Dehydration Causes Pain and Disease

You must drink at least 3 liters of water every day if you plan to be healthy and disease-free. Don’t spend the rest of your life chronically dehydrated, needlessly suffering low energy, cravings, premature aging, pain, headaches and serious illness.


Dehydration belies why the US is such a sick nation. There are many dangers of dehydration. Without adequate water intake, you cannot eliminate waste products, acidity, and toxins, initiating pain and disease. Dr. Batmanghelidj studied and researched water for 22 years and was one of the first modern doctors to claim that hydration prevents and treats a vast array of illnesses. His book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, attributes most pain and sickness simply to chronic dehydration. You can read about his work on his website,

Dehydration sets in long before your mouth becomes dry. I have mistakenly thought for years that I could simply use a dry mouth as a cue that I need more water. Not so. Your body produces saliva, regardless of the body’s water shortage, making this cue a poor indicator of true thirst. Dry mouth is actually one of the last indicators of dehydration. By the time the body reflects dehydration through invoking the thirst sensation, it is short by two to three glasses of water. As we grow older, we lose our ability to perceive thirst and suffer even worse dehydration. The cells do not take in water immediately — they take time to hydrate. Once you begin to properly hydrate, the process of full hydration of the cells will take several days.

Water is the only liquid that truly hydrates the body. It is a grave mistake to think that any fluid can replace the water needs of the body. Manufactured beverages do not function in the body like pure water. Juice, tea, and other liquids don’t hydrate as much because they are not pure water. Caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda, and black tea don’t count because they are dehydrating diuretics. When you drink coffee, tea, or alcohol, your body excretes all the liquid in the drink, plus additional water.

Persistent dehydration changes the chemical state in your body. When a dehydrated chemical-state has become established in the body, it causes structural changes, even to the genetic blueprint of the body — your DNA. By the time your mouth is dry, many delicate functions of the body have been shut down, e.g. delicate enzymatic processes. Ultimately, dehydration causes genetic damage leading to cancer, autoimmune diseases, and innumerable health conditions if allowed to persist long enough.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

I’ve read for years that I should drink 8 glasses of water a day. More accurately, you should drink 3 liters per day. This is a nice, rough estimate. The amount you need depends on:

  • Size. A smaller person will need less water than a larger person. A larger person will likely need more than 8 glasses of water. Roughly, you need to drink half your body weight in ounces. So, a 200 lb/90kg person should drink 100 ounces/3 quarts/3 liters of water per day.
  • Diet. When you eat sugar or salt, you need more water to metabolize these substances. Have you noticed that you get really thirsty after eating salty or sweet food?
  • Activity. If you spend an hour a day working out or doing an infrared sauna, you’re going to need more water to replace what was lost through sweat.
  • Climate. You’re going to need more water lost by living in hot or arid climates.
  • Diuretics. If you drink coffee, caffeine, or alcohol, you’re going to have to drink an equal amount of the liquid you drank, plus a little more, lost by drinking these diuretics. If you take diuretic medications, namely blood pressure medications that include a diuretic pill, you’ll need to drink more water.

Timing of water consumption is important. Many find themselves thirsty by afternoon because they haven’t had enough water or drank a beverage containing caffeine, a diuretic. If you drink too much after dinner trying to play hydration catch-up, you may have to get up to urinate in the middle of the night, disrupting sleep. Upon waking, guzzle two glasses of water. Then, try to drink the majority of your daily water quota in the morning and early afternoon.

If you want to barf at the thought of drinking water, you’re going to have to grow up! I used to primarily drink diet soda or tea with my meals as another form of food entertainment — a nice taste or feel in my mouth. Water was so boring to me. I got over the hump by squeezing lemon into my water with a little stevia. I’d drink sparkling water like Perrier or Pellegrino if I were craving carbonation. Sometimes, I’d give my water a squeeze of lime, orange, blood orange, even cucumber. In time, I graduated to truly loving plain water and now only drink water with my meals. I never thought I’d only drink water — not in a million years. Give yourself time to transition. You’ll be glad you did.

Reasons Your Body Needs Water

This is the short list, but you’ll get the idea of how critical water is to your health:

