Water: It’s Importance for the Human Body
Water is the single most important nutrient for the human body. The human body is mainly comprised of water or about 2/3 of the body’s weight.. In order for a person to obtain optimal health he should consume at least half of his body’s weight in water/day. Water is necessary for health at the cellular level.
I. Why we need water
A. Most bodily functions require water
5. Plays key role in carrying nutrients to body’s cells
a. removes waste products from the body’s cells
1. all cells produce metabolic waste products of some form-
aa. lactic acid, urea, uric acid to name a few
2. water flushes them out to be removed through the bloodstream and excretory organs
B. Water is the primary constituent of all the fluids in the body
1. saliva 6. blood
2. gastric juice 7. synovial fluid (lubricates the joints)
3. bile 8. nucleus pulposus-composition of a spinal disc
4. pancreatic juice
5. Intestinal secretions 9. cartilage which covers the joints (80% water)
C. Water’s role in lung function
1. greater oxygen intake of the lung is achieved through well moistened lung tissue
2. greater excretion of carbon dioxide can be achieved when lung tissue is properly moist
D. Proper water intake improves
1. blood pressure (in persons 6. gastrointestinal problems
2. high cholesterol levels 7. hiatal hernias
3. obesity 8. headaches
4. diabetes 9. angina
5. asthma 10. allergies
E. Water can slow the aging process!!!
1. carrying nutrients to the cells and removing the cell’s waste products keeps the vitality of the cell, promoting good health at the cellular level!
F. To maintain healthy kidney function adequate amounts of water are required
II. When Should We Drink Water?
A Water should not be taken during meals as it interferes with digestion.
1. Drinking up to 30 minutes prior to eating your meals is recommended
2. Resume drinking 1 ½ -2 hours after a meal
3. Upon rising from sleep, 8-16 ounces of water should start the day
III. Is All Water the Same?
A. Water (and food) is the most common source of parasite-based illness
1. Yes, tap water can be contaminated with parasitic organisms
a. Increasing development of recreational areas along the nations reservoirs that supply public drinking water
b. organisms that are resistant to chlorination (most common chemical treatment used for water purification in municipal water supplies)
c. organisms readily pass through the municipal system’s filters.
1. (about 8,000 trophozoites can fit on the head of a pin)
d. Iodine-based compounds can destroy them but may make the water unpalatable (and/or poisonous) (certainly potentially harmful to allergic/sensitive individuals
e. The EPA doesn’t enforce regulations and make violators pay or clean up their act
1. 86% of small water systems in the U.S. have violated drinking regulations
f. Cryptosporidium was found in NY’s municipal system
g. acanthamoeba found in tap water and has been known to cause severe eye infections in contact lens wearers who wash their contact lenses in the infected water (pain and inflammation around the cornea. If left untreated can produce a corneal ulcer) Often misdiagnosed.
2. Spring water can be contaminated too
a. Giardia has been found in the waters of the Cascade, Sierra, Rocky, Pacific Northwest & Appalachian mountains
b. Pollution, acid rain, animal feces
3. Vegetables and fruits that have been washed with contaminated water also pose the threat of parasitic invasion (see recipe for safe cleaning)
B. Boiling and filtration are only sure ways to kill many microscopic parasites
1. boil at a rolling boil for at least 10 minutes
2. micron filters are also reliable
a. filter must be fine- no greater than 3 microns in size
The EPA estimates that 90% of the world’s fresh water is contaminated and unsuitable for drinking. The days of kneeling down on a hike and sipping from the stream are long gone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because water looks clear or tastes good that it is free of contaminants. That includes frozen water, which can house hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium for months.
There are many options for purifying the water, but this post will compare commercial products that rely on halogen chemical treatments.
Polar Pure – contains iodine crystals, has an almost indefinite shelf life if kept tightly sealed, and very inexpensive per dose cost, requires measuring the dosage using the cap (which can be imprecise).
Potable Aqua – contains iodine tablets, shelf life of up to four years if properly stored – if they’ve turned a light green don’t use, moderately expensive per dose cost, easy to administer doses (two tablets per quart of water).
Micropur MP1 – contains chlorine dioxide tablets, has a shelf life of at least four years, moderately expensive per dose cost, and comes in easy to administer doses (one tablet per quart of water).
Simple household bleach – 2 drops per quart of water (assuming a a bleach solution of 5-6% hypochlorite), may wish to double the dose for cloudy water, shelf life of bleach is only about 6 months, must use a dropper to administer dose, very inexpensive per dose cost.
Tincture of iodine – 5 drops per quart (assuming a 2% iodine solution), may wish to double the dose for cloudy water, almost indefinite shelf life if properly stored, must use a dropper to administer dose, modest per dose cost.
All of the methods are effective at killing bacteria, somewhat effective against viruses, and of limited value against protozoa cysts. Cryptosporidium in particular is resistant to halogen treatments.
Most treatments only require 30 minutes. However, very cold water (i.e., less than 40 degrees F) should be allowed to sit for 2 or more hours, or be treated with a double dose.
As far as taste, all will introduce some chemical taste into the water. In a very unscientific taste test of chemical treatment methods, my own family concluded that iodine-treated water was by far the worst smelling and tasting, bleach-treated was second, and water treated with Micropur MP1 ready-to-use tablets was the least objectionable.
IF YOU USE DISTILLED WATER YOU MUST ADD BACK THE MINERALS WHICH WERE STRIPPED FROM IT DURING THE DISTILLATION PROCESS. IF YOU DON’T WHAT HAPPENS IS THE WATER WILL LEACH IT FROM YOUR BODY TISSUES AND BONES AND TEETH…OUCH!
Finally, you can add Kool-aid to treated water to help the taste. Not only will it help to mask the chemical taste, but the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) converts the chlorine or iodine to tasteless chloride and iodide.
Written by Arthur Bradley, author of “Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family.”