on a link to skip to a condition that may be of importance to you.
Dear Mr. Bike,
It is indeed
rare for me to Email one to whom I am not acquainted, but having
been so impressed with your article, (from your web page) this is
one of those times I felt I should do so.
Thank you so
very much for taking the time and effort to explain the how`s and
why`s, (in detail!) about the importance of drinking water.
With your permission
I would like to print the article for my brother, Randy to read
and keep for his own health's sake.
Yours is the
first article I`ve ever read that actually breaks areas down and
explains, right down to the time factor of our body`s utilization
I learned quite
a bit, and both my brother and I can benefit from this knowledge.
so impressed with that page, I also looked upon the rest of your
You, Sir are
quite the learned one in a variety of areas.
Thank you for
sharing with us your knowledge, wisdom, and wit.
and wishes are with you.
Kay E. Holmes
A Cause of Disease, Part 1
We see it everywhere.
It's all around us. We come into contact with it every day. It's water.
It makes up about 75% of our bodies, and about 85% of our brains. In my
massage practice, I've noticed an alarming number of clients showing signs
of dehydration, some severe. How can this be? What are the signs? What
can be done?
Physicians rarely prescribe water, and you'll never hear of a pharmaceutical
firm recommending it, but water can prevent and cure many common conditions.
Dehydration can cause dis-ease. By the simple addition of a little water
every day, you may feel better. (If not, see a nutritionist for help in
balancing your diet. Seek professional medical help if water and diet
don't help. The information and recommendations I present in this article
are based on personal observations, extensive research, and common sense.
This is not intended as a replacement for medical advice from a natural
physician. The very ill and those with severe renal disease should consult
their attending physician before using this information.)
Chronic dehydration is a problem that pervades our society. Advertising
for coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages lead adults and children
to choose drinks with sugar, caffeine and alcohol rather than water. The
human body rations water, and moves it where it needs it most. The brain
represents only 2% of the body weight, but gets 20% of the blood circulation
and a high priority of the water intake. Tea, coffee, alcohol, and manufactured
beverages contain water and a dehydrating agent. Dehydration over time
causes loss of some functions.
Dehydration gives signals; medicine silences the signals. Modern allopathic
medicine is based upon relieving symptoms, not removing causes. Modern
diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, ulcers and allergies are not
cured but controlled.
Water is a solvent and transporter. It is the major component in blood
and all other fluids in the human body. Loss of water thickens blood and
hardens cell walls. We commonly recognize thirst as 'dry mouth.' When
we do not experience dry mouth, we assume that we are not thirsty. Wrong!
The solvent, the water content, regulates all functions of the body; the
solids dissolved or carried produce the signals. Thirst, our body's cry
for water, occurs much earlier.
Often our dehydration begins before birth. Early thirst signals of the
fetus to the mother often show up as 'morning sickness.' Many school systems,
trying to raise money, offer soda machines throughout our school years.
We become chronically and increasingly dehydrated by early adulthood.
When humans lose or mistake thirst sensations, or substitute for water
with tea, coffee, alcohol or manufactured beverages, dehydration increases.
Often, 'dry mouth' is the last sign of dehydration.
Water is necessary for ATP production at the cellular level. Water makes
up the adhesive material part of the cell structure. When the body dehydrates,
it has a 'drought management' system. The human body does not have a 'reserve'
of water as it does with calcium and other substances; it must prioritize
whatever water we drink. The regulation system uses histamine and prostaglandins.
Histamine in excess causes the pain sensation. Chronic dehydration causes
chronic pain; an area of local pain may indicate an area of chronic dehydration.
Some of these chronic pains may include dyspeptic pain, colitis pain,
rheumatoid arthritic pain, heart or leg pain during exercise, low back
pain, chronic fatigue pain, migraines, and hangovers.
When we drink water, it passes through the stomach immediately into the
intestine and is absorbed; within 30 minutes almost the same amount of
water is secreted into the stomach for digestion. Digestion of solid foods
requires large amounts of water: acids secrete onto food, enzymes activate,
and the stomach breaks foods down into a homogenized state where it then
passes into the intestines for further digestion. More water is required
in the intestines to process food ingredients and send the nutrients to
the liver. In the liver, specialized cells process digested material,
add fluid to the material, then pass the good stuff into the bloodstream,
moving quickly to the heart. Then the blood goes to the lungs for oxygenation
and exchange of dissolved gases in the blood.
In the lungs, the blood dehydrates by evaporation. Then the material and
oxygen-rich blood return to the heart and are pumped first to the heart
capillaries and the brain. If there is insufficient water in the blood,
the cells of the heart and brain close to protect themselves from dehydration.