  1. Water prevents DNA damage and ensures the body makes less abnormal DNA. Abnormal DNA results in cancer or dysfunctional DNA, which can be passed on to your children.
  2. Water increases the efficiency of the immune system (i.e. against cancer) in the bone marrow, where the immune system is formed.
  3. Water breaks down food and vitamins. Without it, proper assimilation of nutrients cannot occur.
  4. Water creates hydroelectric energy in your body. You don’t get all your energy from food. More water means more energy.
  5. Water is the main lubricant in the joint spaces and prevents arthritis, back pain, and all types of pain.
  6. Water is used in the spinal discs to make them shock absorbers, without which they disintegrate.
  7. Water is the best laxative that prevents constipation.
  8. Water prevents clogging of arteries in the heart and brain.
  9. Water is directly needed for the efficient manufacture of all neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
  10. Water is needed to produce all hormones in the brain, including melatonin, without which, you don’t sleep well.
  11. Water reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
  12. Water smoothes skin and decreases the signs of aging.
  13. Water aids in sex hormone production — without which you can suffer low libido and impotence.
  14. Water reduces cravings as it separates the sensations of thirst and hunger, aiding in weight loss.
  15. Water clears deposits of toxic waste in the tissue spaces, joints, kidneys, liver, brain, and skin.
  16. Water helps to prevent memory loss as we age. It reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s.
  17. Water helps reverse addictive urges to use caffeine, alcohol, and drugs.

Dehydration and Disease

Health deterioration and the road to disease begin with the notion that you only need to drink when thirsty. Your body gives you many other hints that it’s thirsty. You just have to know what to look for. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, there are three different sets of symptoms and conditions that signal dehydration.

  • Stage 1. This stage is easily reversible with water consumption. Feelings include:
  1. Fatigue
  2. Flushed face
  3. Constipation
  4. Irritability
  5. Impatience
  6. Anxiety
  7. Depression
  8. Short Attention Span
  9. Poor Sleep
  10. Food Cravings
  11. Drink Cravings, especially for beverages other than water
  • Stage 2. Emergency indicators of dehydration are due to acid buildup inside cells, which cause pain. Adequate water intake washes these acids away, preventing ‘burns’ in the tissues. The following forms of pain are early indicators of future potential genetic damage produced by chronic dehydration in the body. Before dehydration hurts you irreversibly, your body will show its urgent need for water through different types of pain. These are your body’s crisis calls for water. Simply drinking more water can relieve pain and suffering.
  1. Heartburn
  2. Dyspeptic Pain (ulcers)
  3. Angina Pain
  4. Lower Back Pain
  5. Rheumatoid Joint Pain
  6. Migraine Headaches
  7. Colitis Pain
  8. Fibromyalgia Pain
  9. Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
  10. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  11. Bulimia/Vomiting
  • Stage 3. The following health conditions represent the body managing long-term chronic dehydration, being forced to ration water to more important bodily functions. Over time, dehydration erodes the body and presents as many of the diseases below. The last item, autoimmune diseases, represents over one hundred diseases that can be looked at as the cannibalistic process of water resource management at the expense of the body’s own tissues brought about by persistent dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, parts of the body must be sacrificed for the gain of more important parts and functions. These conditions take longer to resolve, but can even be reversed with extended proper hydration.
  1. Asthma
  2. Allergies
  3. Obesity
  4. High Cholesterol
  5. Arterial Plaque
  6. Strokes
  7. Osteoporosis
  8. Osteoarthritis
  9. Heart Failure
  10. Hypertension/High Blood Pressure
  11. Type II Diabetes
  12. Juvenile Diabetes
  13. Multiple Sclerosis
  14. Muscular Dystrophy
  15. Scleroderma
  16. Cancer
  17. Parkinson’s
  18. Alzheimer’s
  19. Lou Gehrig’s
  20. Autoimmune Diseases, like Lupus, Vitiligo, Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.

There is a way to prevent and cure degenerative diseases simply and naturally with water. There are many, many conditions that represent complications, namely tissue and organ damage, caused by persistent dehydration over long periods of time. To learn more, read the life-saving book by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, MD. Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!  from which the above information in this section was excerpt. Or see his website,

How Water Cures Pain

Today, over 100 million Americans need pain medication to make life bearable. However, water consumption can reduce or eliminate pain naturally, rather than cover up symptoms. Pain produced by dehydration is simple to understand. Acidity causes irritation of some nerve endings in the body. The brain translates this information into pain signals. This does not mean you need to drink alkaline water to combat acidity. It simply means you need to drink fresh, pure spring water — what mankind has been drinking for millennia.

Your body should be at 7.4 alkalinity. This alkaline level promotes health because enzymes perform at optimum efficiency in the cells at this pH. Water washes out the acidity of the cell and makes the cell interior alkaline. This is achieved by eating a balanced diet of protein and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and limiting dairy, sugar, flour, and other acidic foods. You don’t need to drink alkaline water (which is inferior filtered water with minerals added back in). You don’t need to eat an ALL alkaline diet (like a vegan diet) unless you have a serious chronic disease like cancer, indicating an acidic state that needs to be turned around FAST.

The brain is better protected against acid buildup because it gets priority water delivery. The rest of the body is not so fortunate. With persistent dehydration, the brain, too, becomes damaged from acidity in the cells. Hence, conditions such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Headaches are also the result of a dehydrated brain.

