Why Drinking Water can Really change Your Life

I don’t remember my parents emphasizing drinking water much either. Luckily I didn’t drink much alcohol or caffeine but once I started both those habits in medical school ( don’t ask how I got through pre-med in college) I developed salivary stones https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324421.php. Pretty much rocks that formed in the small duct under my tongue where saliva gets secreted.

My mouth always felt dry and uncomfortable and I’ve had two infections from it. My last stone was in 2013. Just my luck my medical boards were in a few days, I was in severe pain and got an infection because the stone blocked my saliva and to top it off I didn’t have health insurance. Thanks to Dr. Nathanial Monihan he saved me from a trip to the hospital, a good chunk of change and removed “ the rock” from me. 

I just thought I was a WEIRDO.

Usually elderly people develop these stones.

Only years later do I understand that I was chronically dehydrated and by body was throwing signs, stones, in my case

In fact I’ve had quite a few not so typical medical things happen to me and as a physician I am so glad they did. I have been able to help people when others couldn’t.

(future posts about those stories later)

Why is water so beautiful?

Composed of two hydrogen and one oxygen atom. The adult human body is average 60 percent water.

Where is all this water? 2/3 of the body’s water is inside the cells in the intracellular fluid and 1/3 is outside the cells in the extracellular fluid

Fact: when you are thirsty you have already lost three percent of your body water and this is considered mild dehydration where your mental and physical performance is compromised

Lesson 1 
To be at our healthiest state, we should be drinking enough water to not feel thirsty

The Journal of Biological Chemistry by HH Mitchell  http://www.jbc.org/content/158/3/625.full.pdf relays that  water is a major component of all our organs, each varying in percentage

Heart and Brain 73%

Lungs 83%

Kidney and Muscle 79%

Skin 64%

Bones 31%

What does water do in our bodies?

Mmm… pretty much EVERYTHING!

There are many functions of water in our body

-Regulates internal body temperature

-Metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates

-It is the main component of our saliva

-Lubricates joints

-Acts as a shock absorber of the brain, spinal cord, organs and fetus

-Filters WASTE and TOXINS via urine and defecation (poop)

-Dissolves vitamins mineral and certain nutrients

-Carries oxygen and nutrients to cells

-Helps digest meals and prevent constipation

-Affects the strength of muscles in physical activities

Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

Lesson 2

Water is essential for all the daily biochemical processes that happen in our bodies

Can drinking water make you lose weight?

in JCEM  https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/88/12/6015/2661518 water induced thermogenesis proved that water activates your metabolism

In terms of weight loss 500 ml of water increases metabolic rate by 30% in both men and in women.

In addition water makes you FEEL FULL

It decreases the appetite and in fact most of us eat when actually we are thirsty. We confuse these signals. So the next time you feel really hungry grab a glass of water and see if you are truly hungry

Lesson 3

Water improves metabolism, makes you feel full AND in fact thirst and hunger cues can be difficult to differentiate 

Can drinking water affect my energy level?

Excuse my language but F* yeah

For years my patients have always come to me with one common complaint.

Doc why am I so tired?

If the basic labs were normal my first question would be how much water do you drink? To my surprise the answer was usually shocking. Wayyyyy below what they should be drinking.

Lets look into biochemistry I’m going to make it REAL SIMPLE

Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen and It is used in a chemical pathway that breaks down sugar aka glucose.

Water reacts with molecules originating from glucose metabolism to release hydrogen so it can be used in ATP production (ATP is energy)

Simply put Water is used to make energy. 

The brain needs a huge supply of water ( nerve cells are 85% water) to do its job

so if you drink enough water cognitively you will be more alert and focused

Lesson 4

If you are feeling tired and have brain fog regularly please evaluate how much water you are drinking daily. There is no blood test to show if you are adequately hydrated besides kidney function ( Note to self:  invent a test to check for this !) However the body is very resilient and it might take years of dehydration and feeling unwell to finally affect your kidney ( most likely you will encounter other medical problems prior to that)

Now the next question you should be asking in your head is okay I get it I need to drink more water but how much?

