The Water Cure: How Much & How Often
YOU’RE NOT SICK, YOU’RE
by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
Let me give you the single most
effective prescription for well-being, improved health, disease
prevention, potentially reversible stages of degenerative diseases—and
finally the best pain medicine in the world. It needs no doctor’s
prescription. It is freely available. It costs nothing. It has no
dangerous side effects. It is the medication your body cries for when it
is stressed. It is good old plain, natural water—ready cash for the
industrial systems of the body.
Every twenty-four hours the body
recycles the equivalent of forty thousand glasses of water to maintain its
normal physiological functions. It does this every day of its life. Within
this pattern of water metabolism and its recycling process, and depending
on environmental conditions, the body becomes short of about six to ten
glasses of water each day. This deficit has to be supplied to the body
If you think you are different and
your body does not need this amount of water, you are making a major
mistake. The body uses up the equivalent of between six to eight glasses
of its total body water for essential functions. It needs on average
upwards of half its weight in ounces of water per day—a minimum of eight
to ten glasses. Water should be taken in eight- or sixteen-ounce portions
spaced throughout the day. In the same way you don’t let your car run out
of gas before you fill the tank, the body must not be allowed to become
dehydrated before you drink water.
Water should be drunk before meals.
The optimum time is thirty minutes before eating. This prepares the
digestive tract, particularly in people with gastritis, duodenitis,
heartburn, peptic ulcer, colitis, or gas-producing indigestion.
Water should be taken anytime you are
thirsty—even during meals.
Water should be taken two and a half
hours after a meal to complete the process of digestion and correct the
dehydration caused by food breakdown.
Water should be taken first thing in
the morning to correct dehydration produced during long sleep.
Water should be taken before
exercising to have it available for creating sweat.
Water should be taken by people who
are constipated and don’t eat sufficient fruits and vegetables. Two to
three glasses of water first thing in the morning act as a most effective
WATER OR FLUIDS?
Naturally, we wonder why we should
drink water and not the pleasing and taste-enhancing beverages that are
now the staples of our modern society. After all, they are made from water
and do the job of quenching our thirst—or at least we feel they do. In
fact, much of the problem of bad health is founded on this misconception.
As far as the chemistry of the body is concerned, water and fluids are two
different things. As it happens, popular manufactured beverages contain
some chemicals that alter the body’s chemistry at its central nervous
system’s control centers. Even milk is not the same as water. Milk is a
food and must be treated as food.
The body needs water—nothing
substitutes for water. Coffee, tea, soda, alcohol, and even milk and
juices are not the same as water.
CAFFEINE IN BEVERAGES
A cup of coffee contains about 80
milligrams of caffeine, and a cup of tea or one soda has about 50
Chocolate also contains caffeine and
theobromine, which acts like caffeine.
Caffeine further dehydrates the
body—you urinate more than the volume of water contained in the beverage.
Caffeine blocks the production of
melatonin in the brain. Dr. Kenneth Wright Jr. discovered the
melatonin-inhibiting effect of caffeine in 1994. This inhibitory effect
of caffeine on melatonin production by the pineal gland of the brain seems
to last six to nine hours. Melatonin regulates the functions of the body
during sleep; it induces sleep. Thus, melatonin inhibition is one reason
why coffee induces wakefulness.
Caffeine intake on a regular basis by
pregnant women can increase the risk of producing lowbirth-weight infants.
It can even cause spontaneous abortion or damage to the fetus.
Caffeine inhibits the enzymes used in
memory making, eventually causing loss of memory. It has been shown to
inhibit the enzyme phosphodiesterase (phospho-di-esterase), which is
involved in the process of learning and memory development.
Caffeine can be toxic to brain cells.
Some plants use caffeine as a defense against their predators. Caffeine
toxicity in predators decreases their natural wit and ability for survival
against their own predators. They forget how to camouflage themselves and
become prey to their own predators. This is how the coffee plant gets rid
of its pests.
Seniors and children should not take
caffeine. It can affect their normal brain functions, and their wit to
survive may become less sharp.
People taking five to six cups of
coffee a day are twice as likely to suffer heart attacks.
Caffeine can damage DNA and cause
abnormal DNA by inhibiting the DNA-repair mechanism.
Caffeine has been shown to cause genetic
abnormalities in animals and plants.
Caffeine attacks the brain cells’
reserves of energy and lowers their threshold of control, so that the
cells overspend from their energy pool. It indiscriminately turns on many
energy-consuming functions to the point of causing exhaustion. When brain
cells that have been influenced by caffeine confront a new situation that
demands their full cooperation, they have a shortfall of energy. This
creates a delay in brain response—hence exhaustion and irritability after
excess caffeine consumption. Caffeine may cause attention deficit disorder
in young people who consume too much soda.
