Water is essential to life. human beings can live without food for 30 to 40 days approximately 5 weeks but without water one would die in 3 to 5 days. The human body is composed of 65 to 70% water. How essential is water to our well-being is demonstrated by numerous medical of facts. For example, If the volume of the blood decreases in our body, our blood pressure drops and this leads to lack of blood flow to critical organs such as kidney and the brain. It is not uncommon for people who are severely dehydrated to go into kidney failure. Unless this is treated by rehydration, they can die from this. Also severe dehydration can cause low perfusion to the brain, and lack of blood flow to the brain can cause people to go into a coma. If the blood pressure is not sustained by enough volume in the circulatory system eventual death can occur, from lack of water which is one of the main contributor to the volume of blood. In addition, water helps maintain normal body temperature and is necessary for carrying waste materials out of the body. Because of this essential function replacing the water that is being lost through sweating, urination, bowel movements, and breathing is absolutely necessary. Without replacing this lost water we would not have the water that we need to function and maintain the essential chemical reactions that occur in the body.
How Does the Body Sense Thirst?
A drop in the water content causes a drop in the volume of blood and this drop in blood volume is sensed in the brain’s center of thirst which is located in the hypothalamus, in response the brain sends out a command for the body to consume more water by causing sensation of thirst. Also when we are dehydrated sodium concentration in our blood goes, up and that causes us to be thirsty. This mechanism is also at work when we eat something very salty, we would feel thirsty right afterwards. However many of us do not pay attention to our essential need to drink water we only drink enough water to barely satisfy our thirst, but do not take enough liquids to replace the water that is being lost through sweating, urination, bowel movements, and breathing. We meet our fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking fluids with meals. If we are outside in hot weather for most of the day or doing vigorous physical activity, we will need to make an effort to drink more fluids. How does water work in our bodies?
Water helps our bodies with the following:
· Helps lubricate our respiratory system so we can breathe properly
· Water is essential in carrying out Chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism
· Keeps body temperature normal- normal body temperature is required for the biochemical reaction in the body to take place optimally.
· Lubricates and cushions our joint, to prevent wear and tear.
· Cushions the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, from shock of jerkiy movements.
· Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
· Water is essential in maitaining optimum blood volume, this is needed to supply Nutrients, oxygen, and remove waste from all of the body tissues and cells
How to get the water we need?
Most of our water needs are met through the water and beverages we drink. We can get some fluid through the foods we eat. Examples of foods high in water content are: broth soups, celery, tomatoes, oranges, and melons. There are no definite agreements on the amount of water to drink. In general it is recommended that an adult with normal kidney function and heart function drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. One option is to try to keep the color of one’s urine light yellow. Urine color is very good indication of how well hydrated you are, as long as one is not taking any medication or foods that change the color of urine. In other posts we will be discussing the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
The Medical staff of our website endorses the water filters from Crystal Quest, which can be found in the link below:
In the coming posts we will be exploring in detail how to get the purest and most beneficial water. For now it is important to know that most tap and well water should be filtered. The major reason for filtering water is because the water, specifically tap water can be contaminated with many harmful inorganic chemicals and organic chemicals that the body cannot use. For complete list of these chemicals and what they do please refer to the EPA article listed in the sources. In summary, the unhealthy substances that can be found in water include radon, arsenic, lead, and heavy metals such as copper. Other substances that can contaminate our water supply include fertilizers, asbestos, herbicides, pesticides, cyanides, and many industrial chemicals that can leach into groundwater through the soil. Tap water may also get contaminated from plumbing pipes and that can be a source of copper or PVC chemicals. Water can also be contaminated with biological entities including disease causing viruses, parasites, and bacteria. Included in the long list of other contaminants are : phosphates, aluminum sulfate, lime, and chlorine and it's the derivitives. Recently, it has come to our attention that the public water supply may also be contaminated with prescription drugs which have been found in measurable amounts in tap water.
All the more reason to filter our water.
Examples of effects of contaminants in the water:
· Bromate which can be found in the water and it is linked to increased risk of cancer. Bromate is a byproduct of drinking water disinfection.
· Another example chlorine which is added as a disinfectant used to control microbes in city water, can cause stomach discomfort and eye, and respiratory tract irritation. According to a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Public health in 1992, chlorination and chlorination byproducts are associated with increased cancer risk. This meta-analysis found that chlorinated water is associated each year in America with about 42,000 cases of a bladder cancer and 65,000 cases of rectal cancer. It is estimated that chlorine can account for 9% of the Bladder cancer incidences and 18% of the rectal cancer incidences. one hypothesis of why this may happen is that the waste products such as urine and stool, containing concentrated form of ingested water, are stored in the bladder and the rectal area for prolonged period of time. Chlorine and its byproducts are known irritants, and irritation leads to inflammation, and inflammation is often the precursor to cancer. Hence given this association of chlorine and some minor and some serious ill health effects, it would be prudent to avoid or limit exposure to chlorine and its byproducts.
· Another toxin, arsenic can be found as a contaminant in the water it usually occurs due to erosion of natural deposits, runoff from orchards, run off from glass and electronic production, it is a waste byproduct of these processes. It can be linked with skin damage or problems with the circulatory system and may increase the risk of getting cancer.
· Copper can be found as a contaminant in the drinking water it comes from corrosion of household plumbing system and erosions of natural deposits. In the short term exposure to Copper can cause gastrointestinal distress. In the long-term exposure can cause damage to the kidneys are liver.
· Another potential contaminant if found in high doses above the recommended level is fluoride. It's usually a water additive which is thought to promote strong teeth. It can come from natural deposits and from discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories. If found in high concentration in the water it can cause bone disease, leading to pain and tenderness of the bones. And children may have mottling of teeth from high fluoride levels.
· Lead can be found as a contaminants in water it is usually found due to corrosion of household plumbing systems or a erosion of natural deposits. In the infants and children delays in physical or mental development can result from lead exposure. Children could present with slight deficit in attention span and learning abilities. In adults lead exposure can lead to kidney problems and high blood pressure.
For details of additional contaminants and what their potential side effects are on the human health, I would refer you to the EPA.gov article on contaminants in water cited in the link provided below.
As noted above, given the possible presenceof long list of harmful substances in our water supply, it becomes essential that we drink pure water that is life sustaining and not harmful. One of the best ways to obtain pure water is to filter the tap water. There are many options for filtering tap water and I will refer you to the links cited here to explore those options. It is my earnest recommendations as a medical physician, to filter your water so that you may derive benefits of water without the harmful effects of the above contaminants.
U.S. National Library of Medicine & NIH. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Water in Diet.http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002471.htm
Balch, Phyllis A., and James F. Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York: Avery, 2000. Print.
. Am J Public Health 1997;87:1168-1176.
Morris RD et al: Chlorination, chlorination byproducts and cancer: A meta-analysis. Amer J Pub Health, 1992; 82: 955-963.