Mountain View Medical Supply

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Importance of Water Intake

Even healthy eaters often underestimate the importance of their water intake and wind up suffering from chronic, low-grade dehydration.  The listing below shows the wide range of bodily functions impacted by body hydration level.  We hear all of the time that we should drink 8 glasses of water per day, and here is exactly why you should!

Suboptimal hydration slows the activity of enzymes, including those responsible for producting energy, leading to feelings of fatigue.  Even a slight reduction in hydration can lower metabolism and reduce one's ability to live efficiently and active life.

Our bodies produce an average of seven liters of digestive juices daily.  When we do not drink enough water, our secretions are more limited and the digestive process is inhibited.  However, drinking too much water all at once, perticularly with food, can also dilute digestive juices, reduce their efficacy and lead to indigestion.

As partially digested food passes through the colon, the colon absorbs excess liquid and transfers it to the bloodstream, so that a stool of normal consistency is formed.  When the body is low on water, it extracts too much liquid from the stool that it becomes hard, dry and difficult to eliminate.  Slowed elimination contributes to body-wide toxicity and inflammation.

When we are chronically dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker and more viscous.  In response to reduced overall blood volume, the blood vessels contract.  To compensate for the increased vein-wall tension and increased blood viscosity, the body must work harder to push blood through the veins, resulting in elevated blood pressure.

Under normal circumstances, the stomach secretes a layer of mucus which is composed of 98% water to prevent its mucus membranes from being destroyed by the highly acidic digestive fluid it produces.  Chronic dehydration impedes mucus production and may irritate and produce ulcers in the stomach lining.

The moist mucus membranes in the respiratory region are protective, however, in a state of chronic dehydration, they dry out and become vulnerable to attack from substances that might exist in inhaled air like dust and pollen.  

Feelings of thirst can be confused with hunger, both because eating can soothe thirst and because dehydration-induced fatigue is often misinterpreted as a lack of fuel.  Both dynamics can lead to false sensations of hunger, triggering overeating and weight gain.  Inadequate hydration can also promote the storage of inflammatory toxins, which can also promote weight gain. 

Dehydrated skin loses elasticity and has a dry, flaky appearance and texture.  Dehydration can also lead to skin irritation and rashes, including conditions like eczema.  We need to sweat about 24 ounces a day to properly dilute and transport the toxins being eliminated through our skin.  When we are chronically dehydrated, the sweat becomes more concentrated and toxins are not removed from our system as readily, which can lead to skin irritation and inflammation. 

Cholesterol is an essential element in cell membrane construction.  When we are in a state of chronic dehydration and too much liquid is removed from within the cell walls, the body tries to stop the loss by producing more cholesterol to shore up the cell membrane from being to permeable, the overproduction introduces too much cholesterol into the blood stream.

When we do not drink enough liquid, our kidneys struggle to flush water-soluble toxins from our systems.  When we do not adequately dilute the toxins in our urine, the toxins irritate the urinary mucus membranes and create a germ and infection friendly environment.

Dehydrated cartilage and ligaments are more brittle and prone to damage.  Joints can become painfully inflamed when irritants or toxins produced by the body and concentrated in our blood and cellular fluids, attach to them.  This activity is the precursor to development of arthritis. 

The normal aging process involves a gradual loss of cell volume and an imbalance of the extra cellular and intracellular fluids.  This loss of cellular water can be accelerated when we do not ingest enough liquids, or when our cell membranes are not capable of maintaining a proper fluid balance. 

Dehydration causes enzymatic slowdown, interrupting important biochemical transofrmations, with acidifying results at the cellular level.  The acidication of the body’s internal cellular environment can be further worsened when excretory organs, such as the skin and kidneys do not have enough liquid to do their jobs properly.  An overly acidic biochemical environment can give rise to a host of inflammatory health conditions, as well as yeast and fungal growth. 

From United Ostomy Association of Metro Denver, Inc., Nov/Dec 2013

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