HYDRATION AS A FACTOR IN HEALING
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
Ó July 2010, The Center For Development
This short article is intended to bring to your attention the importance of hydration as a factor in health and disease. We have noticed that when people a) drink an incorrect type of water, b) or do not drink enough water, or c) consume sugars, caffeine, alcohol or other things that dehydrate the body, they can become quite ill. Also, all healing is retarded if hydration is not good. So this is a warning article about a very important and somewhat esoteric subject.
HOW DEHYDRATION AFFECTS HEALTH AND HEALING
While all the mechanisms are not clear, the need for enough water of the right kind is a very basic human need. The body is about 55% water in adults, and up to 65% in young children. Water and hydration are critical to facilitate nutrient transport into the cells, eliminate wastes, and allow the kidneys and the heart to function properly.
An even more esoteric function of water and proper hydration has to do with the regulation of blood sugar metabolism. For example, we find that most diabetics are very dehydrated. When the hydration is corrected, the blood sugar level often decreases easily and quickly. I have a feeling, though I have not had the opportunity to test this hypothesis, that if all diabetics were properly hydrated, many would no longer require as much medication and would have many fewer complications of their illness.
Proper hydration prevents constipation, headaches, and many other important and very symptoms that plague modern humanity. Just recently, a prominent general in the US army collapsed at a hearing. Later it was reported that he was dehydrated, most likely from drinking a lot of coffee.
Copper toxicity is made worse by dehydration, I believe. Perhaps it is due to adrenal stress, which often worsens copper imbalance. Another common condition, especially if one is on a nutritional balancing program, is pain in the lower back over the area of the kidneys. This may go away quickly when one drinks water.
Another common symptom of dehydration is fatigue and a feeling of toxicity. A bad taste in the mouth or perhaps even bad breath may also be subtle signs to dehydration.
More serious conditions associated with dehydration. Among the worst are diabetes and cancer. Please beware. Diabetes, especially, seems to be associated with dehydration in our experience. Many diabetics love coffee, which does not hydrate the body and actually can dehydrate it severely if one drinks enough. By some mechanism this appears to trigger diabetes.
Kidney stones may also develop in those who do not drink enough water. Another common condition is a feeling of fatigue and toxicity. This will often subside immediately when one drinks more water.
HOW TO HYDRATE THE BODY
Three factors are essential for proper hydration:
1. The correct type of drinking water. The only types of water that I have found that can adequately hydrate the human body today are most natural spring waters, steam distilled water or some tap water (preferably carbon filtered). I know this is a highly controversial idea, as many people drink purified drinking water from machines that use reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis does not hydrate the body well. I am not sure why, but this is the case. To avoid dehydration, please avoid reverse osmosis water or any beverage prepared with reverse osmosis water. These include “purified water”, “drinking water”, and many beverages such as bottled teas, sodas, designer waters, sparkling waters or others that are made with reverse osmosis water. This is often listed on the label, but not necessarily. Brands such as Dasani Water and Agua Fina are made with reverse osmosis and should be avoided. Water machines at supermarkets and health food stores, and most water stores also prepare their water using reverse osmosis and should be avoided.
The problem with reverse osmosis water cannot be fixed, to my knowledge, by boiling it, adding minerals to it, or anything else that I have seen. I wish this were not so. The plastic membrane apparently damages the water in a subtle way that is not easy to repair.
Caution: Distilled water should be consumed only for three to six months. The reason is that it lacks minerals and it will eventually begin to leach vital minerals from the body. Most people are already highly mineral-deficient and it will make the situation worse.
Also, avoid the use of most home water distillers. Unfortunately, they do not remove most volatile organic chemicals in the water, and these dangerous chemicals could be concentrated more by these machines. In our experience, a better solution is to buy distilled water in the plastic jugs in the supermarket or other outlets. The industrial distilling equipment seems to do a better job at cleaning up the water. The plastic residues appears to be much less of a problem than the volatile organics in many city water supplies or wells. For much more on which water to drink and why, read Water For Drinking on this website.
2. The right amount of drinking water. Adults need at least three quarts every single day of drinking water. Children need proportionately less. One may make mild teas with this water, but no other beverages are acceptable as substitutes for three quarts of drinking water daily. Preferably do not add sweeteners or even lemon or other fruits to this water, as all contain some sugars and other minerals that can interfere with the hydrating effect of the water.
3. Avoidance of all substances and activities that dehydrate the body. These include:
Š Sugary foods and beverages of all kinds. They might include soda pop, lemonade, all fruit juices, or adding sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, cane juice or other natural sweeteners except stevia to any beverage or food. A small amount of sugar is probably okay, but more is definitely harmful for proper hydration. This may occur because sugar has an osmotic effect on the body tissues.
Š Caffeine. Common sources include sodas, energy drinks, and coffees or teas if one has more than one cup daily. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that might dehydrate the body if eaten in large quantities.
Š Alcohol in all forms. Often the most contaminated alcohol products are wine and sweetened wine coolers.
Š Some prescription and over-the-counter medications. The most obvious are diuretics. These include thiazides, spironolactone and others. Many over-the-counter drugs contain some sugars or caffeine. A few contain a large quantity of caffeine including some aspirin preparations and others.
Š Other factors that can contribute to dehydration. These are living in a warm or dry climate, doing a lot of physical labor or vigorous exercise, especially out of doors or in the sun, sunbathing, taking saunas, or even just spending a lot of time out of doors in the sunshine.
HOW TO DRINK THREE QUARTS OF WATER DAILY
Rule #1. Drink one quart of water, or close to it, before breakfast. Once you are in the habit, this is easier than it may sound. When you wake up, sit comfortably in the living room, perhaps watch the TV or read, and drink a quart-size bottle of warm water before you have breakfast and preferably before even dressing or showering. This will make a great deal of difference.
Drinking water early in the morning is excellent to start your day for other reasons, as well. It often will induce a bowel movement, especially if the water is warm or hot. It will also enable you to begin your day in a peaceful rather than a rushed manner. It also allows you to catch up on the news, perhaps, and settle down before rushing off to work or school. It might mean getting up earlier, but that is not a bad idea as long as you go to bed early enough to obtain 9 full hours of sleep or even more.
Rule #2. Bring water with you wherever you go. Carry small plastic bottles in the car, in your briefcase or on your person when going to work, to school, on social outings, shopping and everywhere else. Ideally, keep a stock of small, convenient spring or distilled water bottles in your car, preferably in a cooler if your car will become very hot during the day. Also, keep these at your desk at work, or wherever you spend your day. If you are at home, do the same thing, keeping bottles of drinking water prominently positioned in the house where you can see them and you are reminded to drink.
Rule #3. Do not skip your water breaks. I find that people find all sorts of excuses why they are too busy, distracted or just lazy and forgot to drink water one day. Set timers every hour, if needed, or do whatever it takes so you are not distracted or become lazy about this.