Drinking eight to sixteen ounces of water within the half-hour before
a meal helps with stomach digestion. Drinking water with a meal helps
digestion in the intestines and liver. Sufficient water in the bloodstream
keeps the cells open and ready to absorb oxygen and nutrition.
Alzheimer's, Dementia, Brain Damage
Mucus in the stomach is 98% water. Chronic dehydration combined with too
much salt and too much acid neutralization (from over-use of antacids)
alters the mucus, allowing acid to reach the mucosal layer, where pain-sensing
nerves are located. Drinking adequate water before and during meals 'backwashes'
the mucus layer and removes salt deposits. Antacids that contain aluminum
have been linked to brain damage, dementia and Alzheimer-type symptoms.
One of the functions of the large intestine is removal of excess water
from the stool. With inadequate water comes colitis pain and constipation.
Drinking adequate water relieves constipation quickly, and often alleviates
50 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis; 200 thousand children
have juvenile arthritis. Joints need a lot of water for proper function.
In well-hydrated cartilage, friction is minimal; in dehydrated cartilage,
increased friction leads to pain. Chronic dehydration leads to permanent
damage, commonly called osteoarthritis. Joint pain is often a signal of
Low Back Pain, Neck Pain
30 million Americans have low back pain. Intervertebral joints and discs
depend on the hydraulic properties of water. Water is a lubricant for
contact surfaces and supports compression weight from the upper torso.
About 75% of the upper body's weight is supported by the water volume
of the disc, and 25% by fibrous material around the disc. Movement causes
alternating forces of water moving in and out of the disc area. Exercise
and massage also move water through the back joints. Bad posture creates
problems; good posture alleviates some problems in the back and neck.
An inadequate water supply leads to compression of the joint and pain.
Migraines are caused by dehydration, by excessive body heat, by alcohol
dehydrating cells (particularly in the brain), and by dietary or allergic
triggers for histamine release. Dehydration prevents proper heat regulation
in the body. Sufficient water allows the body to self-regulate and reduce
the severity of migraine symptoms or eliminate them completely.
Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
With dehydration, energy levels in the brain decrease. With that decrease,
functions that depend on energy also decrease or shut down. Inadequacy
of mental function and a series of advanced physiological problems is
often labeled depression or chronic fatigue syndrome. One of the first
signs of re-hydration is increased mental activity. As you drink more
water, you will begin to notice subtle changes in your thoughts or extra-sensory
How Do I Start?
When you first begin drinking more water, your body first removes excess
toxins stored in nearly every cell in your body. It flushes your kidneys
over and over again. Once the toxins are flushing regularly and the body
believes that the increased water intake is permanent, a period usually
of several days to several weeks, your body will begin absorbing large
amounts and, using its priority system, begin restoring water volume in
all the cells of the body. In most cases, it will take 2 to 3 months to
restore the water imbalance. The blood hydrates first, then organs: the
heart, lungs and brain, followed by other organs necessary for elimination
of toxins. The rest of the body hydrates as needed.
How Much Water Should I Drink? A simple rule
is to take your weight in pounds, divide in half, and drink that number
of ounces of water. Do not over-drink, thinking that you can overcome
months or years of under-drinking by drinking a lot in a few days. Drink
your amount (as calculated above) daily & your body will fully re-hydrate
over a long period of time.
For a medical discussion
of how dehydration works in the human body, read Your Body's Many Cries
for Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
A Cause of Disease, Part 2
recommend drinking water, but then tell you that if you drink a substance
that contains water, such as coffee, tea or soda, that it is the same.
Here is why they are wrong.
Sodas and Bones
Minerals and other nutrients have interactions between them that affect
their availability or absorption in the body. The body operates most efficiently
at a calcium-phosphorus ratio of 1:1. We need 800 to 1200 milligrams of
each every day.
Phosphorus is readily
absorbed through the intestinal tract. About 70% of all phosphorus we
eat is assimilated into the bloodstream. Calcium is poorly absorbed. Only
20% to 30% of what we ingest is metabolized. Therefore, the dietary calcium-phosphorus
ratio should be about 2.5:1.
For every gram of
phosphorus absorbed in the body, we need to have one gram of calcium be
absorbed from our diet also. If the required calcium is not available
from the diet, the body will obtain it from wherever it can, usually from
storage in the bones. Calcium loss from the bones leads to loss of bone
mass, a decrease in bone integrity, and eventually, osteoporosis.
