Researchers estimate that over 50 percent of the people in the United States suffer from chronic dehydration, but are unaware of this, mistaking their symptoms for illness or even overlooking them altogether.
Why is water so important to us?
To survive, we must put things into our bodies. By weight, most of what we need enters through the mouth, after which it heads for the stomach. Water makes itself immediately useful in the formation of saliva, which not only lubricates the food we eat so it can pass down the esophagus safely, but also contains enzymes that begin the digestive process before we’ve even swallowed.
Then what? How do materials from outside end up where they need to be inside us?
Water is the transportation medium throughout the body: If the nutrients in the food we eat are going to go anywhere, it is a fluid consisting almost entirely of water that will take them there. Being dehydrated means your transportation “fleet” is not fully operational.
For example, let's take an imaginary office building; think of what would happen if the shipping and receiving department were chronically understaffed. Deliveries would come in as usual, but with no one available to take them to their intended recipients, things would begin to pile up and the people counting on getting those undelivered items would be unable to perform their own duties properly.
Burning fat and alleviating chronic fatigue can sometimes be as simple as drinking more water, because energy production at the cellular level requires water.
Not enough water = not enough energy.
At the other end of this process of taking in substances, we have a biological need to take things out. Waste and toxin elimination are greatly dependent on adequate hydration. No, you couldn’t even push the gunk out of your excretory equipment without an adequate supply of water to make mucus. It would be like not having enough custodians in the building to take out the trash. Things will pile up, and in your body this can have all sorts of nasty consequences, like fecal impaction. (This is when you accumulate so much dried-out poo in your colon that you start to get sick from it.)
People suffering from constipation will usually benefit from an increased water intake. This helps directly through increasing systemic hydration and also indirectly through reducing food intake.
Strange as it may sound, people often mistake thirst for hunger. A good habit to create would be to reach for a glass of water before any snack or meal. Studies have shown that those who drink a glass of water before meals feel more satisfied and eat less. Anyone interested in controlling appetite should look to water as the first step.
To draw all this together and illustrate how vital water is to optimal organ function, let’s take a close look at our largest and most public organ.
One of the simplest ways of determining if you are adequately hydrated is by looking at your skin. While it is the largest organ by volume, it is not the first in line at our internal water tank. The first organs served by the water we ingest are the major ones that help maintain overall homeostasis, such as the heart and lungs. The kidneys are also a mjaor organ that literally depends on fluid intake. The kidneys MUST have their ration of fluid to create urine before allowing the intestines and colon to get their water, which they use to create and push along that big poo. After that the skin will get its ration. Our skin receives all the “excess” water we drink; yet water for the skin is only excess in the sense of not being critical to our immediate survival.
Adequate hydration of the skin helps to keep our dermal and epidermal layers intact (and looking beautifully full) by facilitating the creation of strong proteins and resilient collagen. If you are getting enough fluid, your skin will have a luminous quality and will look more youthful overall. The face will appear full, the legs and hands won’t be dry, the scalp won’t peel, redness and irritation will absent.
You can use all the creams and lotions on the market to hydrate the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin), but the only way to truly hydrate those deeper layers for a plumper, more youthful look is to hydrate from the bottom up. In other words, water is crucial to having beautiful looking skin.
Our skin is responsible for many different functions, with the two most important being protection and elimination. Most of us understand that our skin protects us from bacteria and other infectious agents from the outside world yet many of us are unaware that the skin plays a vital role in toxin elimination.
We have tiny pores in our skin that help us get rid of all the toxic substances that were not collected in our urine or stool. When someone has acne, severe or mild, it is almost exclusively the result of the body detoxifying itself through the skin. You could even consider pimples and blackheads as facial feces, because that’s essentially what they are.
Think of the body like a funnel: only so much waste material can pass through the bottom of the designated pathway (GI tract) at one time, so if there is an overload it will just have to come out the top of the funnel (your face).
As fluids are the means by which things get moved around inside our bodies and moved out for waste, chronic dehydration means we’ll start seeing inflammatory conditions arise due to a buildup of toxins. There are many symptoms of inflammation we could see, but in regard to the skin specifically, we risk rosacea, acne, premature wrinkles, eczema, and inordinate skin sensitivity when we’re dehydrated.
Rashes and other problems with the skin should serve as a warning that an inflammatory condition is manifesting somewhere inside your body.
*this text was taken from the book 5 Things You Can Do Now, available for $4 on Amazon