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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Drink more water Please! (Updated)

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Drink, drink, drink!

That's the message we hear time and time again from the sports fitness industry and the commercial interests that have a vested interest in promoting the sales of bottled water and sports drinks. They tell us that the key to health and longevity is to drink more water, but is this really true?

The problem is, when dealing with people face-to-face about their health is I just can not see a connection between how much water one drinks and health. The opposite might be the case: The more water one drinks, the more likely there are chronic health issues like lack of energy, weight gain, weak bones, aching joints and muscles and so on. How could this be? The following is some informed, healthy speculation:

The answer may be to do with distortion of the delicate salt balance within each cell. There are 12 "Cell Salts" found inside the cell (Referred to as the "salts of Schussler"): Sodium phosphate, sodium, sulphate, sodium chloride, potassium phosphate, potassium sulphate, potassium chloride, calcium phosphate, calcium sulphate, calcium fluoride, iron phosphate and silicon dioxide.

Too little of any of these salts, or an imbalance, and the health of the cell is compromised and this shows as failing energy and eventual ill health of all descriptions.

The modern diet lacks most of these salts while supplying enormous amounts of sodium chloride. Tissue salts are lost daily through the urine, sweat and the shedding of skin and hair. If one drinks lots of water, especially if it is distilled, precious tissue salts are flushed out of the system. Some medications, like blood pressure diuretics, accelerate this loss of tissue salts.

Water Follows Salt

If there is insufficient of any of the 12 tissue salts in the cells, the cell reduces its water content to maintain as near a healthy salt electrolyte balance as it can in these less than perfect circumstances. If there is anexcess of any of the 12 salts in relation to the others, the excess is discarded while those in short supply are retained to ensure the correct concentration is retained within the cells. This explains why the percentage hydration of the body tends to decline with age: The desperate attempts of the body to maintain a viable salt balance.

The graphs associated with this article are of people of differing age, gender, fitness and health. These are the results of "bioelectrical impedance analysis" (BIA) which allows us to work out the ratios of fat, muscle, bone and water in the body. With age, the percent water in the cells tends to decline from a healthy 60+% to 50% or even lower. But this need not be the inevitable result of ageing, as these charts indicate. Tissue dehydration is more closely associated with a diet that is deficient in the tissue salts, inactivity and ill health than age. Incidentally, all of the people graphed with tissue water 60% or greater have undergone a course of tissue salt therapy.

The answer, to me, is to have a diet that is rich in salts, as opposed to industrially processed foods that tend to be soaked in sodium chloride alone. This pretty much equates to the traditional diets of native societies as one would find in places like Samoa and Okinawa prior to the destructive influence of Western food processing. For most of us, a course in supplementing tissue salts would appear to be warranted, especially as we get older. Get this right and the water issue pretty much takes care of itself.

So, how much water should one drink to be healthy? The answer is different for each person because so much depends on size (volume), metabolism, temperature, humidity, type of activity, duration and so on. A general of thumb is to drink sufficient water daily to be peeing 3-6 times a day while not having to get up in the middle of the night due to a bursting bladder.

You can now easily monitor subtle changes in body composition (And therefore your overall state of health) and you can do this at home. All you need is a body composition analyser - The 
Salter 9106. These personal weighing scales with body composition analysis technology costs less than $100. They are remarkably accurate and consistent and use a technology that cost almost $5,000 for just a few years ago. Such is the progress of technology.

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