your kidney water park needs more water
Adequate hydration helps to protect your kidneys, another organ crucial in your body’s natural detoxification process. Think of your kidneys as a big water park with lots of huge, twisty water slides. What happens when you go down a water slide that doesn’t have enough water on it? You get stuck. This is what happens to toxins when they get to the kidneys. If there’s not enough water flushing through the kidney slides (in other words, the renal tubules), toxins will stick around. If the toxins are hanging out instead of riding out, they get kicked out of the kidney water park. Ooops! Back in the body now and the water rides are over.
Here’s the same concept with a little more science for the semi-nerds. Dehydration concentrates chemicals in your pre-formed urine within the renal tubules of your kidneys. It is this concentration of chemicals that drives them to leave the pre-formed urine and move back into your body. Depending on the quantity and type of chemicals, tissue damage to the kidneys can occur from this process. This is why some medications come with a warning to drink plenty of water. You need water to not only dilute the toxins, but to get them OUT!
Straight up water is the best fluid you can be drinking to adequately hydrate your cells. A lot of people like to count their water intake via cups of coffee, tea, or juice. Something in the water will lower your body’s ability to absorb it. This occurs due to a natural process called osmosis.
There are several different recommendations for how much water you should be drinking. There’s the 8 x 8 rule: Eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. Dr. Pizzorno, one of the founders of Bastyr University, says that you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water.1 If you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water. This comes out to more water than the 8 x 8 rule. Dr. Molly Linton says that you should be drinking a third of your body weight in water, plus more for every vice.2
There is no specific amount or formula of water that perfectly applies to every person. Water needs vary from person to person and depend on your activity level, toxic exposure, and current health conditions. If you are pregnant or nursing, you need more water than the average person.
In terms of detoxing, you need to drink more water when your toxic exposure increases. If you’ve been climbing trees in a peach orchard that was just sprayed with pesticide yesterday, you need to drink a lot more water. You also need to drink more water when you consume things that are hard on the liver’s detox mechanisms. For every glass of alcohol and every cup of coffee you drink, you should drink 8 ounces of water. This would be 8 ounces above your daily water requirement. Same thing with medications, especially antibiotics and analgesics like Tylenol or Motrin.
You need to drink more water if you want to detox well. But not just any water. Pure water. By drinking pure water, you can continue to decrease your exposure to chemicals, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. When I say pure water, I mean filtered water (your well water may be pure if you’ve had it tested). There are many different water filters out there with varying degrees of effectiveness. The water that comes out of your kitchen faucet is, for the most part, polluted. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource to read more about this topic. Here is one of their articles on tap water.
Pure water, not just any water, is quintessential for detoxing every day. Your body needs water to excrete waste, both the solid and liquid kind. All the detox mechanisms in your body work optimally when your body is well hydrated. Water your kidney slides up and flush those toxins out!
1 Pizzorno, Joseph. Pizzorno: Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed. Churchill Livingstone, 2006.
2 Linton, Molly. Guest Lecture. Naturopathic Case Analysis & Management I. Bastyr University. Summer 2010.