Water

Origin

According to a philosophy referred to as naturalism, life most likely began about 3,900 million years ago (Origin of Life, n.d.).  Theories regarding the origin of life have evolved from 19th century research into Spontaneous Generation* to Darwin’s Theory** to Haldane’s Theory*** and finally to Oparin’s Theory****.  The prevailing theme of the latter three theories is the fact that life almost assuredly began in water.  Therefore, water is the basis of life.

Process

According to Batmanghelidj (1999), because the human body evolved from a species which was borne of water, this dependency on water was inherited from that species.  As life began to evolve towards land living, the now evolved species developed a mechanism to regulate and control the need for water: a preservation system (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  This preservation system was also inherited by humans creating what is now “the infrastructure to all operative systems within the body of modern humans” (Batmanghelidj, 1999) thus establishing a way to manage available water reserves within the body.  The human body essentially rations and distributes the available water within the body to the various organ systems of the body (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  When water supply is low, organ systems receive a rationed amount of water to complete organ and cell processes, with the most vital of those processes being prioritized, essentially using the body’s fight or flight mechanism within to handle the stress of a low water supply (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  According to Batmanghelidj (1999), it is the brain which takes priority over all other processes in the body when there is a shortage, whether it be water, blood, oxygen, etc.  Accordingly, the human body is composed of 25% matter and 75% water, while the brain itself is composed of 85% water (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  It makes sense that drinking water or drinking more water would be tremendously helpful to our bodies.

Myth

Many people believe that they have sufficient water intake because many beverages contain water; however, alternative drinks such as coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, and other manufactured beverages also contain dehydrating agents which not only consume the water they contain but also consume water reserves in the body when digested (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  Because many people don’t understand the importance of the role of water in the human body, dependency upon manufactured drinks which dehydrate has become the norm.  In fact, humans drink so many manufactured beverages that the appetite for water is nonexistent.  Unfortunately this results in children also becoming dependent on such beverages as they are not often educated about the importance of water consumption (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  Furthermore, manufactured beverages are often more readily available to children than pure water giving them no other choice.   After becoming dependent on these sugar laden drinks, water is simply undesirable (Batmanghelidj, 1999).

Implications

Water is fuel for the body.  The many chemical processes that cells within the body undergo on a daily basis are fueled by our intake of water.  “Every function of the body is monitored and pegged to the efficient flow of water. Water distribution is the only way of making sure that not only an adequate amount of water, but its transported elements (hormones, chemical messengers and nutrients) first reach the more vital organs” (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  If we don’t drink water, these processes go awry causing disease; however, often reversible following adequate water consumption (Batmanghelidj, 1999).  Premature aging, dyspeptic pain, colitis pain, false appendicitis pain, hiatus hernia, rheumatoid arthritis pain, low back pain, neck pain, anginal pain, headaches, stress and depression, endorphins, cortisone, prolactin, vasopressin, renin-angiotensin activity, hypertension, excess body weight, asthma and allergies, reflux, diabetes, AIDS, sleeplessness, fainting, and heart attacks are all associated with extensive prolonged dehydration (a common problem in society today) and/or can be remedied at least in part by drinking more water (Batmanghelidj, 1999).

Children

According to Smit, De Leeuw, Bevelander, Burk, & Buijzen (2016), 66% of children consume  at least one sugar sweetened beverage per day. The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages has been identified as a major contributor to the obesity epidemic (Hu, 2013; Smit et al, 2016).  Because childhood obesity is one of the most pronounced public health problems facing the 21st century, there have been numerous studies on attempts to increase water intake in children.  According to Smit et al (2016), overweight children have a higher chance of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Not surprisingly, Smit et al (2016) found that children were likely to increase water consumption when peers also drank water.  Therefore peer involvement should be considered an important factor in behavior modification of children (Smit et al, 2016).  Kenney, Gortmaker, Carter, Howe, Reiner, & Cradock (2015) note that increased water consumption in children is linked to improved attention, memory, cognition as well as a decrease in dental cavities, headaches, and cognitive impairment.  Simply encouraging and increasing water intake in children can improve public health concerns (Kenney et al, 2015).

Research

Kenney et al (2015) found that “installing water fountains in German elementary schools increased water consumption and reduced prevalence of overweight in a randomized, controlled trial”.  In addition, providing chilled filtered water along with reusable bottles and educational materials addressing water intake also increased water consumption among students as did installing water dispensers in school cafeterias (Kenney et al, 2015).   Interestingly, it was also discovered that installing water fountains in school cafeterias resulted in a decrease in water consumption while providing cups along with water fountains increased water consumption, demonstrating the simplicity involved in increasing water intake among children (Kenney et al, 2015).  Providing free access to water during class also increased water consumption while students who were prohibited from drinking water during class demonstrated a decrease in water consumption (Kenney et al, 2015).

Essence

Water is the basis of life.  Without water our bodies are not able to carry out the functions necessary to sustain life.  Encouraging children to drink more water by providing them with constant accessibility to water is essential to nurturing this lifelong habit. Furthermore, educating children about the importance of water consumption is imperative to disease prevention.  Well hydrated children are better prepared to be more cooperative, are healthier, and perform better cognitively.

*Spontaneous Generation: (Aristotle, 350BC)(disproved by Louise Pasteur 1859) an obsolete body of thought on the ordinary formation of living organisms without descent from similar organisms (Origin of Life, n.d.)

**Darwin’s Theory: (1871) involving a natural process described in a letter to Joseph Dalton Hooker as beginning in a “warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. [in which] a protein compound was then chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes” (Origin of Life, n.d.)

***Haldane’s Theory: (1929, before Oparin’s book had been translated into English) regarding biopoiesis in which a “hot dilute soup” was formed in pre-biotic oceans creating organic compounds (Origin of Life, n.d.)

****Oparin’s Theory: (1924) suggesting that a primeval soup formed droplets with the help of sunlight further replicating by combining with other droplets which created a primitive metabolism that could survive and evolve into humans (Origin of Life, n.d.)

References

Batmanghelidj, F. (1999). Your Body’s Many Cries For Water. Global Health Solutions.

Kenney, E., Gortmaker, S., Carter, J., Howe, C., Reiner, J., & Cradock, A. (2015). Grab a Cup, Fill It Up! An Intervention to Promote the Convenience of Drinking Water and Increase Student Water Consumption During School Lunch. American Journal of Public Health,105, 1777-1783. Retrieved January 15, 2017.

Origin of life. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2017, from https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life

Smit, C., De Leeuw, R., Bevelander, K., Burk, W., & Buijzen, M. (2016). A social network-based intervention stimulating peer in influence on children’s self-reported water consumption: A randomized control trial. Appetite,103, 294-301. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from www.elsevier.com/locate/appet.

 

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