Myths about hydration

Water We don’t actually need to drink eight glasses of water a day…

Elixir attended the British Nutrition Foundation’s conference on hydration last week and came away with a few very interesting facts about water.

1. The amount of water we need and use is different from person to person

2. We can survive more than a few days without water

3. Most of the water we ingest comes naturally from food

4. Most liquids add to our hydration, including fruit juice, milk, teas and coffee

In general, we are not very clued in about water and hydration – most people in the UK have a very loose understanding about the signs of dehydration.

We look for clues such as darker urine to decide whether or not we are dehydrated – the truth is that darker urine can be caused by a number of things – including vitamin supplements.

Thirst is just nature’s way of telling us our blood water concentration is dropping, not an indication that we are about to become dehydrated.

Serious dehydration is almost impossible to achieve – unless you are stuck in a desert or paralysed with no access to liquids. As mentioned above, it is possible to survive without water for some time; a woman who had been in a coma for years (in the US) survived for 13 days without any liquids after it was decided to turn off her live-saving machine.

The most shocking thing we learned was the truth behind the ‘eight glasses of water’ myth.

Research showed that over 70% of people can quote the recommended amount of water of six to eight glasses.

The truth is, the recommended amount of water is 2.5 litres per day and we ingest most of it in food. The less dense the food, the more water it contains – meaning fruit and vegetables contain the most. 

As we get older we are more susceptible to the marketing ploys of drinks companies – we start to buy into the ‘health’ drink to lower our cholesterol and raise the pro and prebiotic levels of our stomachs.

Beware of drinks advertising an increased level of antioxidants as well – a study found that drinking tea gives you a better level of antioxidants over 24 hours than many health/fruit based drinks. 




Drinking water helps you control your weight

tapandwater.jpgYou are probably all well aware of how many glasses of water you should be drinking a day. However, despite all the publicity, we are still not drinking enough and it is impacting on our health. But maybe not in the ways you might think.

A recent review undertaken by Jodi Stookey, an epidemiologist specialising in nutrition, focused on the effect and importance of drinking water in efficient exercise and weight loss. Ms Stookey is based at the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute (USA).

The review showed that we are not aware of the effect which sugary drinks have on our insulin production and general calorie intake. Whenever you drink or eat something with significant calorie content, insulin is prompted to take care of it. When insulin production is triggered, fat burning in our cells is halted. Therefore water, containing no calories, does not prompt insulin and promotes hydration and energy use. Tea and coffee also have minimal effects on your blood sugar.

The review also pointed to the source of our bad habits – we all know that children like sweet things but those children are growing up to be hooked on sweet drinks and food as adults. If we concentrate on getting our children to drink as much water as possible and reduce intake of sugar, perhaps we can help halt the growing obesity epidemic.

One research project looked at water consumption in two groups of school children, where one group (the control group) were not encouraged to drink any extra water, with the other group having specific teaching about water and water fountains installed at their school. At the end of the school year, it was observed that the children in the water promotion group consumed on average 1.1 extra glasses of water per day compared to the other group. The prevalence of overweight children had increased by 1.9% in the control group and remained relatively stable in the water group (0.1%).

Speaking of her research, Jodi Stookey said: “This is the first review of its kind to highlight the potential link between drinking water and weight control. Water is the only liquid that is indispensable to our bodies. It is recommended that you drink 1.5 litres of water per day, not only to ensure that our bodies function properly, but also for weight management as part of a programme of physical activity and good eating habits.”


How colonic therapy promotes health


For many people today, keeping in shape is a key concern but poor diet, stress, smoking and drinking can all take their toll – not least on a part of the body that is widely recognised as being vital to maintaining good health. That organ is the bowel.

For all too many of us, it’s a case of out of sight out of mind. Add to that the embarrassment many feel when discussing this particular body part and you begin to understand why it can go wrong. In fact, it ‘goes wrong’ for quite a lot of us. For most that probably means a little discomfort, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome. For approximately 35,000 people each year the effects can be rather more serious, in the form of bowel cancer.

So, what can we do to encourage bowel health? Good diet and plenty of fibre are generally regarded as important in ‘keeping things moving’. Avoiding the accumulation of waste matter in the bowel is helpful and this, in turn, can contribute to wellbeing – and, indeed, just feeling good.

An increasingly popular therapy is colonic hydrotherapy. This involves circulating purified warm water at very low pressure through the colon. The process stimulates the colon to expel faecal matter and tones the colon.

Whilst the therapy has helped many people, it should be stated at once that it is not a treatment for more serious bowel conditions, neither is there specific evidence to suggest it can directly prevent them.

However, colonic hydrotherapy is thought to encourage general bowel health. The main reasons why people choose colon hydrotherapy are to address problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, or to assist in detoxing the body. Others are looking for help with conditions, like skin problems, which can sometimes benefit from the cleansing effect of hydrotherapy.

Explains Roger Groos, Chairman of the Association and Register of Colon Hydrotherapists, which sets professional standards and accredits teaching colleges: “It is important to put the treatment in its proper context. It is best thought of as a complement to other actions which may be taken to encourage efficient bowel function. Indeed many of our members offer dietary advice alongside treatments. Hydrotherapy has been in use in the UK for well over 30 years. The best testimony to its effects is, perhaps, that each year thousands of people from many walks of life choose hydrotherapy and find they feel better as a result.”

