water -

Why is Water so important?

We hear all the time that water is so important for our hydration, but why?  Why do we need to stay so hydrated?  How does it all work?

Did you know that the human body is primarily made up of water?  Infants are made up of about 70% water, while men are around 65% and women 60%  (this slight difference in adults is mainly due to men generally having greater muscle volume, which holds more blood/water)

Water is the principal content of blood, it helps move food through your digestive tract and helps rid waste cells in your body.

Every adult should be drinking not less than 2L of water per day to enable the body to function and replace what is lost through metabolism.  This does not include what you may sweat out during exercise!

 

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are the collective name for minerals in the body - potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and chloride.  Water provides a medium for these electrolytes to circulate throughout the body. Without these electrolytes, glucose and amino acids cannot move in and out of the cell.

 

Hydration

Water hydrates the body by serving as a lubricant to moisten joints, and also protects your eyes, brain and spinal cord. Your digestive system uses water for vital fluids such as blood, saliva and digestive fluids to aid in the transportation of nutrients and removal of waste products. Water helps move your food through your intestines, which is important in preventing constipation.

 

Acid-Base Balance

Water helps regulate pH balance in your body. Water is neutral -- neither acidic, or low pH, nor basic, or high pH. The concentration of hydrogen in the body creates an acidic or basic level in your blood and organs. Water allows free hydrogen ions to move in and out of blood, cells and water to maintain the pH of your body, which is around 7.4.

 

Dehydration

Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated?  Minor to moderate dehydration will present as thirst, inability to urinate, dizziness and confusion. 

More severe complications can include urinary and kidney issues or even kidney failure. 

Severe dehydration will stop you from sweating, which can lead to the body overheating causing heatstroke. 

Dehydration can cause a decrease in electrolytes from travelling throughout the body, which in turn involuntary muscle contractions, seizures and unconsciousness.

In extreme dehydration, a significant drop in your blood plasma can cause your total blood volume to decrease, which drops your blood pressure - aka, Hypovolemic Shock.  This causes a decrease in oxygen supply around the body and is life threatening!

 

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, please ensure that you are keeping your water levels up!