Water is a fundamental part of our lives. Very often, we forget how completely we depend on it. Human survival dependents on water. Water is essential for life; experts rank it as second only to oxygen. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3 of our body weight is water. A human embryo is more than 80% water. A newborn baby is 74% water. The water we drink literally becomes a part of us. Since such a large percentage of our bodies is water, water must obviously figure heavily in how our bodies function. We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This "body water" also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments.

Water is essential for…

Metabolism
Water is the medium for various enzymatic and chemical reactions in the body. It moves nutrients, hormones, antibodies, oxygen through the blood stream and the lymphatic system. The proteins and enzymes of the body function more efficiently in solutions of lower viscosity. Water is the solvent of the body and it regulates all functions, including the activity of everything it dissolves and circulates.

Water and WeightLoss
Among its other benefits, water plays a major part in weight loss. Since water contains no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant, and helps the body metabolize stored fat, it may possibly be one of the most significant factors in losing weight.
Also, drinking more water helps to reduce water retention by stimulating your kidneys. Dehydration leads to excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity, joint, muscle soreness, and water retention. Water works to keep muscles and skin toned.

Digestive System
The digestion of solid foods depends on the presence of copious amounts of water. Acids and enzymes in the stomach break the food down into a homogenized fluid state which can pass into the intestine for the next phase of digestion.
An “acid stomach” will respond to hydration.
Constipation is a frequent symptom of dehydration. Increased water, along with increased fiber, will usually totally eliminate a problem.
Gastritis, duodenitis, pain from ulcers (as long as the ulcer is not perforated), and heartburn all decrease with increased water intake. Water eliminates toxins and waste from the body.

Water Loss
Adults lose nearly 12 cups of water every day. We lose 1/2 cup to 1 cup a day from the soles of our feet. Another 2 to 4 cups is lost from breathing. Perspiration accounts for another 2 cups. Another 6 cups are lost in urine.

Dehydration
When the body is dehydrated, a form of rationing and distribution goes into play to ration the available water. Since the body has no reserve system, it operates a priority distribution system for the amount that has been made available by intake.

The body’s signals of dehydration are frequently joint pain, stomach pain and ulcers, back pain, low energy, mental confusion and disorientation. Numerous disease symptoms respond to increased water intake.

Water Retention
If you’re not drinking sufficient water, your body starts retaining water to compensate for this shortage. To eliminate fluid retention, drink more water, not less. If you don’t drink enough water to maintain your body’s fluid balance, you can impair every aspect of your body’s physiological function.

The Thirst Reflex
The “dry mouth” signal, is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. As the body tries to adjust to being deprived of water, the thirst mechanism becomes disabled. The only time we receive the “dry mouth” signal is as the last outward sign of extreme dehydration. In addition, the thirst sensation gradually decreases with age. The result is increasing dehydration. As we start to give our bodies more water, the thirst mechanism begins to work again, but doesn’t become fully apparent until our bodies are fully hydrated. When we are getting sufficient water, we’re often thirsty.

Body Temperature
Water helps regulate our body temperature through perspiration, which dissipates excess heat and cools our bodies.

Breathing
We even need water to breathe! As we take in oxygen and excrete CO2, our lungs must be moistened by water. We lose about 1 to 2 pints of water each day just exhaling.

Asthma is frequently relieved when water intake is increased. Histamine plays a key role in regulating the way the body uses and distributes water that helps control the body’ s defense mechanisms. In asthmatics, histamine level increases with dehydration. Our defense for the body is to close down the airways.

Kidneys
The kidneys remove wastes such as uric aced, urea and lactic acid, all of which must be dissolved in water. When there isn’t sufficient water, those wastes are not effectively removed, which may result in damage to the kidneys.

Joints
Water lubricates our joints. The cartilage tissues found at the ends of long bones and between the vertebrae of the spine hold a lot of water, which serves as a lubricant during the movement of the joint. When the cartilage is will hydrated, the two opposing surfaces glide freely, and friction damage is minimal. If the cartilage is dehydrated, the rate of “abrasive” damage is increased, resulting in joint deterioration and increased pain.
The actively growing blood cells in the bone marrow take priority over the cartilage for the available water that goes through the bone structure.
Rheumatoid joint pain frequently decreases with increased water intake and flexing exercises to bring more circulation to the joints.

Back
75% of the upper body weight is supported by the water volume that is stored in the spinal disc core. 25% is supported by the fibrous materials around the disc. The spinal joints are dependent on different hydraulic properties of water which is stored in the disc core. Back pain is frequently alleviated with hydration.

The Brain
Brain tissue is 85% water. Although the brain is only 1/50th of the body weight, it uses 1/20th of the blood supply.
With dehydration, the level of energy generation in the brain is decreased. Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are frequently results of dehydration.
Migraine headaches may be an indicator of critical body temperature regulation at times of “heat stress.” Dehydration plays a major role in bringing on migraines. Dehydration causes stress and stress causes further dehydration.

Pregnancy
Morning sickness is a thirst signal of both the fetus and the mother. During the intrauterine stage of cell expansion, water for the fetus’ cell growth has to be provided by the mother. One of the first indicators for water needs of the fetus and the mother seems to be morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy.
1. Water helps carry nutrients through blood to the baby.
2. Water helps prevent bladder infections, constipation, and hemorrhoids, which are common during pregnancy.
3. The more water you drink, the less water you retain.
4. Dehydration can trigger contractions and early labor.
5. Amniotic fluid (mostly water) is replaced continuously throughout the day, so more water is needed to replenish the body.
6. Hydration is essential to good breast milk production.
Not only is it important to drink enough water, the quality of the water consumed is of paramount concern. Many studies have shown that water contamination risks are greatly increased in infants, due to their size and stage of development, with their brains and bodies being formed.

C o n c l u s i o n
Water must be continuously replaced since on average 250ml is lost on a daily basis through breathing. Nutritionists have difficulty in suggesting an exact daily requirement because the amount of water required will vary depending on the on the climate and whether any type of activity is undertaken. By drinking an adequate amount of water each day-at least eight glasses (2 litres) -we can ensure that our body has all it needs to maintain good health.

Our fluid needs might be double or even triple that amount when we work out for more than an hour in the heat. Even on cool days and shorter workouts, we still need to drink more than nonathletes.

We can live without food for several weeks, but we can go less than a week without water. The best way to get this water is by drinking plain water. But other beverages, such as fruit juices, milk, and noncaffeinated drinks are also good sources of water. Fruits and vegetables can also be good sources of water.

Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, while they do supply water to the body initially, contain diuretics that cause the body to lose water.

It would appear that most people do not drink enough water. The classic signs and symptoms include:

? Headaches
? Poor concentration
? Tiredness
? Increased risk of developing kidney infections, and
? Constipation.