Soft drinks are high
in phosphorus, which is essential for carbonization. A typical 12-ounce
can of cola contains about 44 mg of phosphorus and 11 mg of calcium. If
70% of the phosphorus is absorbed, about 31 mg of phosphorus makes it
into the bloodstream. If we take the high of 30% of the calcium, that
means that about 3 mg is absorbed. Since the body likes balance, if no
other source of calcium is eaten with the soda, about 28 mg of calcium
will be removed from the bones to achieve the 1:1 ratio for each 12-ounce
can of soda we drink. Soda companies and their cohorts are pushing 'big
gulps,' 'biggie' sizes, and huge containers to drink them from. Since
we lose 28 mg of calcium from our bones with a 12-ounce soda, can you
calculate how much we lose from a 44-ounce soda?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Heart Failure
Tea, coffee and cola contain large amounts of caffeine and smaller amounts
of theophylline, which are central nervous system stimulants and diuretics.
Caffeine releases energy from stored calcium in the cells. Continuous
substitution of caffeine drinks for water deprives the body of its capacity
for formation of energy. Excess caffeine depletes the ATP stored in the
brain and body, resulting in a shorter attention span, chronic fatigue
syndrome, and eventually may exhaust the heart muscle from long-term over-stimulation.
Dehydration stresses the body. Once stress is established, there is an
associated mobilization of primary materials from body stores. In stress,
hormonal over-rides are operative. Strong hormones secrete until the body
is out of stress: endorphins, cortisone, prolactin, vasopressin, and renin-angiotensin
Endorphins prepare the body to endure hardships and raise the pain threshold,
especially in women.
stored energy and raw material. It causes the body to feed off itself,
i.e., it breaks down material used in the maintenance of the structural
integrity of the body.
Prolactin ensures that lactating mothers continue to produce milk. Long-term
increased prolactin production may cause mammary tumors. Increasing water
intake in women who have everyday stress may be a preventive measure against
development of stress-induced breast cancer.
capillaries and regulates the selective flow of water into some cells.
Produced in the pituitary gland, it rations and distributes water in a
priority plan when dehydration is present. Alcohol suppresses vasopressin
secretion, even in the brain. After alcohol consumption, slight dehydration
can become severe in sensitive cells in the brain, leading to pain, such
as hangovers. The body tries to overcome the dehydration by producing
more hormones, especially endorphins, which are addictive. Thus, dehydration
plus alcohol leads to alcoholism, especially in women.
RA is activated when
the fluid volume of the body is released. RA is active in histamine production
and in the kidneys. It is activated to retain water, promotes absorption
of sodium salt, and tightens capillary beds and the vascular system to
prevent slack or empty areas (when tight can be measured as hypertension).
The kidneys are the main sites of RA activity. The kidneys produce urine
and excrete excess hydrogen, potassium, sodium and waste. The body must
have sufficient water volume to sustain urine. Only copious water and
some salt can turn the RA system off.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is the body's way of adapting to gross
body water deficiency. When eating, circulation is directed to the intestinal
tract by contracting some capillary beds elsewhere. After digestion, blood
is re-directed to where it is needed most. The body has an order system
for directing blood: brain, lungs, liver, kidneys and glands, then muscles,
bones and skin. During the slow process of dehydration, cells that are
low in the priority system dehydrate first and lose water to the blood
in circulation. Some capillary beds close entirely. When muscles exercise,
capillary beds open. Exercise is vital for those with hypertension. In
order for the water we drink to get into our cells, it must be first in
the blood; during dehydration, some cells get no water, some in priority
order get sufficient water, most cells get a smaller ration of water or
none. Hypertension indicates a need for more water in the circulatory
High blood cholesterol is a body defense mechanism to keep sufficient
water in the blood. Blood gets concentrated when too much water is released
to the cells during dehydration. Cholesterol is a natural blocking agent
that makes cells impervious to the passage of water. Cholesterol is the
agent that regulates the permeability of the cell membrane to water. Excess
cholesterol may denote dehydration.
If you do not drink water before or during meals, the process of food
digestion that requires so much water removes the water from the cells
of your body. The brain's central control system, when it recognizes low
energy levels, sends a signal to drink water. Unfortunately, this signal
is often felt as hunger; so we eat, and eat, and eat. We eat when we should
drink water. When we drink water before meals, it is easier to separate
the feelings. If you have a weight problem, drink water when you feel
hungry. Eat only at regularly scheduled meal times, and drink 16 ounces
of water before meals.
Allergies and Orange Juice
Asthma and allergies are a sign that the body is producing extra histamine,
which is an indication that the body is dehydrated. Histamine regulates
bronchial muscle contraction. A lot of water exits the body through the
lungs, so histamines constrict the lungs to reduce water loss. Concentrated
blood (dehydrated) promotes histamine production to protect the body's
stores. When the body is dehydrated, histamine activity is exaggerated
for water preservation. Histamine production decreases with increased
water intake. It takes three to four weeks of increased water intake to
notice a difference. High amounts of potassium promote histamine production.
