Pure water is the second most essential nutrient for human life. Water plays a crucial role in every function of your body. It is the master waterway that carries nutrients to all your cells, carries waste products away from the cells, and transports hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and other essential components to and from their correct destinations.
Your body is made up of about 25% solid matter and about 75% water. Your brain is about 85% water. If you do not take in enough water every day, parts of your body become dehydrated. This does not always result in your becoming thirsty. The parts of your body that begin to lack enough water to adequately perform their normal functions will produce varying signs, symptoms, and problems. Most of us either ignore, misinterpret, or label these as a disease. This is well documented in a book entitled
Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty!, Don't Treat Thirst with Medications!, a Preventive and Self-Education Manual
by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
Your body naturally prioritizes which nutrients go to which glands and organs based upon keeping you alive and functioning as well as possible for as long as possible. Also, since water is at least as essential as any other nutrient to your survival, it is very easy to understand how and why your body would reduce its supply of available water to certain areas to insure an adequate supply to other areas if it is not receiving enough for all areas at once. This explains why you could feel symptoms from lack of water that may not be immediately recognized as water deficiency.
Many of the symptoms caused by dehydration are due to excessive amounts of histamine being produced to help your body make up for a low water situation. The rise in histamine directs other parts of your body to take in more water and redistribute it based upon your prioritized survival system. Histamine and its water regulators, such as prostaglandins, can cause you to feel pain.
Some of the more common problems that may be caused or worsened by localized de-hydration, and which respond well to re-hydration, are:
- Excess weight
- Ulcer pain
- Stomach pain and inflammation
- Middle and lower bowel pain and inflammation
- Joint (rheumatoid) pain, back pain, neck pain and leg pains when walking
- Poor sleep
- Anxiety and stress
- High blood pressure
We all grow up taking our plentiful and "pure" water supply for granted. You become used to just turning on the faucet or going to the nearest water fountain. Unfortunately, this is a mistaken assumption. In an October 1, 1985 Wall Street Journal article by Robert E. Taylor entitled "New Tests for Drinking Water Quality Raise Concerns about Federal Standards," it was stated, "In general, people assume their drinking water is safe because there are standards and because local systems test for contaminants.... But what they don't know is that the water systems don't test for the carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals that are being found."
Later in the article, Mr. Taylor says "...there are indications that the pollution problem is growing. Wells have been closed in at least half the states. Contributors to pollution lurk everywhere: septic tanks, gas tanks, animal feedlots, and industrial chemical dumps. No state is immune: Even in Hawaii, pesticides have tainted parts of its water supply."
To date, over 70,000 different water contaminants have been identified. These include:
NOTE: Any well with a pump installed before 1983, or that is less than 60 feet deep, should be tested for PCBs and other organic compounds.|
- Biological impurities such as bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic parasites as well as dissolved organic compounds, including PCBs and other halogenated compounds.
- Heavy metal salts, such as lead and mercury dissolved gases (primarily radon in private wells) such as
fluorine and chlorine
- Suspended solid particles such as asbestos fibers.
On average, we each use about 100 gallons of water every day. That includes 25 to 50 gallons of water for a shower, roughly 7 gallons for every toilet flush, about 2 gallons for brushing teeth, and up to 20 gallons for washing dishes.
Over 90 percent of this country's drinking water supply comes from underground sources such as springs and aquifers. Since a significant portion of underground storage tank leaks gasoline and other chemicals, it is not surprising that at least 40 percent of all ground water contamination comes from these leaking underground tanks. Another 50 percent, at least, of the pollutants in your drinking water comes from runoff. This is not only from farms but also from urban and suburban lawns and streets. Toxic waste sites are an obvious source of ground water contamination. In addition, lead in plumbing, as well as other contaminants from different types of plumbing, are a constant source of water pollution.
If you feel safe with your well or spring, you may need to think again. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately half the water supplies in rural areas contain hazardous substances and that, of these, 20 percent are "grossly contaminated." There are no drinking water standards for rural wells. Laws for public water quality and safety do not apply to private wells.
The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 established maximum contaminant levels for 26 contaminants, including specific micro-biological organisms, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, and radio-nucleotides. Amendments passed in 1986 added maximum contaminant levels for 57 more contaminants, followed by another 25 in 1991. These standards are violated thousands of times across the country every year. The states and federal government do little to enforce them. In addition, this list of 108 contaminants is minuscule compared to the more than 70,000 potentially hazardous substances that can be contaminating your drinking water supplies.
Things You Can Do To Improve The Quality of Your Water
- If your water comes from a public water supply, leave your drinking water in a pitcher in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Most of the chlorine will evaporate. Alternatively, you can boil your water for 15 minutes.
- Better yet, buy an activated, compressed carbon water filter. The one we use most at home is the PUR 18 cup water dispenser. The one we use at work is the Aquasana countertop water filter system.
Shower head filters help prevent most pollutants in water, especially chlorine and fluorine, from being absorbed through your skin. Since whatever you put on your skin goes directly into your body, you should never put anything on your skin you would not put in your mouth. The shower filter we use and like most is made by Aquasana.
- More elaborate water filtration systems for home can be more expensive but also more effective. Prices can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The best ones not only filter your water of contaminants but also change the pH to more alkaline. If you decide to purchase one of these, shop carefully. There is no need to spend extra for "bells and whistles" you do not need. Just be sure it filters reasonable amounts of water in reasonable time frames and has adjustable pH settings.
- Bottled water, if you are sure of its purity and quality, is another option instead of tap water. Research your bottled water choices carefully. Many contain more than tap water sold at inflated prices.
- Ultraviolet water treatment systems are excellent for eliminating micro-organisms and parasites from your water supply. These devices can be quite expensive if installed on a whole house water system.
Distillation is another way to destroy micro-organisms and parasites. Distillers, however, can be expensive for producing enough water for an entire family. In addition, some questions exist as to their effectiveness in removing toxic chemicals. Beneficial minerals are lost when water is distilled. Also, distilled water may not be the best choice for improving and maintaining health. Fish can not live in distilled water.
- Yet another way to rid your water supply of micro-organisms and parasites is reverse osmosis. These can also be expensive to buy and maintain. Some beneficial minerals are lost with reverse osmosis. It may not be the best for maintaining health since the water it produces will not keep fish alive.
- Treating water with Ozone is a common practice in some parts of the world. This is a very effective but somewhat costly alternative initially. It is a definite replacement consideration for whole house, community, or city water purification systems. It definitely rids your water of bacteria, viruses and other organisms but requires a pre-filter to eliminate chlorine, fluorine and other problems.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps restore and maintain optimal health. If you perspire heavily most of the day, you may need to drink up to half your body weight in ounces of pure, high mineral content, high alkaline pH water. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you might need to drink up to 80 ounces (10, eight ounce glasses) of water each day. Freshly made vegetable and fruit juices are great for you and count toward your daily water requirement. Other drinks, such as pop, coffee, tea, and bottled, canned, or frozen juices, do not count.
Some people say they can not tolerate drinking plain water. This is usually because they have never had clean, healthy water to drink. When you provide your body with pure, high mineral content, high alkaline pH water, you will invariably find an increase in your body's desire and tolerance for water. If you still find difficulty drinking water, try adding fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice to each glass of water. Begin with one, 8 ounce glass of water one-half hour to one hour before each meal every day. Gradually increase your water intake until you can comfortably take in your optimal daily amount.
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