By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND

Our bodies can survive for weeks without food, but without water we would last a few days at best. A loss of just 15-20% of our body water can be fatal. Only a lack of oxygen could kill us faster. Adequate intake of pure water is one of the simplest and cheapest health insurance policies you can buy. Without water, you don't have the ability to properly utilize either the food you eat or the supplements you take.

It has been estimated that 75% of all Americans are chronically dehydrated. So, of all underlying causes of ailments, dehydration is probably the most common and frequently overlooked. In about one-third of all Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. In one University of Washington study, a glass of water eliminated hunger in almost 100% of all the dieters studied.

Dehydration contributes to a wide variety of ailments, including indigestion, colitis, appendicitis, heart burn, rheumatoid arthritis, back and neck pain, headaches, stress, depression, high blood pressure, asthma, fatigue, memory loss and allergies.

Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. Many people have found that increasing their water intake reduces pain of all kinds, but especially headache, back and neck pain. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significandy ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

Drinking water can also help to prevent disease. Water is necessary to flush waste products, particularly acid waste, from the system.

There is research to suggest that drinking five glasses of water daily could decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Increased water intake could also slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and reduce bladder cancer risk by 50%.

The brain is 80% water, so proper hydration is essential to its function. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulry focusing on a computer screen or a printed page.

How much water do you need?

A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water per day.
So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need to drink about 80 ounces of water each day. There are 32 ounces in a quart, so this would equate to a little less than three quarts of water per day.

If you aren't drinking this much water and don't get thirsty, you really need to drink more water anyway. When the human body is sufficiently dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off. This means that senior citizens are at greater risk for dehydration than younger people because their bodies is less effective at letting them know when they need water.

However, it is is not just the amount of water that is important. The kind of water we drink is critical, too. Increasingly, our water supplies are being polluted and poisoned, with disastrous consequences to our health and well-being. Here is an option for improving the quality of your drinking water.

Ionized Water
Research from Japan has shown that ionized water is by far the healthiest water to drink. Ionized water can be produced at varying degrees of alkalinity, which helps to counteract acid waste in the body. It also has antioxidant properties. Another advantage of properly ionized water is that it has the same structure as glacial runoff water, the healthiest water in the world. This is one of the factors that makes it superior for healing over reverse osmosis water. Carbon filtration is still needed in ionizing units to remove chemicals.

One Of the biggest drawbacks of ionized water is the cost of the machines needed to produce it. The machines cost thousands of dollars and require electricity. Machines that produce ionized water are also highly variable in quality. If you decide to invest in one of these units, do your research and make sure you get a hight quality unit.