8 Glasses of Water – Is That Enough?
We are frequently advised to drink 8 ounces of water daily, but is it really that simple? In my opinion – not quite. It stands to reason that a petite 100-lb woman probably does not have the same water requirements as does a burly 250-lb man. Thus, in my mind, a better formula is to think in terms of 1/3 – 1/2 your body weight, in ounces of water, daily. Thus a 150-lb person needs 50-75 ounces of water per day. More about this range in a moment.
Just as important (if not moreso) as quantity of water is quality of water. Do definitely drink filtered water. A Brita or equivalent pitcher filter is a fine first step, as it filters out the chlorine and some other toxins. Chlorine is a necessary antimicrobial additive to the municipal water supply, but make no mistake – chlorine gas is a potent toxin. Since we can’t avoid putting the chlorine in, the very least we can do is take it back out after it’s done its job. Better yet would be to increase the number of toxins removed, including the fluoride, which can be accomplished with a more sophisticated distillation or reverse osmosis system. You can buy these by the gallon (carried home in reusable containers) at local stores such as PCC and Whole Foods, or buy your own system. (In my house we have a Custom Pure under-counter system; it’s not all that expensive for those of us who prioritize and value our health).
Fluoride in the water is a controversial topic to some, but like chlorine, fluorine gas (and fluoride derivatives) is a potent toxin – even moreso in fact. Fluoride was originally added to our water supply as a means of getting rid of industrial and military byproducts. It had nothing to do with dental health; rather it was a waste dispersal strategy. I agree with holistic dentists who argue that fluoridated water has no place in dental health at all; even if you disagree, most dentists will agree that if they would “prescribe” you fluoride, it is safer and more effective to apply it topically, such as in toothpaste, rather than to ingest it.
So back to the numbers – where in the range do you fall, and what exactly counts as “water”? If you eat lots of vegetables, which have high water content (and fruit as well, but always skew to more vegetables than fruit), then you might do fine at the lower end of the range. A good rule of thumb is to begin with a minimum of the bottom of the above-described range. If you are urinating at least every 1.5-2 hours during waking hours, then you’re probably fine. If not, increase to the higher end of the range. Frequent urination is an important mechanism for removing toxins from the body, rather than allowing them to be stored in the bladder, where they can irritate and even damage the bladder lining.
In addition to filtered water, you get to count herbal teas toward your personal daily water “dose.” Real tea is diuretic, so it doesn’t quite count the same, but I like to think in terms of half-credit for green tea, since it’s so otherwise good for you. Coffee doesn’t count. Sodas and alcohol definitely count against your dose. Clean filtered water – drink up!
May You Enjoy Luminous Good Health,
Dr. Deborah Epstein