The Physical: Michael on Hydration

February 16, 2004

Q. Michael has alluded to the importance of hydration. The common advice is that for proper hydration we need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Other experts say that there's no scientific basis for this recommendation and that we get sufficient water from what they normally eat and drink. From Michael's perspective, what constitutes adequate hydration and what might we do to attain it?

A. We would think that most fragments tend to run on the "low side" of hydration in this present society, and it is true that most human fragments can push the hydration limit regularly to some extent and not have serious consequences for so doing. However, with increasing age the body is less able to maintain hydration levels, and after the menopausal process in males and females, hydration becomes a more persistent sort of problem.

Of course, hydration does not come solely from water. Tea, broth, and other unsalted processes for water can do much to bring about the required hydration for all fragments, but particularly those past the menopausal transition. Six to eight "servings" (ha-ha) of water or water-based substances a day, spread over a ten- to twelve-hour period, are more efficacious for older fragments than prolonged hydration in one "fell swoop". Six cups of water spread over the day are more beneficial than drinking a quart of water in the morning. And while of course salt is necessary as part of the diet, it is best absorbed along with protein substances such as meat and poultry. And if broth is used for hydration, we would think that broth with reduced sodium or no sodium at all would be far more beneficial than any salty liquid that might be consumed.

Incidentally, once menopause has passed, sensitivity to sugars in water tends to increase, particularly as regards all manner of fruit juices of the unfermented kind, for the state of sugars in fruit juices is different than the state of sugars in fermented liquids such as all manner of wines and similar substances. While we do not recommend wine for hydration, it is in fact less likely to interfere with hydration than sweetened fruit juices, and so long as water is part of the consumption pattern, along with broth, wine, soup, etc., tea, [sic] the benefits of hydration should accrue to the fragment in question. Bodily tissues of course require water for health, but they also require micronutrients, which is why we have said that such things as teas, broths and the like are of value. The body cannot simply absorb water and thrive. However, what is consumed and in what proportions is, of course, a matter of choice.