By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
The average person’s body is composed of approximately 70% water. The body's water supply is responsible for and involved in nearly every biological process. Human beings can survive without food for thirty to forty days, but without water, we would not be able to live beyond three to five days!
Below are some interesting facts about the role of water in the human body and the health benefits of adequate water intake.
1. Regulation of body functions. Water is essential for respiration, digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination of waste products and toxins from the body. Water is also responsible for healthy circulation, and controlling body temperature through perspiration.
2. Signs of dehydration. If not enough water is consumed, toxins can build up in the body resulting in many negative side effects. The consequences of inadequate water intake/dehydration may include: muscle and joint pain, cramping, headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, inflammation, and poor functioning of many organs.
3. Helpful for weight loss. Water is a great fluid replacement for high calorie drinks such as alcohol and sodas/carbonated drinks. Drinking water before meals can also help kickstart metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant.
4. Support for the Musculoskeletal (MSK) system. Water brings vital nutrients to muscle tissue to support performance and decrease the risks of cramps and strains. Water also helps to protect our joints by providing lubrication and cushioning.
5. Better productivity at work. Your brain consists of 90% water. Therefore, proper hydration helps you think better, be more alert and focused, and feel more energized.
6. Look younger with healthier skin. Your skin is the largest organ in the body. Water helps to replenish skin tissues by improving circulation to skin cells, maintaining elasticity, and moisturizing from the inside out.
7. Feel healthier. Consuming plenty of water can help maintain proper immune functioning, and can prevent or improve symptoms of the common cold, flu, arthritis, kidney stones, constipation, and many other conditions.
How much water is enough? This is not an easy question to answer and can be dependent on many factors. A general rule of thumb to follow is to consume 0.5-
1 litre of water daily for
every 50 pounds
of body weight. Special consideration
for greater water consumption must be taken into account for those who are
engaged in vigorous activity or exercise, and during the warmer months when more
water is lost through perspiration.
Additional considerations must be taken into account for those who
consume caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and certain medications, as these
substances can act as diuretics and actually drain your body of water.
Looking at the color of your urine is an easy way to determine whether or not you are consuming enough water. As long as you are not taking riboflavin (vitamin B2), which fluoresces and turns your urine bright yellow (it is also in most multi-vitamins), then your urine should be a very light-coloured yellow. If it is a deep yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water.
Proper hydration is key for optimal functioning. For additional information on improving your health, visit our website at www.nhwc.ca.
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only. It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.