Water, Water, Everywhere…

Do you think about drinking water more in the summer to replace the water lost through perspiration?  While that is a good idea, the reality is that we should always be hydrating our bodies, even in the dead of winter.  Research has shown that 70-80% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

What’s the big deal?  We’ve all been told that we can survive for days without water, right?

The big deal is that our bodies are walking chemical reactions.  That is to say that inside our bodies, what makes us work, allows us to move, to think; that is all possible because of chemical reactions that occur throughout our body.  Water is a necessary ingredient in all those reactions.

Bottom-line, without water our bodies do not function so well.

Dehydration affects every function in our bodies.  It affects our muscles.  Without good hydration, we can experience muscle cramping and muscle fatigue.  Hydration impacts our brain.  Insufficient water in our brain can contribute to foggy memory, irritability, mental fatigue, and headaches.  Dehydration will slow your metabolism and increase your risk of kidney stones.

So, how much water should we drink? 
Eight, eight-ounce glasses a day, right?  That’s what we’ve all heard, but what about body size?  Wouldn’t a 250-pound person have more chemical reactions going on in their body than someone who weights 98 pounds?  The bigger we are, the greater the need.  In fact, the standard recommendation today is one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight.  If, in fact, you weight 128 pounds, then eight, eight-ounce glasses a day would be right for you. 

That said, there are a few caveats.  Obviously, if you are perspiring you need to drink more.  A good rule of thumb would be an extra eight-ounces for every 30-60 minutes of perspiration.  The other two considerations are coffee and alcohol.   Common knowledge among those who drink alcohol is that to avoid or minimize the effects of a hangover, drink water during and after you’ve had alcohol.  However, not-so-common knowledge regarding hydration is that coffee is a diuretic, which means that it causes water-loss.  So, not only should you NOT count coffee as part of your water consumption, but when drinking coffee, you should consider drinking more water to replace the water lost through the diuretic effects of the coffee.

With little or no water consumption, you will be able to go about your day.  You may not notice any difference at first, but sooner or later you will develop symptoms of dehydration.  For example, your typical hydration level may be at 75% of your need.  At this hydration level, you have accepted, and your body has accommodated to your usual or typical level of function, performance and symptoms.  When our water levels fall short of your typical 75% hydration level, symptoms worsen.  The point is, why not try to achieve 100% hydration levels on a regular basis so your body can perform and function at 100%?

For 21 days, try drinking half your body weight in ounces.  Yes, I know… at first, you will have to urinate a bit more than usual, it gets better.  Depending on your current hydration levels, after just a few days you could experience more energy, clearer thought, no headaches, and no more muscle cramping.  You may even notice that you’ve lost weight.

For Better Health, Naturally!

Peter A Holst, DC