Vol. 8

No. 3


We can live weeks without food, but no more than a week without water. For health, we need a balance of fluids for all of our cells to function properly.

Our bodies consists of from 50% to 80% water. These fluids are what carry nutrients, waste products, and minerals to our cells. The fluid in our bodies can be divided into two main groups: There is fluid inside our cells (intracellular fluid) and fluid outside our cells (extracellular fluid). In a healthy person, the intracellular water should be about 40% of your total weight, and your extracellular fluid around 20% of your total weight. Fat cells do not contain a lot of water, so if you are overweight, you will have less intracellular water than a thinner person.

When you drink, water is absorbed slowly from the intestinal tract. The maximum absorption is around a quart per hour.

When you are thirsty, you are experiencing the major regulator of fluid intake. Thirst is caused by small changes in the extracellular fluid which cause the mucous membranes of the mouth to become dry.

This in turn stimulates a part of the brain to cause the sensation of thirst. Normally, the brain then monitors the amount of fluid being taken in to return the normal balance in the extracellular fluid. This, of course, is dependent on what you drink.

One of the problems we have is that, when we are thirsty, our brains are asking for water, not juice, coffee, tea, soda, beer or any other beverage.

Remember, our bodies assume that we are drinking water, not other beverages. You can easily guess what happens if you choose the wrong beverage.

If you choose to drink a diuretic such as an alcholic beverage, you will quickly become thirsty again, drinking more to attempt to bring your body back into equilibrium. Choosing alcohol products will slowly increase your need to drink in an attempt to get back into balance but, instead, will most likely lead to over-consumption of alcohol. If you choose a beverage with high sugar content, such as soda, you will take in excess calories trying to bring your body back into balance.

As you might imagine, many people do not drink enough water. If you are on the low intake side, you are more prone to constipation, kidney stones, and decreased physical performance.

There are many different formulas to determine how much water you should drink. One states that you should have from 1 to 1.5 ml of water for every calorie of food that you eat. Another states that you should simply drink from six to eight glasses per day. The problem with these and similar systems is that they do not take into account such variables as body size, outside temperature, physical activity, etc.

A simpler method states that your kidneys should be outputting urine at a specific rate. That means that, if you are taking in enough water, you should have to urinate every two to three hours during the day. If you adjust your fluid intake to maintain this rate, you should have adequate water intake to keep your body fluid levels functioning as they should.

If you do not have enough water in your body and its cells,
some of the following symptoms may occur:

Extreme thirst
Dry skin
Dry mucous membranes
Joint aches
Increased heart rate

An excellent book for further reading is ³Your Bodyıs Many Cries For Water,² by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.



  • It fills out and gives shape to cells like the skin.

  • It is part of the lubricant in our joints and our eyes.

  • It is part of the temperature regulation system via sweating.

  • It is the main component of blood and carries the cells and nutrients around the body.

  • It is essential for digestion and absorption.

  • It removes waste products from the body: urine, feces, sweat.

  • It is essential for many chemical reactions.



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Jeffrey I. Friedman, D.C.
711 D Street, Suite 104, San Rafael, California 94901-3703
(415) 459-4646

Petaluma Annex: 405 D Street, Suite 2, Petaluma, CA 94952-3006
(707) 773-0288

DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is intended to provide health information to improve quality of life and assist users to better understand their health and arrange more easily for healthcare services. It is not an attempt to replace the need to seek healthcare services nor to provide specific healthcare advice. Information provided should not be used to diagnose or dispute a qualified healthcare professional's judgement. If you have any questions, please give our office a call or check with your local healthcare professional.

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