Hydration Confusion

Hydration Confusion

Paul A. Goldberg MPH, DC, DACBN, DCBCN
Founder and Consultant to The Goldberg Tener Clinic
Chronic Disease Reversal

The internet, countless websites and “health authorities” give diverse opinions about a large variety of health topics. It is therefore easy to become confused about even the most basic of health decisions such as our intake of water on a daily basis.

Our bodies are comprised of 60-70% water content similar to the content of planet earth itself. Water plays a myriad of important roles including as a basic component of our blood and other body fluids, a lubricant, a temperature regulator, a transport system for nutrients and wastes and as a solvent to break down toxic materials among other functions.

Common advice thrown around in articles and websites is to “drink eight glasses of water per day” as if we all lived under the same circumstances and were identical in nature. On the contrary, we are individuals living in varied circumstances and therefore water needs differ from person to person, from day to day and season to season.

Questions and Answers

What Determines Individual Needs for Water Intake?

  • Dietary factors – If our diets are naturally water rich, ingesting a variety juicy fruits and vegetables, our water needs are reduced.
  • If the diet is highly processed and/or includes irritants/poisons such as hot spices, alcohol, coffee, junk foods, tobacco and drugs, the need for water is dramatically increased.
  • Climate Variables – Hot, dry weather that induces sweating can significantly increase the need for water.
  • Activity – Those who are physically active require more water.

Substitutes for Water?

There are none. Nothing is a good substitute for pure water… not coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol, milk or fruit juices all of which are foods not water. You would not wash your car with milk or orange juice, nor should you try to replace water with “beverages” in the body. To work well as a solvent of body wastes and to easily be used for building body components including glycogen, lymph, sweat, tears, mucus and blood, the more pure is the water the more efficiently it will work.

Eight Glasses Per day?

Rather than force ourselves to drink eight glasses of water per day as is often advised, it is much better to rely on our thirst mechanism and our individual needs. For most people a full glass of water in the morning, another at mid-day and a third glass in the evening will suffice for basic needs under normal circumstances. For the athlete, the active child, the sick, the elderly, the physical laborer… the needs can significantly increase and thirst should be rewarded by drinking as much water as needed to quench that thirst.

Reach for A Glass of Water Rather than for a “Snack.”

Many people mistakenly reach for food/beverages when their real need is for pure water. We will often find that by drinking a glass of water our desire to eat foods/snacks between meals lessens or disappears entirely.

Can We Take in Too Much Water?

Excessive water intake resulting in low blood sodium (Hyponatremia) can occur although it is not common. Excess water intake can result in nausea, bloating, swollen hands and feet, muscle cramps, fatigue and irritability. This is most commonly seen in athletes who are pushing water into their system too aggressively. Water needs to be balanced by mineral/salt intake and excessive water intake can upset this balance. Taking in insufficient water is far more likely, however, in our population.

What Kind of Water Should I Drink?

The vast amount of water on our planet today is mostly contaminated by human and industrial wastes. Chlorinating water has saved millions of lives by preventing water borne diseases such as cholera. Drinking tap water today is not recommended, however, due to the presence of a number of contaminants that it might contain. These contaminants may be from where it originated and/or from the purification process itself i.e. the adding of chlorine which results in the formation of trihalomethanes, substances that result when chlorine interacts with organic materials resulting in by products such as chloroform. The best water to drink is simply pure water i.e., H2O with nothing added to it. You don’t need “alkalized” water nor water with added vitamins and minerals. Anything in water other than water itself is by definition a contaminant. You also do not need to buy water and create a mountain of plastic bottles to be disposed of and further contaminate our environment. Drinking out of plastic containers can also result in exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals including Bisphenol A and Phthalates.

The best way to purify/upgrade the water coming out of your tap is through a combination of filtration and reverse osmosis. Not by filtration alone. A good reverse osmosis system that also incorporates carbon filtration can be employed at home using water from your faucet. Systems can be purchased at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and other Home Supply/Hardware stores. They are also available on the internet. The modest cost will soon pay for itself and maintenance is simple.

Protect Your Health and Well Being Simply and Affordably.

Obtaining sufficient, good quality water and drinking an adequate amount daily is not difficult. Simple step… tremendous health benefits.

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