Water by itself generates
hydroelectric energy. Caffeine in the same water stimulates the kidneys
and causes more water to exit the body than is in the drink. This exhausts
the brain cells’ reserves of energy.
Caffeine-containing sodas with
artificial sweeteners are more dangerous than those containing regular
sugar. Artificial sweeteners are potent chemical agents that fool the
brain cells by masking as sugar. Sweetness normally translates to the
entry of energy into the body. The sweeteners, through the taste buds,
program the brain to behave as if ample sugar for its consumption has
reached the body and will imminently reach it through the circulation.
Since there is strict control on the level of sugar in the blood, the
brain calculates the outcome of the sweetness and instructs and programs
the liver not to manufacture sugar from other raw materials, but to begin
storing sugar. When the sugar that was promised through the taste buds is
nowhere to be found, the brain and the liver prompt a hunger sensation to
find food and make good on the promise of energy. The result is a state of
anxiety about food. It has been shown that people who consume artificial
sweeteners seek food, and eat more than normal, up to ninety minutes after
the intake of the sweetener. This is part of the reason why more than 37
percent of the population is obese.
Caffeine-containing diet sodas,
therefore, constitute a sort of double jeopardy to the body in that
caffeine causes many complications, while artificial sweeteners have their
own detrimental chemical effects. Decaffeinated diet sodas may be
particularly harmful in diet programs, especially if the sweetener is
aspartame. Aspartame has been implicated in the increased incidence of
brain tumors and seizures.
ALCOHOL IN BEVERAGES
Alcohol in beverages causes
dehydration—the kidneys flush water out.
Alcohol prevents the emergency water
supply system to the brain. It inhibits the action of vasopressin and
causes brain-cell dehydration. It is brain dehydration that signals as a
hangover after you have taken a few drinks.
Alcohol can be addictive and
Alcohol can cause impotence.
Alcohol can cause liver damage.
Alcohol can suppress the immune
Alcohol consumption may increase the
chances of developing cancers.
Alcohol produces free radicals (acidlike
substances) that normally attack and damage some sensitive tissues if
allowed to circulate freely. Among other things, melatonin is used up to
scavenge these free radicals. This results in low melatonin content in the
Alcohol addiction may be caused in
part by dehydration of cell membranes, particularly brain cells.
Dehydration promotes the secretion of
the natural endorphins in the body—the addictive factor.
Now that I have mentioned alcohol,
let me also tell you that most alcoholics are actually searching for
water. Water has a natural satiety impact through the hormones motilin,
serotonin, and adrenaline, which culminates in the enhanced action of the
body’s endorphins. Alcoholics learn that alcohol, through its stressful
dehydrating action on the brain, will also cause the release of
endorphins. This is how they become addicted to alcohol. If alcoholics
begin to increase their water intake, or reach for a glass of water in
place of a beer or a shot of their favorite hard stuff, their cravings for
alcohol will tend to decrease and they will be more likely to kick the
habit with surprising ease.
The natural action of alcohol on the
brain is an across-the-board inhibition of all its functions, including
its pain-sensing centers. The inhibitory centers of the brain are
depressed first. This is how some people get an emotional release in the
presence of others from taking alcohol. If these people are by themselves,
alcohol will probably put them to sleep. In short, alcohol is a
depressant. Depressed people should not take it. Water, on the other
hand, does not depress the brain, and it provides a more satisfying and
enduring high, with lots of energy to perform whatever is desired.
JUICES AND MILK IN PLACE OF WATER
Replacing the water requirement of
the body with juices or milk causes different problems. Too much orange
juice increases histamine production and can cause asthma in children and
adults. Even the natural sugar in juices will program the liver into
fat-storing mode—a prescription for getting fat.
Milk should be considered a food.
Infants who receive formulated milk other than mother’s milk need it in a
much more diluted form than is manufactured at present. Non-breast-fed
babies should receive more water in their diet. It has been shown in some
autopsies that infants who were not on mother’s milk had developed heart
arteries that showed signs of cholesterol. It is true that milk is a good
watery source of calcium and proteins for health maintenance, yet milk
should not be taken as a total replacement of the water that the body
needs. It should be remembered that cow’s milk is naturally designed for
the calf that begins to walk within hours of its birth. To give undiluted
milk to babies or children who are not moving much may be inviting
It is clear that the human body has
many distinct ways of showing its general or local water needs, including
its production of many localized complications such as asthma and
allergies. Other drastic signs of the body’s water needs are localized
chronic pains such as heartburn, dyspepsia, rheumatoid joint pain, back
pain, migraine headaches, leg pain when walking, colitis pain, and a most
advanced sign, anginal pain. Complications such as hypertension,
Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cholesterol
blockage of the arteries (leading to heart attack and strokes), and
diabetes may also be connected to dehydration. Ultimately, cancers, I
believe, may also be a major health problem connected to persistent water
shortage of the human body.
