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Hydration for Optimal Health

Dr. Carol Layton, DMD, MAGD, AIAOMT, NMD

Water is the foundation of all forms of life on Earth, but how often we forget about this basic ingredient for optimal health and well-being. Not only is it necessary for physical health, but also our emotional health. The Integrative Medicine Department of the University of Michigan places water at the very bottom—the foundation—of the food pyramid. Most people can survive three weeks without adequate food, but only three days without good water. The human body is about 75 percent water and the brain is 85 percent water; therefore, the brain is extremely sensitive to dehydration.

Water is not just the simple substance that we take for granted, but the importance of good, clean water cannot be overemphasized. According to Dr. Gerald Pollack, of the University of Washington, there is a gel-like fourth phase of water, that comprises the engine in our cells and the fluid between them. Water dissolves and circulates both nutrients and toxins, the most important function of our bodies.

During the hot summer months, good water and adequate hydration are very important, especially for older adults, and a dry mouth or feeling thirsty is a poor indicator of the need for water. Dehydration begins in the body before it ever shows up in the mouth. The manifestation can first show as fatigue for no apparent reason, feeling flushed, feeling anxious, irritable or even depressed. The body then goes into drought mode and other physical symptoms may appear, such as asthma, allergies, hypertension, constipation or autoimmune diseases as the body tries to manage what resources it has to function.

A major problem currently is the erroneous idea that any fluid can replace the water needs of the body. This is one of the reasons for chronic unintentional dehydration. Our body needs clean water; nothing else will do, not coffee, tea, soda, juice, alcohol or other processed beverages. We lose water every day via breathing, movement, perspiration and elimination.

Dehydration can become fatal when as little as 9 to 12 percent of the body’s weight is lost in water. People should all carry a water bottle and drink even when they do not feel thirsty. Non-fluoridated, natural, spring water is what the body asks for every day. Be kind and give it what it needs.

Dr. Carol Layton, DMD, MAGD, AIAOMT, NMD, practices at Hershey Dental Associates located at 273 Hershey Dr., Hummelstown. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 717-220-1792.

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