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How much water should you drink per day?-by Dr Harold Gunatillake

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How much water should you drink per day?-by Dr Harold Gunatillake


“Thirst is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to make sure that we drink an adequate amount of fluids but not too much”

First, let us discuss why you need to drink water a fair quantity daily. Water’s role as a solvent helps cells transport and use substances like oxygen and nutrients. It is an essential constituent within the living cells because it is directly involved in many biological reactions like photosynthesis and respiration. Without water each cell could not move waste and biproducts, take nutrients, perform intracellular transportation, functioning and signaling.

Water makes 60-75% of human body weight. A loss of 4% water leads to dehydration, and a loss of 15% can be fatal. One could survive for weeks without food but without water one couldn’t survive for more than 3 days.

Hydration is not fully understood by many. It is important for our bodies really function best with adequate water balance. All organs in your body including cells and tissues require water in the right proportion to work your muscles, heart, kidneys and others.

Body tends to lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion, and it is important to drink adequate mount to rehydrate through drinking and eating foods. There are many healthful hydrating foods to hydrate your body in addition to drinking water. Such choices are cucumber, Iceberg lettuce, Celery, tomatoes among others.

That reveals that you should drink a fair amount of water daily. Now what is that fair quantity? And that what’s we are discussing today.

Drinking adequate amount of water daily helps regulate the internal body temperature. On hot days you sweat, i.e., a way of evaporating the heat through water to cool the body.

Your joints need to be lubricated for painless movements, and water seems to aid in the lubricating and cushioning of the joints.

Glucosamine taken for arthritis of joints seem to act that way, i.e., the glucosamine assists in the lubrication of the dry arthritic joints and relieves pain.

Water does more than quenching your thirst and regulation of body temperature as other cellular functions mentioned earlier.

Some organs in your body like your eyes, nose or mouth gets dried in dehydration, and by drinking water these organs you keep them at optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and brain.

Water helps to protect your spin al cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints. So, how much water do you need to drink a day?

Good hydration by drinking water and foods containing adequate water can improve your mood, sleep and overall health and wellness.

Harvard School of Public Health points out, good hydration keeps the body functioning properly, lubricates joints, and regulates body temperature. The university also notes that good hydration helps you sleep better, think more clearly, and even puts you in a better mood!

In general, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest that each day women get a total of about 2.7 liters (L), or 11 cups, of fluid and men get about 3.7 L (16 cups). Not all of that fluid has to be water intake; other beverages and the fluid in whole, nutrient-rich foods count as well.

Compared with women, men seems to need more fluid because they have higher body mass and lower body fat, and they burn more calories each day.

You need to drink or sip water gradually through out the day without flooding by gulping a lot at once. Drinking too much of water is referred to as water intoxication, could lower the sodium, which can cause tissue cells to swell referred to as hyponatremia. Hyponatremia could be life-threatening, as the brain can’t accommodate such intense swelling resulting in neurological issues or even death. This condition occurs when the blood sodium drops below 135 milliequivalent per litre. The normal blood sodium level is 135 to 145 mEq/L.

Some medications can cause hyponatremia and interfere with hormones and kidney function, such as diurteics or antidepressants.

Certain heart and liver conditions can also lower your blood sodium levels. Chronic diarrhea and severe vomiting also can cause hyponatremia.

Hormonal changes, such as adrenal gland insufficiency or low levels of thyroid hormone, can cause hyponatremia.

Symptoms of hyponatremia are: nausea or vomiting, headache, bloating, swollen hands and feet. Do not mix this swelling to oedema of feet you get due to water clogging due to excess sodium in your body due to heart failure and other causes.

You could get muscle cramps and tiredness due to hyponatremia.

Dieting and certain diets may contribute to dehydration. Some popular eating plans, like the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting can increase the risk for dehydration. When you cut down on your carbs you end up releasing and passing water. The body goes into its glycogen storage breakdown ending up losing more water from such diets.

Even Atkins Diet, a popular low carb diet, can lead to dehydration

High-protein diets, such as the Dukan diet and paleo diet, have become increasingly popular ways to lose weight. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein, these plans call for more.

The downside, experts suggest, is that high-protein diets could lead to dehydration.

When you consume large amounts of proteins in these diets can lead to loss of excess nitrogen from breakdown of proteins, with fluids and water.

According to the Haward T.H.Chan School of Public Health, dehydration can contribute to urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

Feeling thirsty is a sign of early dehydration, but you could feel thirsty for other reasons, such as eating spicy food and diabetes, certain medications.

Dark urine on micturition may be a sign of dehydration.

Inadequate sleep can dehydrate you. A study published in February 2019 in the journal Sleep found that people who slept six hours each night were more dehydrated than those who regularly slept eight. A potential reason? Scientists point to the disruption of vasopressin, a hormone released at night that helps your body maintain its hydration status. If you feel off after a short night of sleep, rehydrate in the morning.

There are many guidelines about how much to drink. Krieger instructs clients to take their body weight in pounds (lb), divide this number in half, and drink that many ounces (oz) in fluids, including water, each day. (If you are 140 lb, that’s 70 oz of fluids, which is the equivalent of almost nine cups of fluids.) That also depends on your activity level, if you’re out in the heat, or if you’re pregnant, nursing, or ill — all factors that require you to increase hydration. Similarly, water intake recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest men drink at least 13 (8 oz) cups of fluids per day and that women aim for 9 (8 oz) cups of fluids or more.

It is advisable to drink a glass or two of water as you get up and then drink your coffee. A cup of coffee may not dehydrate you.

Water also helps in your weight management. Drinking a cup of water before a meal can help you feel more full and help prevent overeating.

It may also be better if it’s iced. A small study on men in the European Journal of Nutrition in January 2019 found that participants who drank two cups of iced water at 35 degrees F ate less food compared with groups that drank warm or hot water, as the chilly temp slows digestion and may help reduce appetite.

Drinking iced water can lose a few calories when it gets warmer your stomach.

Respiratory illnesses like COVID -19 makes hydration important

“Any health issue that increases fluid excretion — such as vomiting, diarrhea, or increased sweating from fever — increases fluid needs,” says Malkani. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, COVID-19 may cause those symptoms and others. If you have the respiratory illness, swig more fluid than you normally would to replace what you’ve lost, advises Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Researchers also hypothesize that drinking enough water may help prevent or improve COVID-19 outcomes, as noted in an article published in November 2020 in Medical Hypotheses. That said, more studies are needed on the possible association between inadequate hydration and COVID-19 infection and severity.

Keeping your body hydrated with water, beverages and foods and fruits containing more water is the way to go for better health and wellness.

Hope this video talk was useful. Stay safe and goodbye for now.



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