November 2000

This Issue


by Joseph Patrick Jakubal

Are you getting an adequate amount of vitamin C? Is it smart to increase your daily intake of protein? How much calcium do you take? I often overhear people speaking these things to each other. I wonder why no one ever talks about the all important "water"! It is certainly one of the most overlooked nutrients in our modern day society. Remember, if you are in a constant state of dehydration then you are at high risk to contract a disease or other medical problem.

In a recent survey most people realized that they should drink large amounts of water per day (8 ounces, 8 times a day) but half admitted they do not ... and, many admitted that they did not realize that the beverages they were drinking acutally decreased their total amount of water. Ironically, they were actually drinking themselves to the point of dehydration.

It is estimated that the body consists of 40-50 liters of water ... it needs approximately 3 liters per day to maintain normal functioning. One of liter is obtained from foods while the other two comes from bevarages.

It must be pointed out that 70% of out body is water and the body carries out it's processes either by way of water or in the presence of water.

A state of dehydration is evidenced by the number of people in this country who suffer from constipation.

How often a person goes to the bathroom is directly proportional to the amount of water taken ... we want to remove body waste as quickly as possible because the longer a cancer causing substance remains in contact with the walls of the bowels - the higher the risk of colon cancer.

Water also ... lubricates joints, cools the body when it is overheating, maintains a constant blood pressure/volume and contibutes to a youthful appearance by maintaining skin elasticity. Hopefully, you have never had a kidney stone ... however, if you have then you already know the advantage of drinking liberal amounts of water to prevent new ones from occuring.

Dehydration can come about by drinking alcohol. coffee, tea and colas and remember that a 20% loss of body water can be lethal.

To approximate the amount of water a person should drink on a daily basis simply take half of your weight (in pounds) and that is the number of ounces you should drink in a day. In other words ... a 200 lb person should drink 100 ounces of water per day.

For all you exercisers, if you become thirsty while working out then it means you are already beginning to dehydrate ... you can head this off at the pass by drinking a couple of glasses of water prior to your exercise routine. There are sports beverages available that replace electrolytes and carbohydrates and these should be used for very strenuous exercises that last longer than one hour.

By the way, when I speak of "water" I mean "fluids" ... juices and other liquids like soft drinks also count ... even beverages like coffee and tea (which promotes the flow of urine) provides a net gain of body fluid.

As a final note, it is possible to over hydrate, the symptoms are ... nausea, disorientation, muscle cramps and vomiting.

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