Chronic dehydration produces many
symptoms, signs, and, eventually, the degenerative diseases. The
physiological outcome of the sort of dehydration that produces any of the
problems mentioned earlier in the book is almost the same. Different
bodies manifest their early symptoms of drought differently, but in
persistent dehydration that has been camouflaged by prescription
medications, one by one the other symptoms and signs will kick in, and
eventually the person will suffer from multiple "diseases."
We in medicine have labeled these
conditions as outright "diseases" or have grouped them as different
"syndromes." In recent years, we have grouped some of the syndromes—with
some typical blood tests—and called them autoimmune diseases, such as
lupus, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, insulinindependent
diabetes, and so on.
Medical research has until now been
conducted on the assumption that many conditions—which I consider to be
states of dehydration or its complications are diseases of unknown
etiology. From the presently held perspectives of human health problems,
we are not allowed to use the word cure. We can at best "treat" a
problem and hope it goes "into remission."
From my perspective, most painful
degenerative diseases are states of local or regional drought—with varying
patterns. It naturally follows that, once the drought is corrected, the
problem will be cured if the dehydration damage is not extensive. I also
believe that to evaluate deficiency disorders—water deficiency being one
of them—we do not need to observe the same research protocols that are
applied to the research of chemical products. Identifying the shortage and
correcting the deficiency is all we have to do.
It is now clear that the treatment
for all dehydration produced conditions is the same—a single treatment
protocol for umpteen number of conditions. Isn’t that great? One program
solves so many problems and avoids costly and unnecessary interferences
with the body.
The first step in this treatment
program involves a clear and determined upward adjustment of daily water
intake. Persistent dehydration also causes a disproportionate loss of
certain elements that should be adequately available in the stored
reserves in the body.
Naturally, the ideal treatment
protocol will also involve an appropriate correction of the associated
metabolic disturbance. In short, treatment of dehydration produced
diseases also involves correction of the secondary deficiencies that water
deficiency imposes on some tissues of the body. This multiple-deficiency
phenomenon, caused by dehydration, is at the root of many degenerative
A change of lifestyle becomes vital
for the correction of any dehydration-produced disorder. The backbone of
The Water Cure program is, simply, sufficient water and salt intake;
regular exercise; a balanced, mineral-rich diet that includes lots of
fruits and vegetables and the essential fats needed to create cell
membranes, hormones, and nerve insulation; exclusion of caffeine and
alcohol; and meditation to solve and detoxify stressful thoughts.
Exclusion of artificial sweeteners from the diet is an absolute must for
It should also be remembered that
the sort of dehydration that manifests itself as asthma leaves other scars
within the interior parts of the human body. This is why asthma in
childhood is such a devastating condition that leaves its mark on children
and may expose them to many different health problems in later life. My
understanding of the serious damaging effects of dehydration during
childhood is the reason I have been concentrating much of my efforts on
the eradication of asthma among children.
The first nutrient the body needs is
water. Water is a nutrient. It generates energy. Water dissolves
all the minerals, proteins, starch, and other water-soluble components
and, as blood, carries them around the body for distribution. Think of
blood as seawater that has a few species of fish in it—red cells, white
cells, platelets, proteins, and enzymes that swim to a destination. The
blood serum has almost the same mineral consistency and proportions as
seawater. The human body is in constant need of water. It loses water
through the lungs when we breathe out. It loses water in perspiration, in
urine production, and in daily bowel movements. A good gauge for the water
needs of the body is the color of urine. A well-hydrated person produces
colorless urine—not counting the color of vitamins or color additives in
food. A comparatively dehydrated person produces yellow urine. A truly
dehydrated person produces urine that is orange in color. An exception is
those who are on diuretics and flush water out of their already dehydrated
bodies and yet produce colorless urine.
The body needs no less than two
quarts of water and a half teaspoon of salt every day to compensate for
its natural losses in urine, respiration, and perspiration. Less than this
amount will place a burden on the kidneys. They will have to work harder
to concentrate the urine and excrete as much chemical toxic waste in as
little water as possible. This process is highly taxing to the kidney
cells. A rough rule of thumb for those who are heavyset is to drink a half
ounce of water for every pound of body weight. A two-hundred-pound person
will need to take one hundred ounces of water. Water should be taken
anytime you are thirsty, even in the middle of a meal. Water intake in the
middle of a meal does not drastically affect the process of digestion, but
dehydration during food intake does. You should also take at least two
glasses of water first thing in the morning to correct for water loss
during eight hours of sleep.
Water for Health, for Healing, for
Life by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
Copyright © 2003 Fereydon Batmanghelidj, M.D..
Excerpted by arrangement with Warner
Books, Inc. $14.95. Available in local bookstores or click here.