By David W. Allan
It seems too good to be true that such a simple procedure (drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day) could provide such astounding benefits. From a preventative, as well as curative point of view, the list: is most impressive: digestive system problems; pain from arthritis, lower back, neck, angina, and headaches; stress related problems and depression; high blood pressure and hypertension; excessive cholesterol levels and many heart problems; excess body weight and over-eating problems; asthma and allergy problems; nerve disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS); both insulin-dependent and insulin-independent diabetes and improper tryptophan balance; the latter may tie to the prevention and cure of AIDS; and lastly, but not the end of the list, is the BIG C (cancer).
If this seems overly simplistic, I understand. I felt exactly the same way before reading Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water with subtitles: You are not sick, you are thirsty! and Don’t treat thirst with medications. I would suggest that you read his book. Even though the book is written for a lay audience, it is quite technical. Quoting from one of a large number of inspiring testimonials in this book (several of whom are Doctors), M.D. Dan C. Roehm says, "...it is very apparent that this work is revolutionary and sweeps nearly all diseases before it. As an Internist/Cardiologist I find this work incisive, trenchant and fundamental. This work is a God send for all."
Dr. B (Batmanghelidj), as he is known by many of his associates, has had a remarkable career path. Born in Tehran, Iran in 1931, he was schooled in Edinburgh, Scotland and at St. Mary’ Hospital Medical School of London University. Immediately before the revolution in 1979, he was engaged in the completion of a family charity medical center, the largest medical complex in Iran. The revolutionary government put him in prison. It was there, in prison, that he began his research on the benefits of proper hydration in the human body. He had an unusual clientele with the high stress level of the prisoners – many of them suffering from abdominal pains, peptic ulcers, and numerous other problems. Because of his excellent success in treating his fellow prisoners, his execution was delayed. When his trial came, he presented the judge with an article on water treatment of peptic ulcers. This saved his life so that he could continue his research, and he was released from prison. The article was sent to a professor of gastroenterology at Yale University, and later published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, and then in the science section of the New York Times.
He escaped from Iran so that he could continue his research in America, where he has now published several books and numerous scientific papers. Interestingly, in his research, he has also uncovered the inappropriate activities of the pharmaceutical industries and the American Medical Association (AMA) to promote medicine at the expense of health. For example, he now has enough well documented information to pull together a class-action suit, should he choose to do so, against the medical community in how they are mistreating patients with hypertension. This potentially could be much like the class-action suit that smokers pulled together against the tobacco industry in 1995, and won!
Are these inappropriate activities being promulgated in innocense? Yes, but not totally, as many of them have been made aware of Dr. Batmanghelidj’s work, and they ignore it anyway. In addition to reading Dr. B’s books, one can find out more about his organizations activities on their web site as listed at the end of this book report.
Here, I will only give brief synoptic information from the above cited book. One really needs to read this book to better appreciate his work. This synopsis is written with the intent to help promulgate health, happiness and a better understanding of the marvelous miracle the body is. We learn from Dr. B that we cannot have optimum health without proper hydration, and if we are sick or diseased, it is a lot harder to be happy. Billions of dollars are spent on health, yet in water and its proper utilization for our bodies we could avoid much of these expenditures by understanding how our bodies work and its critical need to be properly hydrated. He further points out that most drugs and medications treat only the symptoms of illnesses and do not provide a cure. This is often because the medical community does not recognize that the proper cure could come from proper hydration of the body in many instances.
He points out the doctors take an oath to serve mankind, but the "business of America is business" – making money. They have no right, but some of them are doing it anyway, to "obstruct the simple message of ‘you are not sick, you are thirsty,’ from reaching a wider cross-section of the public. They have no business converting the pain and suffering of their fellow man into accumulative commercial practices..." to protect their own interests and profiteering motives.
This marvelous mechanism we call the body has a priority sequence in how it uses the water we give it. This is so that it can function as well as possible in the state of water shortage, which exists for most people – not being aware of their bodies need for more water nor being aware of its many "cries" indicators of it being in a state of dehydration. The first priority is the brain. Though the brain is only 2% of our body weight, it gets about 20% of the blood flow and is the first to be hydrated so that it can properly sense and prioritize the utilization of water for the rest of the body.
"...there is a mechanism for establishment of priority for circulating blood to any given area.. The order is predetermined according to a scale of importance of function. The brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and glands take priority over muscles, bones, and skin in blood distribution... When we do not drink enough water to serve all the needs of the body, some cells become dehydrated and lose some of their water to the circulation... In water shortage and body drought, 66 % is taken from the water volume normally held inside the cells; 26 % is taken from... outside the cells; and 8 % is taken from blood volume." The long-term consequences of this dehydration is various kinds of disease. These illnesses and the pains associated therewith are then really our body crying for water.