Colonic hydrotherapy should always be carried out by appropriately trained specialists. Only previously qualified therapists, medical doctors and nurses who have good knowledge of the body and how it works are accepted as ARCH members. The organisation is, in turn, a member of the General Naturopathic Council and participates in the regulation of therapy under government guidelines. Details of members can be found on the organisation’s website at www.colonic-association.orgor by phoning the UK information line on 08702 416567.

Drinking water doesn’t help weightloss


Tokyo: Advice to drink lots of water to loose weight is a waste of time, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found that drinking the elixir of life does not keep one trim — instead, one could be better off eating foods rich in water like fruit, vegetables, rice, soups and casseroles.

According to them, it is unclear why water in food but not in drinks affects weight — it could be due to water-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and rice also high in fibre.

In fact, the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of 1,000 young women in Tokyo. They compared the weight and waist size of the participants with the amount of water they consumed each day, both from drinks and food.

The study, published in the latest edition of the Nutrition Journal, found no link between water in drinks, including water itself, tea, coffee, soft drinks and fruit juices, and body shape, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

But the researchers found a link between water taken in from food, with women who ate the highest quantities of water-rich foods tending to have slightly smaller waists. And, those subjects also had a lower body mass index, meaning they were a better weight for their height.

The link held firm even when other factors such as the amount of exercise done and whether the woman was dieting were taken into consideration.

Watermelon – the new viagra?


Houston: Watermelon produces an effect similar to that of Viagra, researchers say.

A slice of the juicy red fruit contains citrulline, a substance that triggers a chemical reaction which relaxes the body’s blood vessels. Exactly the same reaction when a man takes Viagra.

Citrulline reacts with enzymes of the human body when consumed in large quantities. Afterwards, the substance changes into arginine – an amino acid that benefits the circulatory and the immune system.

Researchers of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center say that watermelon can be a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects. However, the vegetable is not so organ-specific as Viagra. In addition, the scientists said that anyone who takes Viagra should not be expecting the same results from watermelon.

The organic compound citrulline is an amino acid. Its name is derived from citrullus, the Latin word for watermelon, from which it was first isolated in 1930. It is a key intermediate in the urea cycle, the pathway by which mammals excrete ammonia.

Citrulline is made from ornithine and carbamoyl phosphate in one of the central reactions in the urea cycle. It is also produced from arginine as a by-product of the reaction catalyzed by NOS family (NOS; EC Arginine is first oxidized into N-hydroxyl-arginine, which is then further oxidized to citrulline concomitant with release of nitric oxide.

Although citrulline is not coded for by DNA directly, several proteins are known to contain citrulline as a result of a posttranslational modification. These citrulline residues are generated by a family of enzymes called peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), which convert arginine into citrulline in a process called citrullination or deimination. Proteins that normally contain citrulline residues include myelin basic protein (MBP), filaggrin, and several histone proteins, whereas other proteins, such as fibrin and vimentin are susceptible to citrullination during cell death and tissue inflammation.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often have detectable antibodies against proteins containing citrulline. Although the origin of this immune response is not known, detection of antibodies reactive with citrulline (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies) containing proteins or peptides is now becoming an important help in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Citrulline in the form of citrulline malate is sold as a performance-enhancing athletic dietary supplement which is said to reduce muscle fatigue.

Drinking more water helps prevent arthritis


London: Drink more water, it helps prevent arthritis and other conditions, according to new research from the UK’s Arthritis Association.

In addition, Baroness Greengross, founder of the charity Action on Elder Abuse, has this week called for a set of minimum standards on hydration across the UK. However, it’s not just the elderly who should drink more water.

According to arthritis pioneer Charles de Coti-Marsh, we could all stay a lot healthier for longer if we looked after our gut, and staying hydrated is the first step.

Nutritional therapist Elizabeth Hartland explains: “Many people will have heard about the benefits of healthy bacteria and the pro-biotic drinks you can now buy, but symptoms of an unhealthy digestive system, such as constipation, are less talked about. Charles de Coti-Marsh believed that a constipated state creates toxins which stay in the bowel, enter the blood stream and poison the body, the long term effects of which can be diseases such as arthritis. Drinking plenty of water can help avoid constipation.”

About The Arthritic Association
Founded in 1942, The Arthritic Association a registered charity dedicated to helping relieve people from the pain of arthritis through natural methods.

Mineral water protects teeth from acids

Dundee: Mineral water has been found to protect teeth from erosion, says a study at the University of Dundee.

Just two glasses a day offer protection to children from acids even if they continue to drink damaging fizzy drinks.

Erosion caused by carbonated drinks, fruit juices and other foods wear down enamel making teeth sensitive.

The study looked at the lifestyles of 200 youngsters aged 11-13 and the effect on tooth erosion and concluded that the best prevention was fluroid toothpaste.

Dr Graham Chadwick, of Dundee University’s School of Dentistry said that results revealed that minerals in the water offer some protection from acids.