100 oz./day: the price of hydration

Our bodies are two-thirds water.  It fills, surrounds, bathes and nourishes every one of our 100 trillion or so cells. 

“Water is the basis of all life and that includes your body. Your muscles that move your body are 75% water; your blood that transport nutrients is 82% water; your lungs that provide your oxygen are 90% water; your brain that is the control center of your body is 76% water; even your bones are 25% water.” 1 (see reference below)

 So if water is the majority of what we’re made, you can bet that it plays a vital role in health and wellness.  I’m going to give you TEN good reasons why you should get and stay well hydrated, and I’ll start with my favorite; good old fashioned vanity.  (don’t forget to catch the details on the ‘how to’ at the conclusion.)

-SKIN HYDRATION:  How many ‘hydrating agents’ are out there in the marketplace.  And they are not cheap, are they?  And have you looked at the labels?  Multiple chemicals, many of them having malign hormonal influences.  That’s not so good….  These products are trying to put fluid back in the tissue, from the outside in, while the simplest and most effective method is from the inside out.  Some of the cosmetic effects of dehydration are the dark shadows under and around the eyes-which make one look exhausted, and the exaggeration of the wrinkles and blotches which we’ve gotten from excess sun and skin aging.  Some of this is hard to avoid totally over time, but why make it worse?

     Water not only hydrates the skin layers, but also helps skin cells to regenerate more efficiently.  Have you held a baby recently?  Don’t you love their plump skin?   Almost like a ripe peach.  They have ideal skin hydration.   The first step to babying your skin is repair it with good hydration.

-HEADACHES:  While there are a number of kind of headaches, dehydration will worsen each of them. The brain is ~75% water, so if you are dehydrated, the rest of your body and other major organs may borrow some water from brain cells, which can actually make the brain shrink.  Traction on brain membranes can worsen any headache, which, incidentally is the main cause of hangover headaches, as an ounce of alcohol can dehydrate off four ounces of water.  Brain dehydration can also affect COGNITIVE FUNCTION, so if you are having more ‘senior moments’, part of the cure may lie in hydrating your brain.

-DIGESTIVE COMPLAINTS:  From irritable bowel, to sludge in your gallbladder, to constipation may share dehydration in common.  Every day you gut has to secrete 6-8 liters of fluid (200-260 ounces) to make digestion work.  If you are dehydrated, every component of this process pays dues:  gastric juices, digestive enzymes, and the required fluid to lubricate the passage of digestive waste all the way through to its final resting place.  It is not unusual to see many of these health problems improve or even totally resolve when the body has enough water to produce vital fluids to your innards.

-REDUCING YOUR APPETITE:  Studies show ~40% of people mistake thirst for hunger.  The first step to take in curbing appetite is to drink enough water throughout the day, and to take a glass of water FIRST, before considering a snack, or making decisions on the kind and volume of food at any meal.

-JOINT HYDRATION:  The fluids that lines your joints, or hydrates the discs in your spine provide flexibility and cushioning to your motion through the day.  Chronic dehydration worsens every joint disorder.  Don’t wait until the wear n’ tear sets in to take action.

-HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:  It doesn’t take much imagination to see that ‘dehydrated blood’ is sludgy.  Just as Karo syrup would be harder to draw up through a straw than water, so is pushing thicker and more viscous blood through your capillaries more work for your heart.  Then to add to the problem, your blood vessels typically constrict to manage the reduced total blood volume.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  Rehydrating your blood volume, and exercising enough to open up your capillary beds are two key elements for nearly everyone who is hypertensive.

-FLUSHING TOXINS:  We need to ‘rinse our cells’, both to clear biological wastes, as well as externally acquired chemicals that are toxic to healthy cell chemistry.  This includes metabolites from drugs, and even from naturally produced products, like your own hormones. This is especially important in the liver and kidney, which are our full time detox and filtration stations.  Diseases that involve crystal deposition, such as kidney stones, gallstones and gout are also aggravated by insufficient water intake.

-MOISTURIZING MEMBRANES:  Key mucous membrane lined tissues, like the inner ear, the nasal, throat and tear duct passages, as well as the lungs and the vaginal lining all depend on good hydration to produce the complex mucous substrates that make them work right.  With dehydration, these secretions cannot provide the immune protection and lubrication you need.  It’s not a surprise that dysfunction in these organs is common in middle aged individuals, where chronic dehydration begins to take its toll.

-DENTAL HEALTH:  Producing sufficient saliva is a key to protecting your teeth and gums, and reducing the bacteria that cause bad breath.


     As long as you are generally healthy, without serious heart or kidney problems, you should consider drinking 100 ounces of water throughout your day over a 28 day period, to fully hydrate your body.  You may have heard the generally quoted ‘one oz. of water per kilo of body weight per day’ advice.  For many of us that would be in the 65-90 oz. range, and that might be enough for a maintenance volume.  But most of us already live with a concerning degree of full body dehydration.  Remember, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already significantly, maybe dangerously behind your needs.

     The key here is to keep water close by, where ever you are.  A glass on your desk; and a Nalgene, glass or other inert flask with you while on the go, aiming for 100 oz. per day for 28 days.  Water is obviously the best choice, although for 10-20% of the fluid as tea, coffee or fruit juice may be marginally allowable (but do check the calories therein, as liquids can add to the calorie count all too quickly.)

For a typical daytime schedule, split the intake three ways:

8-noon: 30-35 oz.

Noon-4 PM:  30-35 oz.

4-8 PM: 30-35 oz.  Try to finish a good two hours before bedtime.

Give it a try, and give it a month: I guarantee you’ll feel a difference!

1 “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” Dr. F. Batmanghelidj   One of my favorite books about hydration.  His website is at:  www.watercure.com

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