Proper Hydration and Your Health
This post was written by Glenn Sabin
With the Environmental Working Group survey on the country’s water sources recently coming to light through solid reporting by the New York Times, it seemed like an appropriate time to discuss clean, potable water and its importance to our overall health. According to the Times reporting, 20% of the country’s water supply is polluted, affecting the tap water of 49 million Americans. These illegal concentrations of contaminants include arsenic and radioactive substances like uranium, in addition to dangerous levels of bacteria often found in sewage. All told, since 2004, over 300 pollutants have been found in the U.S.water supply.
In every corner of our planet we are polluting, diverting and wasting our limited supply of fresh water, and at a horrid pace, as population centers explode and technology booms. The demands for fresh water will one day (and much sooner than most realize) go well beyond the globe’s finite supply and will eventually result in the desertification of the earth. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water is emerging and as a new geopolitical map and power centers form, we are setting the stage for worldwide water wars.
The daily intake of plentiful, clean water is incredibly important to maintain or regain health. Proper water intake (I recommend ½ fluid ounce per pound of body weight, daily) and daily exercise are always the first two things, in this order, that I start with when discussing a rounded, comprehensive integrative oncology protocol for any population of malignancy.
Here are just some selected benefits of proper water hydration:
- Kick starts your metabolism
- Acts as a solvent in which many of the body’s nutrients, such as vitamins B and C, dissolve to become bio-available
- Plays a dual role in metabolism: with the help of enzymes, it breaks down food to generate molecules of nutrients such as starches, triglycerides and protein, for easy digestion
- Breaks down bonds to create smaller molecules of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
- A recent study found that drinking 50 fluid ounces of cold water can help you burn up to an extra 50 calories per day–equivalent to about 5 ½ pounds per year-without exercising (experts believe that the metabolism increase is caused by the extra effort needed to raise the water’s temperature to 98.6° F)
- Keeps your energy engine firing. If your body can’t get enough fluid from tissue, your cells draw it from your bloodstream. Blood then thickens, putting a strain on your heart, which may make you feel weak, groggy or light-headed.
- Aids in digestion: When food passes through the intestines, the nutrients get absorbed leaving the waste behind (the bulk of which is soluble fiber). Water binds with soluble fiber in the digestive system and forms soft stool which is excreted by the body more easily. This works as a first aid for constipation.
- Neutralizes acids in the stomach, keeping them from corroding the stomach lining
- Water makes up 70% of our body weight, representing a huge principal chemical component
- Cools the body, maintains muscle tone, skin tone and provide a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues
- Flushes out waste products by dissolving excess salt and urea in the kidneys to pass out as urine
- Body enzymes get activated in the presence of water
The preceding bullet items highlight just some select benefits of proper hydration. There are many additional reasons why proper water intake is so vital to our health. Taken from another vantage point, this article, from F. Batmanghelidj, MD, from the Townsend Letter in 2001, highlights some of the negative physiological effects of dehydration.
Proper hydration is inextricably linked to a healthy lifestyle. As such, for those with cancer or in remission from disease, proper hydration must also be a core element in any smart integrative oncology protocol. Tap water can be very dangerous because, unfortunately, our delivery systems are antiquated, the EPA is overwhelmed. Sadly, proper measures are simply not in place to ensure that our water sources are clean and properly monitored to avoid all contaminants that can cause us harm.
What is the best type of water to drink?
I have personally been drinking reverse osmosis (RO) exclusively for over 20 years. RO is basically highly filtered tap water, ala Desani and Aquafina. I prefer RO over other water types because I am more comfortable drinking pure, filtered water and getting my minerals from nutritional and nutraceutical sources than bringing in spring or other types of water in small quantities or in five gallon bottles for use in a water cooler. I do not want to deal with lots of plastic, or to worry about any kind of bacteria build-up in a water cooler. With an RO dispenser, you typically change multiple filters annually and disinfect the system to ensure the purity of the water. RO is very economical.
There are many opinions out there regarding various types of water sources, with claims made as to the positive biological effects on malignancy. For instance, proponents of ionized water believe that it has a negative ORP value (oxidation reduction potential) that neutralizes free radicals, making many oxygen molecules available to cancer cells, effectively slowing or killing cancer cells.
I am waiting for the definitive research on the biological effects on various water types. Until then, do your own research, make your choice and most importantly–drink up!
Reverse Osmosis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_osmosis