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Water 1: Good Water, Bad Water

by Michael Cheikin MD

The topic of water is vast. Our bodies are 65% water. While our planet's surface is 70% covered by water, it only comprises 0.05% (1/2000th) of its mass.  Yet this unique substance enables the processes of life on Earth.This article will focus on the various compartments of water in our body, each with different functions. This information is valuable as it helps us measure and utilize the water within and without our body in our quest for optimal health.

Compartments and Types of Water
We keep cash in our wallet, in savings and in retirement funds. Even though it's all money, it has different roles. Some we can access readily, other types require a few steps. Some funds are stashed away for the gravest of emergencies. Likewise, the water in our body is not all the same. In fact, the MRI works because the water in each type of cell in our body is slightly different. 

Water is a "universal solvent", capable of carrying many substances within its liquid mass. The solubility of substances in water is such a dominant quality, that much of the biological world can be divided into water-soluble and water-insoluble (i.e. fat, plastic and rubber).

The cell, the basic unit of life can be simplistically depicted as a sphere of water contained by a fatty bag. Within that fatty membrane sit hormone receptors, signaling molecules, transport proteins, pores, and other structures that enable the cell to exchange substances and information with the rest of the world.  In dehydration, the cell shrinks, causing a closing-down of pores and crowding of molecules that impair several functions, at the very least excretion and detoxification. This is why increased water is necessary for any detoxification. The converse is also true--without sufficient water, we must be toxic. 

Immediately surrounding the cell is "extracellular" fluid. Through this extracellular fluid that pass nutrient and waste molecules to and from the circulatory system.

     The circulatory system consists primarily of arteries, veins and lymphatics. The arterial system ends in capillaries which bring nutrients in the proximity of every living cell of our body. The venous and lymphatic systems return wastes and fluids for detoxification, disassembly and excretion. 

The body adds special fluids, to our digestive system, starting with saliva and including pancreatic juices, bile,  and other secretions, up to 25% of the volume of our gut. The brain has two large collections of water within its very center, called the ventricles. Their purpose is unclear. 

Bad Water
Inflammation is a process by which the body recog-nizes and disassembles invaders and the self, followed by repair. This occurs in the joints, skin, gut, brain, and  liver; wherever an intervention is required. Inflammation is necsseary to repair a broken bone, a skin wound, a torn muscle, or an infected liver. The optimal outcome is a return to baseline or even better. Exercise of the body or mind causes it to grow stronger by the process of inflammation.

Inflammation involves increased extracellular fluid, cells and materials involved in defense and repair. This water is necessary to carry the materials to and from the problem area.   Excessive extracellular fluid, commonly experienced as "swelling", "edema", stiffness and/or puffiness, causes a barrier to proper flow. Symptoms of such inflammation can look as weight gain and/or weight loss resistance, bloating, nighttime urination, swelling of the face or other locations based on use or gravity.

Modern theories of disease and aging include chronic inflammation as an important, often dominant factor. 
Measuring Water
A simple and powerful way to measure water in the body is by using an accurate scale (to 0.2 pounds) on a daily basis at the same time and conditions. Since a gallon of water weighs 8.5 pounds, 0.2 pounds of weight represents 12 ounces of water, located in our gut, our legs, brain or elsewhere. Most of us can fluctuate by 1-2 pounds and some up to 6-10 in one day. This weight cannot be muscle or fat, since we can't grow or burn these quantities that quickly. In general, water weight will go up with inflammation in the gut, joints or other places. Problematic foods, either singly or in combination can cause a gain in water weight immediately. However, water accumulation can occur over several days making it challenging to identify problematic foods or combinations.

Other aspects of water measurement and applications will be discussed in future articles.

1. This educational material may not be used to influence medical care without supervision by a licensed practitioner.
2. These contents are ©2017 by Michael Cheikin MD and may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
3. Dr. Cheikin's website has related articles such as "An Inconvenient Life", "What We Really Need" and others.

Michael Cheikin MD is a holistic physician, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation ("Physiatry"), Pain Management, Spinal Cord Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine and licensed in Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Cheikin has extensively studied yoga, diet and metabolism, Ayurvedic, Chinese and energy medicine and other alternative modalities for over 30 years. He specializes in obscure, chronic and severe problems that have not responded satisfactorily to other methods of healing.   www.cheikin.com    

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