Dr. Julian Whitaker's

Health & Healing


October 1994

Vol. 4, No. 10


October 1994 Vol. 4, No. 10 (HEALTH & HEALING NEWSLETTERS 1994 & 1995)

Don't Sell Yourself Short On Water 

We take water for granted, and, consequently, we don't drink enough of it. The standard recommendation is to drink eight eight ounce glasses of water a day. That's a glass of water, not coffee or juice, each hour of the working day. How many of you do that? If you think you drink that much, have you ever monitored it to make sure? If you are shorting yourself on water, you're making yourself sick. In his book, "Your Body's Many Cries for Water," F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., an Iranian physician, paints a convincing case that chronic, unintentional, dehydration is at the root of many of our more serious maladies, including asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, and lower back pain. 

Even if he is only half right, imagine the suffering we bring upon ourselves by not drinking enough water. In medical school we learned that water was unimportant to the body even though it consists of 75% water. Water was inactive, simply "along for the ride." We were taught that conditions such as too much stomach acid, increased histamine, and increased cholesterol were all malfunctions of the solid or solute parts of your body.

We Need To Change The Way We Think About Water

In his book, Dr. Batmanghelidj calls for a paradigm shift. He argues that it is water that 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 trigger for asthma. However, histamine release is also the body's primary mechanism of stopping water loss from your lungs.

Dr. Batmanghelidj 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 feel thirsty, it's too late you are already dehydrated. In addition, as you get older, your sense of thirst doesn't work properly. Many elderly people walk around dry as a prune, with visibly dry mouths but no sense of thirst.

How Water Can Prevent an Ulcer and Arthritis

The mechanism of ulcer formation is particularly interesting. The mucus 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 slough off, and the stomach acid eats away at the 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. Forest fires are hot spots on the planet. The central requirement for both is lack of water. 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 ends 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 joint motion.

And High Blood Pressure...

I was particularly stunned by Dr. Batmanghelidj's lucid description of how lack of water is the primary cause of hypertension, which affects 50 million Americans. For over 20 years I have, and rightly so, recommended increased intakes of both magnesium and potassium to counterbalance the excess sodium involved in hypertension.  

As Dr. Batmanghelidj clearly points out, however, the very mechanisms that cause the body to elevate your blood pressure the hormone system in your kidneys that conserves sodium, the constriction of your arteries, the increased action of your sympathetic nervous system are also those used to combat water loss.  

Even so, for 20 years it never dawned on me to tell my patients with hypertension to drink more water. I was taught to treat high blood pressure with drugs, a practice that Dr. Batmanghelidj dismisses as "scientific absurdity." Dr. Batmanghelidj contends that water may relieve an enormous amount of human suffering. I agree.

Wash Away Your Back Pain 3/95 Vol. #5 #3

I have written many times on water and its importance for a variety of ailments (see Oct. 1994 Health & Healing), and you will be hearing about it from me again, as this is a paradigm shift. What I mean by this is that most people consider water to be an inactive solvent, unlike cholesterol, enzymes and other dynamic molecules in your body. In reality, though, it is water that causes the other substances in your body to get up and move. When a paradigm shift like this occurs, individuals are not likely to understand or grasp it the first time around.  

So against this backdrop, let's talk about back pain. It's an enormous problem in this country. Half of Americans have at least one day of back pain a year which interferes with their daily routine, and the average for such back related incapacity is six days. Over 40 million people over 15% of our population suffer from chronic back pain. The medical costs for treating back pain total $80 billion a year. That is about $9 million an hour, 24 hours a day! Much of the cost is for the over 200,000 operations performed annually to remove discs between spinal vertebrae. Think about it chances are you know several people who have had this operation.  

Folks, I just can't believe that the design of the human body is so faulty that some 15% of us wind up crippled with back pain. Secondly, I am convinced that our conventional treatment with drugs and surgery is not only not helping the problem but is probably making it worse like swatting flies in a china shop with a baseball bat! Surely there is a simpler, less expensive, less dangerous, more effective approach to this enormous problem, and it is likely sitting there right under our noses. Well, I lust may have found it, and I want to share it with you.

Simply Put, Your Back Hurts Because It's Thirsty

In his incredibly easy-to-read paperback book, "How to Deal with Back Pain and Rheumatoid Joint Pain," F Batmanghelidj M.D., of Falls Church, Va., outlines and convincingly supports a seemingly preposterous theory. He writes that a lot of our back pain, and even rheumatoid pain is due to an insufficient amount of water, a symptom of chronic dehydration. In the most simplistic terms, our backs hurt because our bodies are thirsty.

Once you understand the mechanics behind your spinal column and how it supports your body, the connection between hydration and back pain is quite straightforward.  

First, as Dr. Batmanghelidj writes, most of the pain people experience in the back is from strain, injury or overwork of the back muscles. The stressed cells need ample amounts of water to flush out the acid particles created by the increased work or stress. When copious hydration is supplied, the cells have no problem. When we become dehydrated and most of us are chronically dehydrated then the cells are unable to rid themselves of these acid components. As a result, the cells produce substances called kinins, which are polypeptide hormones that remain dormant unless your water level drops too low or your salt level goes too high. The function of kinins is to cause pain a not-so-subtle sign to the body to stop using that section of the body or more severe damage will occur, and get some water into the system so the acid clearing pumps con do their job.  

Alleviating pain in arthritic or low back conditions cannot be done simply by drinking several glasses of water at one time. If dehydration has been around for a while, as has the pain, then relief will occur only after the body has had an increased intake of water for several days.