For complete health our bodies need proper hydration, proper diet, proper rest and environment, and proper exercise. He also points out how stress in conjunction with dehydration brings on a variety of diseases – many of them digestive-system related.
In regard to diet, he further points out the large misunderstanding we have is "[in] advanced societies, thinking that tea, coffee, alcohol, and manufactured beverages are desirable substitutes for the purely natural water needs of the daily ‘stressed’ body is [a]... catastrophic mistake... [They]... contain dehydrating agents. They get rid of the water they are dissolved in plus some more water from the reserves of the body! One of the diseases of dehydration is to confuse the sensations of thirst and hunger. We think we are hungry and eat when we are actually thirsty. Aspartame and saccharin have similar effects – tricking the brain into thinking it has sugar when it doesn’t. For example, the diet and/or caffeine drinks confuse the body into thinking it is hungry when it is actually simply asking for water. This is the cause of a large number of people getting large (overweight). If when we go for a snack, we would get a drink of water instead, we would undoubtedly be a far healthier people – a simple but far reaching change of behavior.
Also, "Caffeine has diuretic properties. It... acts on the kidneys and causes increased urine production. It is physiologically a dehydrating agent. This characteristic is the main reason a person is forced to drink so many cans of soda every day and never be satisfied. Thinking they have consumed enough ‘water’ that is in the soda, they assume they are hungry and eat more than their body’s need... causing a gradual gain in weight..." Alcoholic beverages do basically the same thing – put the body in a state of dehydration and confusion.
In regard to exercise, he says, "Walking two times a day – every 12 hours – will maintain the activity of the hormone sensitive fat burning enzyme (... lipase) during day and night and help clear away the excess lipid deposits in the arteries." The walking can be replaced, if desired, with an equivalent aerobic exercise. He has several testimonials where people have accomplished significant weight loss (proper "fat-burning") and great health gains by simply cutting out all sodas, by drinking enough water, and by having proper exercise. Of course, a reasonable diet needs to be followed as well, but the body moves in the right direction when it is treated as it was designed to be.
In regard to diet, he treats the body chemistry in general terms as well as in specifics as dehydration affects and is the cause of many of our main diseases. In this context, the book becomes quite complex, but is very interesting as you see the wonderful harmony of how all the body functions work together when in a properly hydrated state – bringing about the prevention of most diseases.
As is well known, there are 20 amino acids (AA) needed by the body. Twelve are manufactured by the body – three in limited quantities. The other eight need to be imported from food intake. A critical one of these eight is tryptophan. "The brain tryptophan content, and its various by-product neurotransmitter systems, are responsible for maintenance of the ‘homeostatic balance of the body.’ Normal levels of tryptophan in the brain maintain a well-regulated balance in all functions of the body – what is meant by homeostasis. With a decrease in tryptophan supply to the brain, there is a proportionate decrease in the efficiency of all functions in the body.
"Depression and some mental disorders are the consequence of brain tryptophan imbalance. Prozac used in some mental disorders... is a drug that stops the enzymes that break down serotonin, a byproduct of tryptophan. When more serotonin is present, all nerves function normally. However, Prozac cannot replace the indispensable role of tryptophan itself... Hydration of the body, exercise and the intake of right foods help replenish brain tryptophan reserves... Chronic dehydration causes its loss from the pool of different amino acids held in the body." He also points out that stress can cause a dumping of the AAs and that "tryptophan seems to be one of the most important" ones that gets dumped.
As an important aside, Ann Blake Tracy in her book, PROZAC, Panacea or Pandora? says that the side effects from using PROZAC can be devastating, listing: Agitation, Akathisia (need of movement, suicidal tendencies, and tendencies of violence), Atazia (defective muscular coordination), Asthenia (loss of strength), Depersonalization (the belief that one’s own reality is temporarily lost), Hypesthesia (lessened sensitivity to touch), Hypoglycemia (deficiency of sugar in the blood), Hypomania (mild mania and excitement with moderate change in behavior), Hysteria, Mania, Neuralgia (severe sharp pain along the course of a nerve), Neuropathy (disease of the nerves), Paranoia, Psychosis, and Tremors. This is one of many drugs approved by the FDA, and which treat symptoms – and provide no cures – but which can have very serious side effects on one’s health. It is so important that we take our own health into our own hands.
"One must consume the full range of AAs to build the ‘reserve pool’ in due time... The best proteins are those stored in the germinating seeds of plants, such as lentils, grains, beans, etc." From my perspective, the consumption of raw foods from a plant based food selection approaches the ideal diet for optimum health. He says that, "Carrots (for their beta-carotene content) are an essential dietary requirement. Beta-carotene is a precursor for vitamin A and absolutely essential for liver metabolism, apart from its need by the eyes." Potassium is also essential; but not too much. It can be obtained from orange juice or bananas. In addition, he discusses the importance of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are needed for the manufacture of cell membranes, hormones and nerve coverings in the body. Flax seed and flax seed oil are excellent sources for these.
