What if water, plain and simple, was the most critically lacking substance for energy and health promotion in the modern lifestyle?
Some years ago, I read the late Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj’s marvelous book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, first published in 1992 and more recently updated in 2008. Here this Iranian-American physician made and makes a strong case that chronic low grade and usually unrecognizeddehydration affects most of us in the West, attuned as we are to avoiding water as a beverage and too often choosing dehydrating caffeinated and sweetened drinks that only contribute to the problem. After all, caffeine is a well-known diuretic, as is sugar. We may think when we imbibe sodas, coffee, energy drinks, or for the healthier among us, even herbal teas, that we are in effect ingesting adequate “water.” But as Dr. Batmanghelidj points out, such intake only makes dehydration worse, causing a greater water loss overall than we take in. For example, for every 10 ounces of a caffeinated beverage, be it coffee, black tea, soda pop or an “energy” drink, we can lose up to 12 ounces of water, a loss contributing to, not resolving, low grade chronic dehydration. Even the healthy favorites of non-caffeinated herbal teas dehydrate, due to the complex combination of diuretic molecules in the brew as well as the osmotic effect.
After reading this book and the several that followed, I began to suspect that many of my patients, often diagnosed with life threatening malignancies and other serious degenerative diseases, appeared to be chronically dehydrated, though virtually none expressed any sensation of thirst. Many, when first starting treatment with me, acknowledged that they never drank any water at all, relying instead, and mistakenly, on a variety of other beverages including dehydrating herbal teas they assumed provided for all water needs. For many years I have routinely recommended my patients drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water a day in addition to whatever other liquids they might ingest such as the recommended vegetable juices. More recently, after giving greater thought to the subject, I have been recommending now 8-10 glasses a day, along with one half teaspoon of good quality sea salt, such as Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt. And, I have been surprised by the unexpected results.