The Role of Water in our Body


Our body weight is made up of up to 60% of water. No living creature survives without water as almost all chemical reactions in plants, animals and microbial cells require water to carry out their processes.

The body uses water to regulate our body temperature via sweat and breathing. It also helps transport food and oxygen through our bloodstream and washes out waste products from cellular respiration. It acts as protection for the brain, spinal cord and growing babies, and keeps our skin healthy. Joint lubrication, hangover reduction, weight loss, boosting the effects of exercise, digestion, saliva correlation... The list of things that water does for us is endless! The organs are mostly made up of water, for example:

- Blood plasma 90% water
- Lungs 83% water
- Muscles 79% water
- Brain 73% water
- Heart 73% water
- Skin 64% water
- Bones 31% water

NHS guidelines state that we should aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day (approximately 1.9 litres). This includes the water we consume in food, which makes up between 20 - 30% of our water intake; but it does depend on what what type of foods we eat. 10% of our intake can even be produced by our own cells, known as metabolic water, and this amount can vary depending on how active we are.

Despite it being essential for us, water intake is not as clear cut as it seems, with heated debate in the scientific world as to the lack of scientific data to support the recommendations. Age, weight, activity and water usage (such as having a fever, diarrhoea, vomiting etc) all impact on our requirements. Some scientists have even highlighted that some promoters of the recommendations have included companies who produce and sell water.

The overall message is clear though: drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and feeling great.

Water related AnatomyStuff resources:

Blood Components Model

Anatomy of the Brain Poster

Exercise Guidelines for Adults Poster

Further reading / sources:

Water and its importance to life:
Recommended daily water intake:
NHS guidelines
Questioning the recommended intake:
Water in the blood:
Benefits of drinking water:
What your body uses water for:
Dehydration symptoms:

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