What are the standard water recommendations for adults?

This does not apply to relatively high temps or humidity, physical activity, illness, pregnancy, and/or lactation.

Article in 2004 by IOM https://www.nap.edu/read/10925/chapter/6#142

Total water including all beverages and food is 2.7 L women ( 11 cups) and 3.7 L Men ( 15 cups). This recommendation is for adults only.

This includes coffee juice milk fruits veggies

# watergoals

I personally feel the latter doesn\’t count because now we live in a age where there are so many diuretic products i.e. coffee, alcohol, tea, soda and processed salty foods. 

I also feel a good rule of thumb is drink half of your body weight in water in ounces.

Can drinking too much water be dangerous?

YES. Your electrolytes most importantly your sodium can get diluted and this can in turn be very harmful to the body. I always say start off slow and do not drink more than three to four 8oz glasses per hour. This is because your kidneys won’t be able to handle more than that. Be mindful of how much you’re drinking and most importantly how you’re feeling.

Can dehydration lead to disease?

Looking at all the points s above it would make sense that in a state of chronic dehydration your body cannot function at its best

In Dr Batmanghelidj\’s book “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” he believes dehydration is the underlying issue involving many chronic diseases including but not limited to diabetes, elevated cholesterol, gastritis ,allergies/asthma, etc.

Dr B firmly believed that proper hydration, as well as adequate salt intake, moderate exercise and a good diet can prevent and/or cure just about anything

He firmly believed the root of ALL diseases stems from unintentional chronic dehydration (UCD). For this reason he developed a specific water cure protocol.

Since we are essentially made up of salt water a brief summary of his water protocol is as follows

Water Protocol

1. Find out if your tap water is safe otherwise if possible invest in a good filtering system

EPA website www.epa.gov/safewater AWWA website: www.awwa.org.

On the EPA website you just have to type in your zip code. Let me warn you, YOU WILL BE SHOCKED at the results

If interested in investing in a good water filer system Brita is an option but to get more information I highly recommend to check out  Heal Thy Self by Dr. Christian Gonzalez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5VnzZIYEpQ

 2. Drink half of your body weight in oz of water daily

3. The water we drink must be warm and drink water first thing in the morning to get the blood flowing

4. Mix  ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt ( celtic or Himalayan) for every 32 oz of water . Commercial salt is highly processed and stripped of minerals.

5. Drink water throughout the entire day. Space-it-out. No more than three-four 8 oz glasses a day.

Other recommendations are on his website www.watercure.com

His book is controversial but it’s worth the read.

More than anything it will really start to make you think about water differently. Do I believe in all his theories? No. In my opinion there is MORE to disease than just dehydration but it is a major component of health and wellness, which I now hallelujah FINALLY understand

I went from barely drinking water to now drinking almost 70oz a day. I feel great. I have more energy than I ever did and my cravings are cut in half. My skin is less dry and my urine is finally light yellow to clear. I have lost weight without working out like a maniac. Drinking water has now become a priority of mine and yes every day I have to be mindful of it just like my diet.

As a society there needs to be a paradigm shift on the importance of water.

Habits start in childhood. If we educate ourselves we are able to educate our children.

(Note: children water recommendations are different than above)

When we go to Starbucks we should be given a cup of water with our grande orders, or maybe two actually . I’ll pay the 50 cents for it If it means I’ll live longer and prevent chronic disease.

Apple should create a LONE water app when we first get our phones (yes I know it\’s in the health app but it doesn’t stick out)

Before we get our first drink the bartender should make sure we drank enough water ( OKAY now I’m dreaming)! But you get what I mean.

If we start individually realizing the beauty and miracles of water then and only then will our bodies start to change

Disclosure*This article is about prevention. If you are told to restrict your water intake from your physician due to your current conditions Including but not limited to heart, kidney, liver disease or are not sure drinking water may interfere with your current medical conditions please discuss with your medical team .Drinking too much water can dilute your sodium levels and this can be very dangerous. Always start off slow and be in tune with your body.

If you are interested in a more scientific in depth discussion of water check this out https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

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