Merigian Studios



A woman recently came into the office for her first appointment. She was a pleasant lady with a great sense of humor. As I walked into the room, I noticed she had an enormous jug of water positioned on the desk next to her. It was lime green. I thought for a minute as I sat down. She looked pensive.

"Are we going to take a bath after the visit?" I asked with a smile. She laughed. "I've never seen a lime green bath tub with a lid on it and a straw." She smiled wide, her mood changed and she said, "I'm trying to drink as much water as I can to cleanse my system." I looked at her, "Is that working? How much toxin do you have in your body? How specifically does drinking water remove toxins?" As I finished my sentence, "I have to use the bathroom, I'll be right back." She stood up, and exited the room in a flash. I sat in my chair, looking at that huge lime green jug, feeling as if someone had tickled me with a feather.

When she stepped back into the room, "Sorry about that. Drinking all this water. Wow." "How long have you've been drinking all that water?" She smiled, "About six months or more. I started drinking it after I attended a seminar. The naturopath doctor said we should drink a lot of water to cleanse our bodies from all the toxins we are exposed to. She held up a huge green jug and said, “Three of these a day or more. So I've been doing that ever since." I replied, "Have you ever heard of water intoxication? It could kill you. Too much water is far worse than not enough. I think you should cut down. Do you eat?" She laughed, "Of course I eat. Three meals a day." I asked, "Why three? Did the seminar lady tell you to eat three times a day?" She laughed again, "No. She didn't say anything about eating. Just drinking water to remove the toxins we produce and what we get in our foods." I wondered if the naturopath was being paid by Aquafina® or Dasani®.

I think you can see where this conversation went: right down the rabbit hole with Alice. I realized that there is a huge public misunderstanding about drinking the correct amount of water since she was not the first person to come into the office drinking massive amounts of water every day. The question is this: How much water should we drink a day?

All living creatures need water; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. The human adult body is up to 60% water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.

No one cannot deny that water serves a number of essential functions in our bodies: it is a vital building material of every cell, it helps regulate our body temperature by sweating and respiration, the nutrients our bodies use are metabolized and transported by water in our bloodstream, it assists in washing out wastes through urination, it acts as a shock absorber as cerebral spinal fluid for our brain and spinal cord, as amniotic fluid it protects the fetus, it is a key component of saliva, and it is used in the manufacture of lubricants of mucous membranes and joints. Bottom line: water is essential to our health.

People vary on their water percentages. Babies have the most. At the time of birth, they are about 78% water. By one year of age, body water percentage drops to about 65%. Fatty tissue does not have as much water as lean tissue. The average adult male who has normal body fat is about 60% water. In normal adult females, they have greater body fat than men, so they are about 55% water.

Water's unique qualities and properties make it essential to life. Our cells are full of water. An infinite number of substances dissolve in intra- and extra- cellular water allowing valuable nutrients, minerals, and chemicals to be ushered in and out of our cells. It is a delicate balancing act.

Water's stickiness is created from surface tension. Surface tension greatly contributes to carbohydrate and protein transport in the blood stream so we can use them as food. The same properties of surface tension provides for the transport of waste materials out of our bodies.

I thought it would be easy finding the proper amount of water necessary to keep humans healthy. It was not. So I looked up pigs. This is what I found thanks to Michigan State University.

Pigs lose water through four routes: kidneys (urination), intestines (defecation), lungs (respiration) and some through evaporation (skin- sweat glands are largely dormant). Therefore, pigs must consume enough water to balance the amount of water lost. Care must be taken when determining water requirements for pigs, because true water usage is generally overestimated. Wastage is generally not taken into account, therefore realize there is a difference between water consumption and water disappearance (animal intake and waste).

Current research information provides only estimated water requirements because there are many different factors that can influence the amount of water required by pigs on a daily basis. The factors that may influence the water requirements of swine include: feed intake, ingredients in the diet, temperature, state of health and stress level. Water needs may vary as much as 50% due to some of these factors. In turn, only estimates of water requirements are reported. As a general rule: pigs will consume 1.5 to 2 times more water than feed.

Estimated water requirements of swine.

Class of Pig                                                    Gallons/pig/day                    
Nursery (up to 60 lbs.)                                                   0.7 - 1
Grower (60 – 100 lbs.)                                                   2 - 3                                     
Finisher (100 – 250 lbs.)                                                3 - 5
Non-pregnant gilts                                                            3
Gestating Sows                                                              3 - 6
Lactating Sows                                                               3 - 7                         
Boars                                                                                 5 

The best I could find on human water consumption was that each day humans should consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this amount varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day. About half of this water is gotten in food. Really? That's it? No details whatsoever.

If you cannot see how unresearched we are about ourselves, then you can't read English. My point here is that we know much more about what a pig's water needs are than a human. For someone to stand up in front of a seminar and give authoritative advice about drinking the correct amount of water by relating that people should drink the equivalent of three huge jugs a water a day was absurd. I guesstimated that her jug was at least three liters in volume. Three of those a day would be about nine liters, just two liters shy of three gallons.

That's what a non-pregnant gilt would require. I think the naturopath got her seminars mixed up. Drink when you're thirsty. Don't overdo it.




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