“I'm dying of thirst!"
Well. We just might. It sounds so simple. H20. Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. But this element, better known as water, is the most essential, next to air, to our survival. Water truly is everywhere, still most take it for granted.
Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body, and without it, humans would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body's water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. (Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up!) Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. Pretty scary statistic for a developed country, where water is readily available through the tap or bottle.
Water is important to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions made up in our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.
- Water serves as a lubricant
- Water forms the base for saliva
- Water forms the fluids that surround the joints.
- Water regulates the body temperature, as the cooling and heating is distributed through perspiration.
- Water helps to alleviate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract and thereby eliminating waste- the best detox agent.
- Regulates metabolism
In addition to the daily maintenance of our bodies, water also plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer. And those are just a few examples! As you follow other links on our website, you can read more in depth about how water can aid in the prevention and cure of many types of diseases, ailments and disorders that affect the many systems of our bodies.
Since water is such an important component to our physiology, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Drinking water should always be clean and free of contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness.
Like heavy metal? Think again.
In fact, heavy metals that can be very harmful to your health if found in your drinking water.
Severe effects include reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death. Exposure to some metals, such as mercury and lead, may also cause development of autoimmunity, in which a person's immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases of the kidneys, circulatory system, and nervous system.
The young are more prone to the toxic effects of heavy metals, as the rapidly developing body systems in the fetus, infants and young children are far more sensitive. Childhood exposure to some metals can result in learning difficulties, memory impairment, damage to the nervous system, and behavioural problems such as aggressiveness and hyperactivity. At higher doses, heavy metals can cause irreversible brain damage. Children may receive higher doses of metals from food than adults, since they consume more food for their body weight than adults.
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Toxic metals can be present in industrial, municipal, and urban runoff, which can be harmful to humans and aquatic life. Increased urbanization and industrialization are to blame for an increased level of trace metals, especially heavy metals, in our waterways. There are over 50 elements that can be classified as heavy metals, 17 of which are considered to be both very toxic and relatively accessible. Toxicity levels depend on the type of metal, it's biological role, and the type of organisms that are exposed to it.
The heavy metals linked most often to human poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Other heavy metals, including copper, zinc, and chromium, are actually required by the body in small amounts, but can also be toxic in larger doses.
Heavy metals in the environment are caused by air emissions from coal-burning plants, smelters, and other industrial facilities; waste incinerators; process wastes from mining and industry; and lead in household plumbing and old house paints. Industry is not totally to blame, as heavy metals can sometimes enter the environment through natural processes. For example, in some parts of the U.S., naturally occurring geologic deposits of arsenic can dissolve into groundwater, potentially resulting in unsafe levels of this heavy metal in drinking water supplies in the area. Once released to the environment, metals can remain for decades or centuries, increasing the likelihood of human exposure.
In addition to drinking water, we can be exposed to heavy metals through inhalation of air pollutants, exposure to contaminated soils or industrial waste, or consumption of contaminated food. Because of contaminated water, food sources such as vegetables, grains, fruits, fish and shellfish can also become contaminated by accumulating metals from the very soil and water it grows from.
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