joints, revitalizing our dull skin and keeping our weight in check, to list some of its numerous major functions.
Our daily normal physiologic fluid loss (without exercise, illness, etc.) is as follows: Infants (2-10 kg): 300-800cc; Child (10-40 kg): 840 -1500 cc; and Adult (60 kg): 1800-2100 cc. The minimum 8-glasses-a-day (250cc per glass) recommendation for an adult barely equals the daily fluid loss. On the average, therefore, the replacement should actually be about 10% more than the daily fluid loss.
Since the human thirst mechanism is not very reliable (most often thirst is mistaken by our brain for hunger), drinking at least 8 glasses a day is a good rule to follow, whether one feels thirsty or not. In most instances, dehydration has already taken place before the person feels thirsty. Don’t wait for dryness of the mouth, nasal passages, eyes, and any of those symptoms listed above before drinking water. It is best to pre-empt thirst.
If we don’t drink enough water, a host of problems, in varying proportional degrees, can occur, like fatigue, headaches, irritability, mental dullness, sagging skin, retention of toxic wastes in our body, weight gain, kidney stone formation and urinary tract infection. If dehydration is severe, shock and death could ensue.
The best fluid to satisfy our thirst is properly filtered water. Not cola drinks, coffee or alcoholic beverages, all of which cause us to urinate and further lose more fluids, not to mention their adverse side-effects on the heart, kidneys and liver. Nothing is better than the old-fashioned clean, fresh, sparkling water.
Beyond 8 glasses
There are many situations where the 8-glasses-a-day recommendation will not be enough. These include the following:
• Exercising: Where one loses a lot of fluids through breathing, perspiration and urination. The rule of thumb is to replace every pound lost with 2 glasses, or four glasses for every 1000 calories burned off.
• Dieting: Water suppresses the appetite (by filling the stomach and “fooling” the brain) and also speeds up body fat metabolism and water elimination through the urine, leading to weight loss.
• Traveling: The atmosphere on board airplanes is very dry, causing dehydration, hence more fluid intake is recommended. A glass of water for every hour of flight is the minimum replacement recommended.
• High altitudes: The very low humidity and the natural body adaptation (deeper, heavier and more frequent breathing) among mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, etc. lead to more body fluid losses, and require more than 8 glasses a day to replace.
• Pregnancy: the blood volume of a pregnant woman increases, so she needs more water to maintain the proper fluidity for blood to circulate normally and with ease. For an individualized advice, please discuss this with your obstetrician.
• Nursing: At least four more glasses of water a day, on top of the 8, is needed by nursing mothers to help ensure adequate milk supply.
• Illness: Any ailment, like infection or diarrhea, etc., speeds up body water depletion, and so added water intake is needed.
• Age: Older people, and infants and babies, are at a higher and easier risk of dehydration, from almost any cause, so they require more water intake than normal adults.
More on water
Here are some interesting and helpful information about water:
1. Seventy-five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. We don’t have statistics for the Philippines, but I suspect the incidence could be the same.
2. In 37%, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. This leads to overeating and weight gain. Drinking a tall of glass of water before each meal will help one lose weight.
3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%. Male potency and female lubrication are reduced by dehydration.
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters reported in a University of Washington study.
5. Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.
6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or a printed page.
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
A toxic beverage
Do you know soft drinks are unhealthy and increase the risk for metabolic syndrome?
1. In many parts of the United States the highway patrol carries two gallons of cola drinks in the truck to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of cola beverage and it will be gone in a few weeks.
3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of cola drink into the toilet bowl and let it sit for one hour, then flush clean. The phosphoric and citric acid in it removes stains from vitreous China.
4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in cola drink.
5. Pour a can of cola beverage over car battery terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in cola beverage to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
7. Empty a can of cola into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. This will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.
8. The active ingredient in colas is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
9. To carry cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the hazardous material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.
10. The cola soft drinks have been using it to clean engines of cars and trucks for decades!
Stay away from soft drinks; they are toxic. Clean filtered water is the healthiest drink.
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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.
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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Public Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Visit our websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com; Email: email@example.com.