Water - The most important nutrient

Adequate supply of water is very important for the human body for a few reasons. Water plays an integral role in the internal courier system, provides a medium for chemical reactions, and helps regulate internal temperature.

Why do we need water?

Internal courier system

Blood consists mainly of blood cells and plasma. The amount of plasma depends on the hydration levels of the body, thus water will enable smoother transfer of hormones, electrolytes, and nutrients, as well as waste disposal. In a dehydrated state this process becomes sluggish, which may lead to a number of symptoms.

Chemical reactions

If there was no water, we would not be able to survive. Many important bodily functions, such as digestion, depend heavily on chemical reactions. Without water we would have a situation where various chemical groups stare at each other without the means to get together in order to react.

Temperature regulation

Control of core temperature is critical to human survival. A swing of only a few degrees in either direction may prove fatal. Therefore we call upon water for help. If core temperature rises, our superficial blood vessels dilate to cool down our blood and we sweat to get rid of some of the warmer water. In case of dropping temperature this process reverses.


Symptoms of dehydration

Most people recognise headache as one of the symptoms, which is absolutely correct. Other symptoms include dizziness, lack of concentration and inability to focus, neurological symptoms such as cramps, tingling and numbness; loss of appetite, nausea, and constipation; dryness of skin and swelling of the tongue; and if allowed to run unchecked – even death.

Dehydration will hinder athletic performance severely. Dehydrated athletes will suffer from fatigue, loss of endurance and power and cramps. Recovery time after sport will also be increased.


How much water is enough?

Prevention is much better than cure – after all no-one particularly wants to experience the symptoms outlined above. Therefore getting into a habit of drinking small amounts regularly is crucial. It is a good idea to carry a water bottle with you everyday and keep sipping at regular intervals. A good amount is about 2 litres per day, excluding coffees, teas and other beverages. If playing sport or exercising it is advisable to add more, also hot and humid climates, as well as heavily air conditioned offices increase the need for water.



Electrolytes and minerals are important binding substances for water. Without them, all of the water is passed straight through the body and not retained – leading to dehydration. Normal healthy food provides an adequate supply of electrolytes and minerals, however when body is under increased strain, such as heavy cardiovascular training, additional supplementation is indicated. Most sports drinks these days have added eletrolytes and minerals.


Other tips

These days there are whole industries around the issue of hydration. Many companies manufacture sports drinks and under garments, or base layers – all aimed at optimising athletic performance. With sports drinks, it is best to avoid those drinks laced with sugar and go for the hypotonic drinks, which tend to have a higher content of electrolytes and minerals. Base layers are very good, especially in the cold weather, as they allow perspiration to evaporate without allowing you to get cold.


For any further information, please either email us at the clinic: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 01932-429584


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