Hydration, Chiropractic and the Good Life
By Dr. Molly Casey
Water is an important part of health and life. It’s crucial to survival. In the summertime, even as many of us spend a great deal of time in the water, we also forget to drink enough of it. Why is it so important? Why, really, should we focus on getting enough of it at this time of year? And what do water and your spine have to do with each other?
Water and Your Body
The body is made up of 60 to 65 percent water. Many of the body’s functions depend on proper hydration to function -- and certainly to function optimally. Every cell in the body requires water. Water also does many other things, including:
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Regulates body temperature
- Flushes out waste products in kidney and liver (decreasing the load on these organs)
- Moistens tissues (think mouth, eyes, nose)
- Makes minerals and other nutrients accessible to the body by helping dissolve them
- Protects body organs and tissues
- Helps increase the ease of bowel movements and prevents constipation
- Assists in the metabolism process (think about this if you want to lose weight or are looking to increase your energy)
- Provides proper lubrication of the joints
This list in not complete, but offers some insight into how water assists the body. Needless to say, it’s important. Really important.
The health and functioning of your spine requires proper hydration as well. Spinal discs are made mostly of water, but they can’t absorb water like the rest of your body. The discs don’t have a direct nutritional supply, they lose it just before the teen years. So the discs receive nutrition, including water, through a process called imbibition. Imbibition results only when there is proper motion between the joints above and below the specific disc. The proper motion creates a pump-like effect and the nutrients are moved in and out of the disc. Adequate hydration is required for it is essential for nutrient delivery.
How Much Water?
How much water should you be drinking? That’s the $64,000 question, right? I’ve found the simplest and healthiest rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water daily. There are 33.8 ounces in one liter, so you’d need to drink slightly over two liters of water daily for optimal health. Remember fluids like coffee and alcohol dehydrate the body even more, so if those are part of a regular routine, it’s wise to account for this in your daily water intake.
Subluxation (restricted, misaligned or fixated joint) impairs the imbibition process and the nutrient supply to the disc. The lack of water in the spinal disc can lead to disc degeneration. Disc degeneration leads to spinal decay and instability. This decline in spinal health may decrease functioning of the nervous system -- which affects every system, organ, structure, and cell in your body. Thus, a lack of proper hydration impairs the health of the disc, the spine and ultimately the overall health of the body. Chiropractic adjustments correct the subluxation, thereby improving the imbibition process and the body’s ability to absorb water. The chiropractic adjustment will improve your health!
As summer enters the home stretch, remember that heat pulls water from your body. Make sure you are getting adequate water, and make sure to see your chiropractor so you’ll be able to absorb it to the greatest degree for your overall health!
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