Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports in his Oct. 1994 Health & Healing newsletter on Dr. F. Batmanghelidj's book "Your Body's Many Cries for Water". Dr. Batmanghelidj argues that "water activates your body's systems, and the lack of it causes a variety of "thirst" responses that we call disease.
For instance, histamine, which causes the bronchioles in your lungs to constrict, is the primary trigger for asthma. However, histamine release is also the body's primary mechanism of stopping water loss from your lungs.
Dr. B argues that most of us are chronically dehydrated, and we have to discipline ourselves to drink water to avoid this. If you drink only when you are thirsty, it's too late - you are already dehydrated. In addition, as you get older, your sense of thirst doesn't work properly.
The mechanism of ulcer formation is particularly interesting. The mucous that lines your stomach, protecting it from the hydrochloric acid, is 98% water. Within this mucous material, sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the acid before it reaches the stomach wall. When your body has too little water, this mucous barrier sloughs off, and the stomach acid eats away at ther stomach cells. When water is added, it immediately goes into the stomach, restoring the mucous membranes.
Once you recognize how devastating dehydration can be, you see how it could be at the root of many illnesses. Arthritis, for instance, is a fiery inflammation of the joint - it is the body's way of burning up. It's a hot spot. . . .Without adequate hydration around the joints, once inflammation starts, it runs rampant, just like a forest fire.
The lubricating material of the joint - called synovial fluid - is almost all water with some protein-carbohydrate molecules. Cartilage also is very high in water content, much higher than bone. When your body has plenty of water, both the lubricating fluid and the cartilage that covers the end of your bones glide smoothly on each other. Obviously, when there is not enough water, neither the synovial fluid nor the cartilage is able to maintain the smooth, gliding action."
Dr. B also describes in his book how lack of water is the primary cause of hypertension.
Water lubricates the body, carries nutrients to the cells and carries off toxins, so drink lots of it - no less than two quarts a day.