Histamine, responsible for allergic reactions, headaches and other functions, is released due to dehydration to promote circulation — circulation that would be provided if there were adequate water. This mechanism is how the body survives some dehydration. Whether the dehydration is caused by insufficient intake of water, stress, alcohol, caffeine, or body overheating, the action of histamine causes headaches or migraines. All painkillers cut the communication between histamine and body systems they control. For pain relief, all you need is to drink 2-4 cool glasses of water. Cool water promotes circulation in the brain. Migraine is a centrally produced signal for dehydration or overheating of the brain. This is why painkillers do not work for migraines.

Drink Only Spring Water

Pure water is a type of “whole food.” Like other whole foods, when it is tampered with, water loses most of its precious healing properties. Water is tampered with any time one adds anything to it, filters it using anything except carbon, spins it, alkalizes it, or does other things to it. All of these manipulations tend to ruin it, rendering it less healthy and hydrating.

I learned this first hand when I bought a reverse osmosis alkaline water system for $1100 before I had done enough research. The system comprised of six filters, including a reverse osmosis stage to remove all chemicals, with the water going through a final stage that mineralized the water and made it alkaline. Pure drinking water right at my fingertips. Sounded high-tech and perfect! Excited about my new purchase, I drank 10 glasses, almost 4 liters, of water a day. I drank more and more, drinking ten glasses of water a day for weeks. But I was still thirsty! I never felt satiated. Fearing I made a mistake in my purchase, I began researching water yet again. Then I read on Dr. L Wilson’s website that reverse osmosis water does not hydrate as well as spring water. I can certainly attest to this; it dawned on me that the water I was drinking, while free of contaminants, wasn’t hydrating my body because it was damaged by the filtration. Since then, I only drink spring water and feel fully hydrated after 3 liters a day. However, I didn’t waste my money on the filter. Now I have pesticide, contaminant-free water for cooking and washing my vegetables.

Reverse osmosis, sadly, is not good for drinking. You cannot undo the damage to the water after passing it through the plastic membrane of a reverse osmosis filter. Most water sold in plastic bottles has been filtered via reverse osmosis.

Spring water is the only type of water you should drink. It’s okay if you drink other water occasionally, but try to make spring water the majority of the water you drink. Spring water has been filtered by the earth in ways we do not completely understand, but which works better than any invented means of purifying water. Another advantage is that it contains a wide variety of trace minerals that the human body desperately needs. Ideally, drink only spring water from remote places on earth. It will be freer from pollutants. I like Ice Age water from a remote Glacier in Canada for its mineral profile. I love Hawaiian waters that run through mineral-rich volcanic rock (Hawaii is one of the most remote places on earth). You can also cheaply buy safe spring near you at

I hope this blog post clarifies how important water is to your health. While writing, I started guzzling water like crazy!!! Enjoy your bathroom breaks every 30 minutes. Try to view them, not as a nuisance, but as breaks for your health. You must drink vast amounts of water to detox your body and prevent needless suffering and illness. Pain is your body crying out for water. Don’t take an aspirin; drink a few glasses of water. Here’s to your health!

If you have any questions or anything to add to this conversation, please leave a comment and I will answer. Tell me your story. If you drink 3 liters of water a day for a month or more and it cures your health problems, I want to know.

Click here for References+

1. Batmanghelidj, Fereydoon, MD. Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty! Warner Books, 2005.
2. Environmental Working Group. EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide.
3. Environmental Working Group. Pharmaceuticals Pollute U.S. Tap Water. March 2008.
4. Environmental Working Group. Tips for Drinking Safe Water.
5. Rosenthal, Joshua. Integrative Nutrition. Integrative Nutrition Publishing, 2008.
6. Wilson, Lawrence, MD. Water for Health and Longevity. January, 2013.


in Articles/Diet/Nutrition/Survive

Wendy Myers, FDN, CHHC, is a functional diagnostic nutritionist, certified holistic health coach and founder of Her passions include getting you healthy, Modern Paleo, retoxing and detoxing. Discover her Myers Detox Protocol and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with metal detox.

  • Rochelle Gance

    Hi Wendy

    This is Rochelle I am Sharon Rechtman’s sister from australia

    I really enjoy reading your posts.

    With regards to water I was wondering your thoughts on drinking water before and after eating. I went with Sharon to a health retreat and they informed us that you should not drink water 20 mins before or after a meal as it dilutes the gastric juices that aid digestion As I eat regularly every 2-3 hrs I found that I was not drinking as much water as I used to.

    What are your thoughts on that theory? Is it more important to drink water than worry about when you have it?

