Many health experts agree that dehydration is one of the underlying causes of most illnesses. The human body is, on average, about 75% water.
Liver 90% Kidney 83% Spleen 76%
Brain 85% Heart 79% Intestine 75%
Cells 85% Lungs 79% Skin 72%
Blood 83% Muscle 76% Bone 35%
When there is insufficient water, every bodily function suffers and the body begins to ration water. Long-term water rationing leads to premature aging and disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 10 cups of water every day, simply by breathing, perspiring and eliminating waste. Dehydration results when we don’t replace all the water that is used by our body during the day. Chronic dehydration occurs when small amounts of water are not replaced day after day.
Researchers estimate that 50-75% of Canadians are chronically dehydrated without even knowing it. Symptoms of dehydration are often mistaken for illness. Thus, it is important to know the 12 common symptoms of dehydration:
1. Constipation. When dehydrated, the colon removes more water than normal in order to provide fluid for other critical parts of the body.
2. Fatigue. Water is the single source of energy in the human body. Fatigue is one of the earliest signs of dehydration.
3. Joint problems. Cartilage is mainly water. Dehydration weakens cartilage and delays repair.
4. Digestive disorders. Dehydration reduces the secretion of digestive juices and can also lead to acid reflux, ulcers and gastritis.
5. Asthma and allergies. A large amount of water evaporates during normal breathing. When dehydrated, the body attempts to reduce water loss by restricting airways.
6. High blood pressure. Blood is about 83% water. Dehydration causes blood to thicken, making it more difficult to pump throughout the body.
7. Cholesterol. Dehydration causes cellular water loss. The body produces more cholesterol in an attempt to stop cells from losing water.
8. Weight gain. Dehydration causes the body to store toxins in fat cells. The body will not release fat unless it is adequately hydrated to safely remove the toxins.
9. Skin disorders. The skin is the body’s largest organ of elimination. Dehydration prevents the movement of toxins through the skin and causes premature wrinkling.
10. Liver, kidney, bladder problems. Dehydration increases the concentration of toxins that these organs must eliminate on a daily basis. The accumulation of toxic waste can cause infection, inflammation and pain.
11. Lack of mental focus or concentration. The brain is about 95% water. Thus, dehydration can significantly impair brain and nerve cell function, including loss of memory and concentration.
12. Premature aging. Dehydration accelerates the visible effects of aging skin as well as the withering and wrinkling effect on the internal organs.
Most of us simply do not drink enough pure water to stay hydrated. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, if we wait until we are thirsty to drink water, we are already dehydrated. In addition, as we get older, our thirst mechanism gradually disappears.
So how much and what type of water should we drink? Experts unanimously agree that we should drink approximately half of our body weight in ounces of water daily.
Drinking water should be filtered of contaminants, such as heavy metals, dangerous chemicals and bacteria. Scientists have also discovered that the quality and structure of water is important for hydration.