By April McCarthy
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
After years of suffering headaches and poor digestion, Sarah Smith spoke to a neurologist about regular headaches as well as a nutritionist about poor digestion. Both told her she should be drinking up to three litres of liquid a day for her body to function at its best. This is what happened after 4 weeks of drinking 3 litres of water daily.
Sarah asked herself what would happen if she drank the recommended amount of water every day for a month?
The “before” photograph was taken the first day she started her trial and demonstrates perfectly – and rather frighteningly – what a lack of hydration does to a face. On the left, Sarah’s lips appear shrivelled and blotches around the eyes are all classic evidence of poor hydration. After just four weeks, the “after” results are dramatic.
Every system and function in our body depends on water. It flushes toxins from the vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues, and eliminates waste. Not drinking enough means all these functions become impaired. Failing to drink enough water can even make your grey matter shrink, making it harder to think, experts have warned.
3 Litres of Water a Day Made Sarah Look Ten Years Younger
Sarah consumed 3 litres of water every day for 28 days. The results were astonishing…
Weight: 121 lbs
Waist: 28 inches
Three litres of water is just over five pints, which sounds like an awful lot. Sarah’s doctor was very encouraging… “I suggest you have a big jug of water in the morning, then another in the afternoon and another in the evening’, he says. ‘Your kidneys, which filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine, will quickly feel the benefit, as they will be getting a good flush through”.
A few days into the experiment she was urinating five or six times a day but it was clear, rather than dark yellow.
She met friends for a drink occasionally, remembering that alcohol is a diuretic (a substance which promotes the production of urine), acting on the kidneys. For every one alcoholic drink, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid. Hangover headaches result from dehydration: the body’s organs try to make up for a lack of water by stealing it from the brain, as a result of which it actually shrinks.
Headaches result from the pulling on the membranes that connect your brain to your skull.
Since starting the program her flexibility improved. Gemma Critchley, from the British Dietetic Association, confirms that water helps lubricate the joints.
Weight: 120lb (lost a pound)
Week Two: The blotches on her face are diminishing and the shadows around the eyes less pronounced
The blotches on her face are diminishing, and the shadows around her eyes are less pronounced.
She noticed her breath smelled less ‘breathy’, maybe because she ditched tea and decided water was better for her.
Gemma Critchley says: ‘Water is obviously the best choice since it has no calories and will hydrate you efficiently.’
‘If you drink a large glass of juice, you could be consuming more energy than you need,’ she says, which would mean weight gain.
She didn’t have a headache for over a week at this point, which was unusual for her, and her bowels were working so much better. Result!
She expected her stomach to feel bloated with all the extra water but it was actually flatter than usual. Her cellulite on her bottom and thighs also decreased.
Surely this is too good to be true?
Waist: 27.5in (lost half an inch)
Week Three: Her skin looks plumper and more nourished
The dark rings and wrinkles under her eyes have virtually disappeared, and her skin looked plumper and more nourished. The water helped her skin cells regenerate more efficiently.
She stopped rubbing her eyes in the morning. They used to be dry and full of sleep, but not now. All this extra water is keeping them moist.
Dr. Emma Derbyshire, senior lecturer in nutritional physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council, says: ‘Our brain is 73 percent water, so poor hydration can affect how it functions. Dehydration can reduce our ability to concentrate as well as our cognitive performance’.
She was eating less because drinking water with meals made her feel fuller quicker. She used to snack, but she was reaching for food when she was actually thirsty. Studies show 37 percent of people mistake thirst for hunger.
When she puts on eye make-up, her eyes seem less wrinkled and her skin seems to have more elasticity.
Weight: 119lb (lost another 1lb)
Waist: 27in (another half an inch)
Week Four: Superb complexion
I genuinely can’t believe the difference in my face. I look like a different woman. The dark shadows around my eyes have all but disappeared and the blotches have gone. My skin is almost as dewy as it was when I was a child. The transformation is nothing short of remarkable.
I’m feeling leaner and fitter, too, which is amazing, since the only thing I’ve changed is the amount of water I drink. My best friend says she’s worried about how much water I’m consuming – she’s heard rumours about Nigella Lawson being an ‘aquaholic’ who drinks three litres before bed. But I am following safe guidelines under the supervision of my GP, so I am able to reassure her.
I even enjoy another boozy night out but drink lots of water along the way and wake up feeling fresh as a daisy. Whatever happens, I am going to keep on drinking three litres of water a day – and would advise every woman to do the same (after checking with her doctor, of course).
I feel fitter, leaner and healthier, and my husband and friends tell me I look ten years younger. Who in their right mind would not want to try something which gets such incredible results?
How do you know you are dehydrated?
People generally refer to dehydration as a reduction in body water below normal levels. The first thing you’ll probably experience is thirst. There is not a real precise relationship to how thirsty you feel and how dehydrated you are. Usually when you get the sensation of thirst, you’re already somewhat dehydrated. You may get a headache. You may feel dryness of the mouth. If you are exercising or changing posture, you could feel dizzy. If you are in hot weather or exercising in the heat, you may feel hotter. Your skin may feel warmer. You would be urinating less frequently and smaller volumes, so your urine would be dark in color because it would be more concentrated.
There is also some evidence that both your physical and mental performance capabilities decrease as a result of dehydration. You may not be as sharp in terms of some of the types of complex cognitive functions that you have to do. So there are a variety of symptoms.
How can dehydration affect one’s health?
Acute dehydration will increase your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. [Heat exhaustion causes heavy sweating, fainting and vomiting, and heat stroke occurs when the body temperature rises to 106F or above.] Although it is not as well studied, there is evidence that shows that chronic dehydration can have a variety of different affects on chronic diseases, including urinary tract infections, and kidney stones and gallstones. Some evidence indicates that dehydration may be related to susceptibility to bladder and colon cancer. But that evidence is not real strong.
What are common causes of dehydration?
Many types of stress will cause under-drinking and lead to dehydration. Heat exposure and exercise are common causes. When you exercise, a normal response is to sweat to regulate your body temperature. You lose body water because you sweat more. And if you’re exercising in hot weather, you have a greater requirement for sweating because you depend more on evaporation of sweat for body cooling. As a result, people can become dehydrated from physical exercise, particularly physical exercise in the heat.
People can become dehydrated in other ways as well. One other way is through medications. For example, blood pressure drugs such as diuretics are dehydrating because they work by decreasing your total body water.
It’s also common to see dehydration as a result of diarrhea and vomiting.
How much water does one need in a day?
How much water you need in a day varies. It depends on a lot of factors: age, activity level, the environment you’re exposed to.
For a normal healthy person, generally within reason, short-term under-consumption is not too much of a problem, unless you’re physically active, because your kidneys will act to reduce your urine output to conserve water. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about taking in too much fluid because your kidneys will remove what you don’t need. Over-consumption can become a problem, however, during prolonged exercise (several hours) because urine output is reduced.
For healthy adults, if you’re expending about 3,000 calories a day, the minimal amount you should take in would be about three quarts of water a day, roughly three liters. It doesn’t matter if the water is contained in food or beverages.
For a very active person in very hot weather, such as an agricultural worker or maybe a soldier out in the field in hot weather, the requirements could be substantially higher. The government is going to be putting out some guidelines about this later in the year.