Orange juice is high in potassium. If you suffer from allergies or asthma,
limiting your intake of orange juice to eight or fewer ounces per day
may reduce the effects.
There are generally two types of diabetes: insulin dependent when the
pancreas no longer manufactures insulin, and insulin independent when
the pancreas can manufacture insulin, but the body no longer controls
the amount. Some insulin independent diabetes symptoms may be alleviated
by water intake. One function of the pancreas is to regulate water for
food digestion. The pancreas produces insulin and a solution that neutralizes
stomach acid in the intestine. The insulin inhibition is an adaptation
process to dehydration. In a dehydrated state, the brain, which is not
dependent on insulin, benefits from insulin inhibition. The brain revives
itself with sugar.
Dehydration may cause
a severe depletion of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is an essential
amino acid that, along with lysine, is used in the correction of errors
in the DNA formation. Tryptophan may be a key to the prevention of cancer
cell development in the body. When there is adequate tryptophan in the
brain, you can endure more pain. Tryptophan also is involved in the regulation
of salt in the body. Normal levels of tryptophan in the brain leads to
increased efficiency of the functions of the rest of the body. Decreased
water in the brain affects the level of tryptophan.
There are many types of bottled waters and water filters, along with well
water, spring water and tap water. It's not always easy to figure out
the marketing and glossy packaging. Always read the labels to know what
you are getting.
For those of us who
live in cities, tap water is the easiest source of water. Cities capture
river water or use wells. They filter it, then add deadly chemicals to
kill microorganisms in the water. Then they send it through pipes, often
old and rusty, often with lead joints, to our homes. There are many filters
sold today that filter out the harmful chemicals and minerals. Almost
all of them are adequate for our needs. You can also buy distillers, reverse
osmosis systems, and other complicated devices. Most of these are very
But we're not always
at home. What about bottled water? There are several sources of bottled
water. Many simply filter city water.
Spring water flows
naturally from an underground source and is collected directly from the
spring or through a hole that has been drilled into the source that supplies
Mineral water comes
from a geologically and physically protected underground source. It must
contain specific quantities of minerals or trace elements to distinguish
it from other types of water. The mineral content of the bottled water
must be consistent with the water's original state at the source.
Well water is collected
from an aquifer, an underground source, through a hole drilled into the
Artesian water is
flows up naturally through a drilled hole.
Purified water is
water treated by distillation, micron filtration, deionization, ozonation
or reverse osmosis.
Sparkling water contains
carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide can be found in the water at the source
or can be added at the time of bottling. Soda water, club soda and tonic
water are not considered sparkling waters because they may contain sugar,
salt or other additives.
And then there are
juices, drinks, flavored water and multitudes of advertised drinks. What
is the best? Plain water. Water with anything added to it requires the
body to filter out the nutrients, sugar and junk that is added. Your body
needs water, not the additives that manufacturers and advertisers push
Drink at least 64 to 96 ounces of water a day to remain properly hydrated.
Increase that amount during the summer. Active people should drink more.
Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water just prior to exercise. Drink water while
you are exercising, 6 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Drink more
when it's hot. Never rely on your perception of thirst to guide your water
intake. Thirst is the body's cry for help. It activates when your body
is deprived of water and closes down well before you have had enough water
During dieting and
weight loss, kidneys eliminate toxins formed from lost fat and muscle.
Water flushes these toxins out. Water also helps control food intake by
curbing your appetite.
Drinking water while
you fly may prevent the symptoms of jet lag because the air inside airplanes
is extremely dry. If you live in or visit high altitudes, increase your
water intake. This is especially important when you are active in elevated
altitudes because of the low humidity.
Children are at risk
of becoming dehydrated, especially during the summer months. Encourage
your children to drink 8 glasses of water a day, more if they are playing
or participating in sports.
body will cause amazing changes. You may hurt less. You may lose weight
if you are overweight; you may gain weight if you are underweight. Nagging
symptoms may disappear. Your blood pressure may self-regulate. So may
your cholesterol. Good hydration will regulate your body temperature,
carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells, and remove wastes and toxins
before they become a problem for you.
And while water can
alleviate the cause of many symptoms, it is not a cure-all. Consult your
natural physician about how you can achieve optimum health.
For a medical discussion
of how dehydration works in the human body, read Your Body's Many Cries
for Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., the source of some of the
material in this discussion.
Put more life in
Robert Bike, LMT, Teaching Reiki Master, Webmaster
Member OMTA & ABMT