In the book, the various chapters work through the body chemistry and the effects of dehydration and proper hydration as it relates to sickness and health. For example, there is a chapter on the digestive system; one on rheumatoid arthritis, lower-back pain, neck pain, anginal pain, and headaches; one on stress and depression; one on high blood pressure and hypertension; one on cholesterol and why people tend to overeat; one on asthma and allergies; one on both insulin-independent diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes – showing the very important relationship to the AA tryptophan in the body; one on AIDS and that HIV is a misnomer; and a general chapter on dealing with insomnia, fainting, heart attacks, the fallacy of a salt-free diet, our health care systems and the enormous savings that could be appreciated if everyone understood and applied this new "water-cure" paradigm. In the beginning of the book, he makes the intriguing statement that, "Morning sickness of the mother is a thirst signal of both the fetus and the mother." Hence, expectant mothers that have been continually drinking caffeine, diet-free, or alcoholic beverages, put themselves in a state of dehydration – thus increasing the probability of morning sickness and of exacerbating the problems associated therewith. Interspersed throughout the book are other very important discussions around cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, puffiness of the eyes and swelling of the ankles, muscle cramps, the balance of salt and water for healthy cell regeneration, hydration, and sustenance, and providing the proper balance for all aspects of the reproductive process. He says that, "If bulimics begin to rehydrate their [bodies] well and drink water before their food, [their] problem will disappear."
He has some astounding bullet statements in the book like:
He recommends eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water per day – depending, of course, on body size. For each ten glasses of water, he recommends one-half teaspoon of salt. It is better to drink the water away from meals (½ hour before and about 2 hours after). It takes a lot of water to help properly digest food, but the body needs to be well hydrated before. Often, people drink their water with their meals – feeling thirsty mid-way through. Then, he says, "It is already too late, because the damage is registered by the cells lining the blood vessels." He says, "If we begin to appreciate that for the process of digestion of food, water is the most essential ingredient, most of the battle is won. If we give the necessary water to the body before we eat food, all the battle against cholesterol formation in the blood vessels will be won."
He has an extensive and fascinating discussion of the importance of water filtration into each of the cells in their myriad, miraculous, and diverse functions in a healthy, well-balanced, hydrated body. He says, "...water regulates the volume of a cell from inside. Salt regulates the amount of water that is held outside the cells – the ocean around the cell. There is a very delicate balance process in the design of the body in the way it maintains its composition of blood at the expense of fluctuating the water content in some cells of the body. When there is a shortage of water, some cells will go without a portion of their normal needs and some others will get a predetermined rationed amount to maintain function (... the mechanism involves water filtration through the cell membrane). However, blood will normally retain the consistency of its composition. It must do so to keep the normal composition of elements reaching the vital centers."
Current traditional medical thinking is that water acts as the conveyor of various essential minerals in solution to the sundry parts of the body. Dr. B. says, "This is where the ‘solutes paradigm’ is inadequate and goes wrong. It bases all assessments and evaluations of body functions on the solids content of blood. It does not recognize the comparative dehydration of some other parts of the body. All blood tests can appear normal and yet the small capillaries of the heart and the brain may be closed and cause some of the cells of these organs a gradual damage from increasing dehydration over a long period of time." It is my surmise that this may be a significant contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.
He goes on to say, "When we lose thirst sensation (or do not recognize the other signals of dehydration) and drink less water than the daily requirement, the shutting down of some vascular beds is the only natural alternative to keep the rest of the blood vessels full. The question is, how long can we go on like this? The answer is, long enough to ultimately become very ill and die. Unless we get wise to the paradigm shift and professionally and generally begin to recognize the problems associated with water metabolism disturbance in the human body and its variety of thirst signals, chronic dehydration will continue to take its toll on both our bodies and our society!"
Dr. Batmanghelidj now has other books, which are a continuation of this one – reporting their
ongoing research. For myself, I am very happy that our dear friends, Doug and Charlotte Brown, told
us about this book. I can now see where I have not been drinking near enough water over the course
of my life. Just in the short time I have been following his recommended amount, I can see some
significant benefits. For instance, I have been dealing with a lower back pain for many years –
that can go into muscle spasms, and when it does, I cannot even walk. I can already see an
improvement there. I believe this book contains very important information which everyone should
know about, and hence, I have taken the time to write this report. His book is available from any
book store and also from his web site: www.watercure.com.