Your Discs Need Lubrication to Help Short Circuit Pain

Secondly, the discs in the lower back that separate the spinal vertebrae act as shock absorbers just like the springs and shock absorbers on a car. Just imagine driving a car with no shock absorbers or springs over a rough, bumpy road where each bump is felt "as is." These discs are attached to the vertebrae only at the edges. Therefore, as they are compressed, each disc can shift either towards the back or towards the front.          

The ability of these discs to act as shock absorbers and shift one way or the other in response to stress is completely dependent upon adequate amounts of water. As discs are compressed, they extrude water. When that pressure is relieved or the discs shift frontward or backward, a vacuum is created inside the disc space and water rapidly flows in, rehydrating and cushioning the vertebrae. Without this powerful water surge, these discs flatten and slip out of spinal alignment, causing acute and chronic pain on the nerves behind the disc.

Standard treatment for disc slippage is surgical disc removal, an operation performed over 200,000 times a year. While this conventional approach may alleviate your back pain, in the long run it sets you up for more problems. You see, once a disc is removed or a joint is fused, then you just increase the chance of other discs deteriorating because you have removed a good portion of the shocking system and increased the stress on the remaining discs.

These Exercises Are Different But They Do Relieve Pain

Whereas people with acute disc pain are told to lie in bed in the fetal position curving the spine outward, Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends exercises that have you lie on your stomach with pillows under your chest and pelvis to gradually bend the spine inward.  

By gently bending the spine inward toward the front, the anterior spinal bodies separate, creating a vacuum, which pulls the discs away from the nerves, thus alleviating pain. In addition, this vacuum stimulates the water flow into the disc, which separates the tiny facet joints of the spinal body, another source of irritation and pain. The end result is relief.

This Subscriber Cured Her Son's Asthma With Water

Several months ago, in October 1994, 1 wrote how increasing the amount of water you drink could help many health conditions. In medical school, I was taught that water had no therapeutic value unless you were severely dehydrated. After reading the book "Your Body's Many Cries for Water" by F.Batmanghelidj, M.D., I changed my thinking, and believe that water is so good for you that drinking it is now one of the seven steps of the Whitaker Program.  

One very important benefit of drinking substantial amounts of water is the alleviation of asthma.

Water Affects Your Body's Release Of Histamine

In asthma and other allergic conditions that involve the release of histamine, the histamine constricts the bronchioles of the lungs, causing the characteristic wheezing. 

What conventional physicians don't consider is that histamine, the agent that brings on asthma, is also the mechanism used by the body to prevent water loss through the lungs. In other words, when you are dehydrated, your body produces histamine to prevent water loss through your lungs. It seems reasonable to assume, then, that a person with asthma could cut off the histamine release by drinking substantial amounts of water, which is exactly what happened to young Jeremy Christopher.

Her Son's Asthma Cleared Up In four Days

Jeremy is the eight-year old son of subscriber Cheryl Brown Christopher, M.D. For four years he had been having allergic reactions, which progressed over the lost two years to severe asthma, requiring almost daily medication. Dr. Brown Christopher is a Health Healing subscriber and read about the use of water for the treatment of asthma. She bought the recommended book, and even met with Dr. Batmanghelidj.  

Jeremy was given eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, which is substantially more water than a normal eight-year old would drink. Some extra salt was added to his food to compensate for the increased water intake, and he drank fewer soft drinks as well.  

In four days Jeremy's symptoms had improved so much that he stopped all medications, and in one month he was entirely normal, with no asthmatic symptoms at all. His lung capacity went from about 60% of predicted normal, even with medication, to 120% with no medication.


The key to this kind of success is that you must schedule your water intake. Most of us do not naturally drink the amount of water necessary for improvement, so we function with low level dehydration, and suffer a variety of diseases as a result. You must make a consistent, conscientious effort to drink water.  

I want this story to serve as a recommendation to all of you to increase your water intake to about three quarts per day for adults, and two quarts a day for children ages eight and above. If you have heart problems or kidney problems that require restriction of fluids, do not follow this advice without checking with your doctor first.  

In addition, I'd like all subscribers who have asthma or know someone with asthma to encourage drinking water as an adjunct therapy, and please let me know the outcome.

Reprinted with permission, Phillips Publishing Inc. To subscribe to Health & Healing by Dr Julian Whitaker, or for more information about the topics Dr. Whitaker covers in his newsletter please call 800-1539-8219. 

Julian Whitaker, M.D., has practiced medicine for over 25 years, after receiving degrees from Dartmouth College and Emory University.

Dr. Whitaker has long been an advocate of living a healthy life. He was instrumental in the- creation of Healthy Directions, the nutritional supplement company that manufactures his exclusive product formulations, and continues as a compensated consultant to HD on the formulation and development of new products based on the latest patient-tested medical and nutritional research. He is the author of eight major health books: Reversing Hypertension, The Memory Solution, Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks, The Pain Relief Breakthrough, Reversing Heart Disease, Reversing Diabetes, A Guide to Natural Healing, and Is Heart Surgery Necessary?

Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing  (ISSN 1057-9273) is published monthly by Phillips International, Inc., 7811 Montrose Road, Potomac, MD 20854-3394, telephone 800/539-8219. Please write or call if you have a question concerning your subscription. Periodicals postage paid at Rockville, MD and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing, 7811 Montrose Road, Potomac, MD 20854-3394.

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  Vol. 4, No.10