Water and Health

The human body consists of about 75% water. Water has many different functions in our body, it is in every cell, every function and in all of our body fluids. Saliva, gastric juice, the lymphatic system and our blood are just some of the bodily fluids dependent upon water. The transport of nutrients, metabolic waste products and respiratory gases are among its other dependents. In fact, all chemical reactions in the body need water, including thermoregulation (sweating) which needs it for its maintenance. So without water, we cannot live!

After drinking water, we see an increase in essential functions like blood circulation of the skin and the flow rate of red blood cells. Because one bodily function is directly linked to another, through the increased flow rate of red blood cells, there is an improvement in the oxygenation of the skin, and this in turn continuously increases metabolic activity. In this example, we see the importance of water as a starting point for the healthy operation of these functions.

Moreover, if you drink enough water, the brain is also fully efficient. A fluid loss of only 2% can lead to serious restrictions of both physical and mental performance. However, the demand for water is different and dependent on the energy expenditure and on environmental temperatures. A rule of thumb says that you should drink a litre of water per 25 kilograms (kg) of body weight. Exceptions here are people who only have one kidney and people with heart problems. Otherwise, you can always check whether you have drunk enough water by looking at the colour of your urine. It is important that your urine is bright and clear; if it is a dark yellow, this means that you are not drinking enough water.

Lack of water in the body can rapidly lead to serious damage to one’s health. Water deficiency can stop urinary metabolites from being excreted by the body, which may then result in renal failure. It can lead to constipation and other serious problems like lack of concentration, headaches, decreased physical performance, and particularly in the elderly, it may lead to confusion. At worst, it may cause a circulatory failure. The demand for water will increase during physical exertion, during exercise or through high temperatures, and insufficient intake can lead to fevers, vomiting and diarrhoea. During pregnancy and lactation, water intake must also be increased.

by Elif Cermen Erdogmus


Image: 123rf.com [ Marek Uszynski ]