We have all heard that it is important to drink enough water
Today I’m going to share three common-sense reasons why, not only drinking enough water, but how drinking about half of your day’s water in the morning can be very important to your health and longevity.
The first common sense reason comes from human evolution.
The second has to do with how your liver needs water to detoxify your whole body.
The third has to do with the physical capacity of your cells to eliminate waste.
Evolution and Your Water Needs
Consider for a moment how many generations of human beings in our long evolutionary past were wandering migratory hunter-gatherers. My anthropologist friends tell me that it is about 98% of the living history of human evolution.
If you can imagine what that way of life was like, imagine carrying a child, carrying your spear or other hunting implements, your shelter, and/or what you might consider a kitchen way back then. One of the hardest things to carry when you’re out in the bush, especially without a lot of modern equipment, is water.
As a hunter, it is very challenging to sneak up on an animal when you have a splashing Gourd of water hanging from your belt.
From a purely practical point of view, it only makes sense that human beings would drink most of their water first thing in the morning, and then head towards another water source.
Human evolution, the way our bodies have adapted to our environment, the way our bodies have adapted to different food supplies, and of course the way our bodies have adapted to how much and when we drink tells us a lot about what our bodies need.
What if your body has adapted to expecting (and needing) to enjoy some fresh water first thing in the morning?
Yes, even before you eat anything, and before you get up to wander the land looking for food, fun, and new friends.
Your Liver NEEDS water first thing in the morning.
Now that you can appreciate some evolutionary common sense – let’s look inside your liver.
Imagine that your liver has two conveyor belts in it, like a tiny little factory. Imagine the blood moving through your liver, going from one end of the factory to the other, passing across each conveyor belt, one at a time. When you eat, the food breaks down and goes from your gut through your portal vein to your liver. Chemically speaking, everything changes from digested food to very useful and bio-available molecules like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and proteins.
That process can create some highly toxic material and, given that we live in the most toxic environment that the human liver has ever had to deal with, those conveyor belts are already very busy – all day, every day.
The reason why I describe the liver as having two conveyor belts is because there are two distinct biochemical processes or stages of liver function. They both have to work together, and at the same pace for optimal health. The first conveyor belt (called the P450 Cytochrome Enzyme System) takes the toxins that come into your liver and binds them with a fat molecule to keep them from causing destructive reactions. The hybrid/toxin fat molecules are stuffed into a fat cell as a short-term ‘prison’. The second conveyor belt (called the Conjugation Enzyme Pathway) combines neutralizing molecules with the toxins from the fat cells to make the less harmful, or even inert.
Gradually, and especially at night while you are asleep, both conveyor belts collaborate to turn those fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble waste. This means that they are no longer as harmful to your body.
And, if you are well hydrated, you can safely pee and poo them out in the morning.
Now imagine that you are your liver. I often do this little cartoon-like dance with my patients, to help them imagine that their liver is busy with its little liver hands, moving the toxins across both conveyor belts. Imagine your liver’s hands all covered in mud. Every morning, your liver takes its little muddy hands (mud being water soluble) and reaches them out until your hands are underneath of your stomach. waiting for that essential water. That clear and refreshing water that has always come first thing in the morning.
Now imagine your liver washing off its muddy little hands.
Goodbye mud and hello breakfast or lunch!
Now imagine what would happen if you placed your busy little liver hands underneath of your stomach; and instead of getting water, you get some really bad coffee and a muffin (probably with a lot of sugar).
Now make the facial expression of your liver as it takes those muddy hands (all of the water-soluble waste) and has to put all of those toxins into as many different corners of your body as it can – including back into a few billion fat cell prisons.
One of the worst things that can happen, often daily, is turning some of those water-soluble wastes back into fat-soluble wastes, so that your liver can be ready to deal with today’s environmental toxins, today’s nutrient-poor food, and of course, any other 21st Century chemicals that are moving through your blood.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, this is an important aspect of Liver Qi Stagnation and/or Counterflow!
Your cells need some water in the morning too!
It is a funny thing to say, but each of your cells has functions of respiration like your lungs, detox pathways like your liver, and elimination of waste like your kidneys. For all of human evolution, your cells have the same concerns and expectations about water.
Your cells are surrounded by an extracellular space, where all of the nutrients coming into your cells are waiting to come in, and all the wastes that are coming out of your cells are waiting to be taken away through your lymphatic systems, through your liver, and through your kidneys.
All of that tissue waste and all of that traffic needs to move uninhibited and freely out of your body. Especially while you’re asleep.
When you first wake up, your cells are hoping that the extracellular space is clearing so that they can flush their proverbial toilets. This might be gross to think about, but if you have about 70 trillion cells, that is quite a lot of toilets flushing first thing in the morning. If you find yourself retaining water, more and more, as you age, this may be why. Your cells can tell your body to literally swell up to keep the concentration of ‘the sewer system’ from poisoning your brain.
These things are happening all the time, but evolution has provided you with an ancient rhythm to support your health in some very practical, efficient, and effective ways.
Traffic jams are bad! If your cells can’t flush their trillions of microscopic toilets, the waste gets stuck. The toxins are irritating, inflammatory, and destructive; and are absolutely not good for your DNA, your mitochondria, and your longevity.
Remember that, as long as your liver can wash the mud off of its happy little paws, then all of your cells can flush their toilets and there are no more traffic jams.
If you drink some water, first thing every day,
As a clinician, my focus is on Autoimmune Disease, Trauma, and Addiction. These all come with chronic inflammation, accelerated tissue breakdown, and a thousand other things that can go wrong with complex chronic illness. These influences create more extracellular congestion. Adding this practice to your day could be a game-changer.
You should feel some changes fairly quickly. If you have long-term chronic illness, it might take a couple of weeks to feel significantly better. For those of us who live with malaise or chronic bad feelings inside of our body, inside of our emotional self, anything that consistently helps us focus on feeling better, is not only like winning the lottery, it also allows us to feel like there might be some light at the end of the tunnel of chronic illness.
I hope you feel inspired to keep your liver, your cells, and your other organs, happy, healthy, and preventing any form of illness.
Make your Ancestors smile, and drink a pint/litre of water in the first 2 hours of the day.
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