    Thank you so much Warm regards Rochelle Sent from my iPhone

    • HI Rochelle!
      So great to hear from you! I’m so happy to like the blog. Like all things in nutrition, there are great arguments for avoiding water around meals and arguments for drinking whenever and not worrying about drinking while eating. It seems logical that you should not dilute gastric acid, but I tend to think that your stomach can handle plenty of water and digest your food just fine. It all depends on the person. I have low stomach acid, due to adrenal fatigue, so I supplement HCL with pepsin to digest my food until the adrenal fatigue clears. And what about when you eat soup? It’s water! This whole avoiding water during meals just doesn’t make sense to me. I need water to wash down my food. Therefore, I don’t worry about it. I tend to go with the expert on this subject, Dr F. Batmangheldj, who wrote the book upon which this blog post was based, Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re not Sick, You’re Thirsty. He studied water for over 20 years. In his expert opinion, he says, “Water should be drunk before meals. The optimum time is 30 minutes before eating. This prepares the digestive tract. 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.” In other words, drink water all the time! I say, don’t worry about it. Bottoms up!

  • Mark

    I’m open-minded to what you have to say, however I have trouble with a few of the claims, for example, “You cannot undo the damage to the water after passing it through the plastic membrane of a reverse osmosis filter.”

    Logically, this would mean that all water that has ever passed through a R.O. filter (billions of gallons, worldwide) has not only been irreversibly damaged, but also, that as long as R.O. filtering continues, ALL water on the planet will eventually become “irreversibly damaged.” This conclusion I find near impossible to accept. Also, exactly how does the water become ‘damaged’, by R.O. filtering? I assume you mean not by just being stripped of minerals, but rather in some mysterious molecular way, which I am keen to know. Thank you.

    • From how it has been explained to me, the structure of the RO filtered water is damaged in some subtle way by passing through the RO membrane. There is a lot of research these days into how water can subtly be damaged. If the water was suitable for drinking, then why doesn’t it hydrate you? It must be that the water is damaged in some subtle way rendering it unable to penetrate the cells very effectively. I know for a fact that RO does not hydrate you because I’ve experienced it myself. I was even drinking RO water that had minerals added to it. Even with this addition, it still was not hydrating me after drinking 10 glasses a day.

      Certainly, not all water on the planet is going to be RO filtered at any point in time. It’s very expensive and not practical for filtering large amounts of water. RO filtering also wastes a lot of water. it takes 20 gallons of water to make one gallon of filtered RO water. While, you can refilter the RO filtered water, there is still a lot of waste. It’s not practical on a large commercial scale.

      Do an experiment yourself. Spend a week drinking only RO water. Then spend another week drinking only spring water. I promise you will feel much better drinking the spring water and will need much less of it.

      • Nick

        I’m not sure where you’re getting your facts. My R.O. system uses a 4 to 1 ratio to make filtered water (meaning it takes only 4 gallons to make 1 gallon). It is the cheapest one you can buy at home depot for $149. And your use of the word ‘damage’ seems harsh. You claim it damages it ‘in some subtle way.’ Care to be more specific? Perhaps provide some references?

        When you remove all contaminants from drinking water via R.O. (including essential minerals), it is important to replace those minerals for proper absorption. You can supplement your filtered water with trace minerals from your local health food store. 6 drops per 8 ounce glass is all it takes and it’s very inexpensive to do so! Much cheaper than buying spring water, and not to mention the hassle of lugging around heavy water containers…

        Other than that, I found your article very insightful. Thank you for taking the time to help educate. 😉

  • Rongqiao He

    Dear Wendy,
    Thank you so much for your posts on drinking water. It is important to everyone. Recently, we have published a paper entitled: “Chronic Dehydration and Regularly Drinking Water to Mitigate Age-Related Cognitive Impairment” in Acta Neuropharmacologica. We support your point of view about water.

    LI Ting,QIANG Min,HE Rong-qiao. Chronic Dehydration and Regularly Drinking Water to Mitigate Age-Related Cognitive Impairment[J]. Acta Neuropharmacologica, 2012, 2(3): 43-51

    • Thank you so much! I am happy you have done research to support my views. Of course I am simply quoting the work of Dr. Batmanghelidj! I love that you are doing research in this area. Keep up the good work! So many are unaware of how devastating chronic low level dehydration is to their health. We must get the word out!

  • Cathy

    For many years I have suffered with OA ,morning stiffness,dry mouth,skin, low wbc’s and have been told that my immune system is comprormised. I had food poising that resulted to severe diarrhea that lasted for three to four days. I had to be admitted to the hospital because I losses conscious. After being treated with several bags of IV fluids I started to come around and feel a little better. Within three to four day I notice my joint was gone, I mean I needed no ibuprofen. Since then I’ve looked up the danger of being dehydrated and was shock to find the this could be the culprit to all my muscle,joint pain all this time. I was told to take pedi-lyte to build up what was loss. I look forward to see, with complete hydration how my symtoms improves.

  • I did write this article a couple years ago so there obviously have been improvements in the design of reverse osmosis filters – and a change in prices! I will review the article and make some updates. Thanks for the heads up.