Water Meanderings - Part Two

Written By Dr. Philip Conklin on October 25, 2016

Water Meanderings PartTwo

Water consumption plays an important role for the digestion of solid foods in the gastrointestinal tract. The digestive system depends on a sufficient amount of water to assist with the breakdown of foods. The acids and enzymes that are secreted into and found in the stomach require water to break down food into a more homogenized fluid. Once the fluid is formed, it can be easily passed into the intestine for the next stage of digestion. An acidic stomach will respond to hydration, and therefore make it easier to digest foods and help prevent constipation.

Water consumption also insures better protection in the movement and gliding of joints. Between the joints in the body there is a lining of cartilage that exists. The lining of cartilage between the joints uses water in addition to other substances so that the joints can move easily with very little friction. Increase in Joint Friction = Joint Destruction Therefore it is important to drink enough water to supply the protection that is needed for healthier joints.

Daily water consumption can aid in protecting the gastrointestinal lining in your body, as well as various organs and tissues. It can also be very useful in protecting the spinal cord from shock and damage during traumatic events. Water helps to create most enzymatic and chemical reactions that occur in the human body. Because water moves so many elements – nutrients, hormones, oxygen, and antibodies, through the lymphatic system as well as the bloodstream, it is important to have proper intake amounts. Proteins and enzymes found in the body will function more efficiently in lower viscosity fluids, which is why it is important to balance with adequate amount of water.

Water consumption also helps metabolize fat. It is the liver's job to metabolize fat, and in order to do so it needs water. If there is not enough water consumed, the liver takes over the job of the kidneys and it becomes less efficient at metabolizing fats.

Water consumption keeps the body hydrated and when dehydration occurs it can have detrimental effect on the mind. When the body is dehydrated it has to work twice as hard to ration and distribute the amount of available water. Because the body has no reserve system it has to operate a distribution system for the amount of water that it has to work with. Symptoms of dehydration can include thirst, dry mouth, lethargy, mental confusion, hallucinations, headaches, disorientation, reduced skin elasticity, sunken eyes, fever, scanty dark urine, accumulation of urea, creatinine and sodium in the blood, Hemo-concentration (thickening of the blood) which can facilitate heart attack or stroke, shock, constipation, kidney and bladder infections and kidney stones as well as elevated hemoglobin/hematocrit readings. A 20 percent water loss usually spells death and thirst is not necessarily a good guide in insuring that we are drinking enough. We often need more water than we realize.

If you are not drinking enough water, your body will start to retain it. If you don't maintain your body's regular fluid balance you can damage every part of your body's physiological functions. Dehydration is not always easy to spot either. Most of the time we don't know when we are dehydrated, and we often only think that we are dehydrated when we perceive that we are thirsty. This is not an accurate indicator of how much water you need, so it is always important to drink more than merely limiting it to when you are thirsty.

Studies show that the majority of healthy people most often meet their daily needs of water intake. An indicator in determining how much water you should be drinking daily just follow these general guidelines: Take your bodyweight in pounds, and divide it by 2 then convert the result to ounces. Example: 200 pounds/2 = 100 Ounces of water intake daily which, in this example, is a little more than 3 quarts or 3 liters. The rule is the more you weigh, the more water you should be drinking. It is important to drink more water if you are exercising. When you exercise you will naturally perspire approximately twice the amount of water that you drink, therefore it is very important to maintain proper hydration. Water should also be taken warm. Warm water is absorbed more rapidly into the system than cold water. Another way of knowing if you are drinking the right amount of water is to check the color of your urine. The lighter the color the better.

We can all see that water consumption is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. Without water our body's organ systems could easily begin to shut down as it is needed for so many different organ, neurological and muscular functions in the body. We often get very busy throughout the day and forget to drink water so try to remain mindful throughout the day to stay hydrated. Drinking water on a regular basis can improve your health, sharpen you intellect, improve your energy and stamina levels and keep your body feeling great. Water is truly the "Elixir of Life and Champions!"