Well, if it’s tap water, none in my opinion – unless of course you are filtering it (or have no other source of cleaner, purer water). I highly recommend you drink filtered water. But you know that from my previous article already.
So what’s the right amount of water you should drink on a daily basis? Eight, 8-ounce glasses, right? You probably all know, that has been the recommendation for as long as we can remember. Where did that come from anyway? I haven’t found anyone how knows, and frankly, I’m not going to look because I completely disagree.
Let’s think about that, though. Eight, 8-ounce glasses for everyone. OK, well what if I weigh 200 lbs. and my brother weighs 100 lbs.? Should we still consume the same amount of water. Even if we narrow down the weight range; does it make sense that everyone should have the same amount? Wouldn’t a recommendation based on weight (and activity) be more appropriate. That makes the most sense to me. How are prescription medicines dosed? Well, there really is no standardization I know of. However, “body surface area” which includes measurements of weight and height is often considered reasonable. So what about for water?
Well, first of all, please avoid listening to a lot of information out there, when it pertains to what we “need”. What we need can always be construed to the bare minimum. So tomorrow, you might not need to drink any water to survive (if that’s the “need” I’ve been reading about). I talk about what can bring out the potential to optimal health. I am not going to elaborate on comments or sources of information from the “need” point of view, to save us all time.
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for water – our most important “nutrient”. Not to say that RDA’s of vitamins and minerals are perfectly accurate and even useful (esp. if you’re trying to use a nutrient therapeutically). Some day we can talk about RDAs, let’s stick with water. Here is what one of the most prominent source(s) I found has to say about water intake.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reviewed The Food and Nutrition Board’s report. The report contains these statements in quotes: “The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.” They said that these recommendations represent adequate intake levels. However, they acknowledged that physically active people or those in hot climates might need more water. Additionally, they go on to say that 80 percent of people’s total intake comes from drinking water and other beverages (including caffeinated ones), with the rest from food.
Furthermore, the report says: “We don’t offer any rule of thumb based on how many glasses of water people should drink each day because our hydration needs can be met through a variety of sources in addition to drinking water”. This is quoted from Lawrence Appel, the chair of the panel of the report. He is a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and international health at Johns Hopkins University. To conclude, he says that people get adequate amounts of water from normal drinking behavior, other beverages, and food – and by letting thirst be their guide. Here is another source that I used.
Guess what? I disagree, partially.
First, to include caffeinated beverages as a source of water intake is a bad idea. Isn’t it a diuretic you ask? Well the scientific jury is still out on this one. Anyway, they say 80 percent of total intake from drinking water and other (perhaps caffeinated) beverages. Hmmm, so is 10 percent drinking water, 70 percent caffeinated beverages, and 20 percent from food OK? Not quite from my perspective based on what I see in patients, and myself. Even if you use a variation of the ratios, I still feel caffeinated beverages should not be included in your total amount of daily drinking water.
Second, you obviously get water from foods, but personally that doesn’t sit well with me either (sorry, no science on that).
Third, even though the report takes into account activity levels and climate; they still don’t address the size of the person. That’s unacceptable to me, and hopefully to you. It really seems like a no-brainer.
I do however like the actual number they gave – approximately “91” and “125” ounces daily – BUT I would say from pure drinking water ONLY. Generally, I’ll tell patients that a good amount of PURE WATER (not even “lemon” water) is at least half of your body weight (in lbs.) in ounces per day; and sometimes it’s more ideal to drink 1 liter (33.8 ounces) for every 50 lbs. of body weight. This is what I see works best for my patients and myself. To re-iterate, for a 150 lb. person, that translates into either 75 oz. or 101.4 oz. depending on which measurement you use.
I won’t go into all the necessary body functions of water, they are too extensive. And the need for optimal intake is too obvious if you ask me. One reason is because roughly 60 percent of your entire body is composed of water. Some functions I would stress though, are: flushing of toxins, transport of nutrients, lubrication of body parts (e.g.: ear canal, nasal passages, throat, etc.), and regular bowel movements.
Another important point to consider is the rate at which you drink water. If you drink too much too soon, your kidneys will simply flush it out, before it can get absorbed. So space it out accordingly. And, I wouldn’t wait until you get thirsty – I feel it’s a bit late then. Let’s maintain water status, not go refilling it when we’re low. Also, your urine should be straw-colored or light yellow; not clear or darker yellow. That would be imperceptible if you are taking vitamin B2 (riboflavin) though, it will fluoresce your urine. Riboflavin is often in mulit-vitamins and b-complex supplements also. Lastly, please take note of your physical activity and how much you perspire; as you know, these will certainly increase your needs.
Here’s a good experiment. If you have dry skin, without an underlying condition (e.g.: hypothyroidism), try and see if increasing your water intake (over several days to a week) solves it. It works everytime for me, along with chapped lips.
By the way, there are other reasons you may not absorb water properly which could easily go unnoticed without obvious reasons that include (but are not limited to) sodium reserves/intake and adrenal (stress) gland function. We’ll talk about those situations another time.
I’ll close with this — would you (and your cells) rather be a raisin, a prune, or a grape?
Thanks for visiting and see you soon!
Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology