The Role of Water in Human Metabolism & Performance

ImageAside from water being classified as an essential nutrient, I feel that it deserves special attention due to the fact that most people underestimate its importance in human nutrition.  One interesting fact is that the human body can survive for up to five weeks without protein, carbohydrates and/or fats, and only five days without water.

Rarely do we ever see an adequate water intake included as part of an individual’s regular dietary regime.  In fact, it has been determined that 75% of the American population is chronically dehydrated with further speculation that this finding likely applies to half the world population.

As far as the genders are concerned, it should be noted that although men have a higher percentage of water contained in their bodies than women (primarily due to a higher lean body mass) it does not make the water requirements for women any less important than those for men.

Although people normally drink water in order to satisfy the thirst drives brought on by neural innervation, there are other instances (especially before, during and after strenuous exercise) when water intake should be strongly considered.

Water performs three important biological functions in the human body: it provides structure and form to the body also known as its tugor; it provides the fluid environment both intracellularly required for normal cell metabolism and water regulates the temperature of the body.

Water can be supplied to the body by actually drinking water and other beverages high in water content such as tea and coffee, preformed water contained in foods, especially low calorie fruits and vegetables such as melons, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. and metabolic water which is a by product of cellular oxidation.

More about Water and Human Performance…next time!

Just a reminder…When it comes to achieving optimal health, fitness and performance, the INTRAFITT Program is second to none because its concepts and applications favorably impact each and every aspect of our triune existence (mind, body & spirit).  This simply means that not only will you feel, look and perform at your very best on a physical level, you will also achieve a heightened ability in your cognitive thinking as well! Send me an email with any questions:

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In health & honor,
Will Smith aka/Thunder of the American Gladiator days

Vitamins and Minerals-The Energy Releasing Nutrients

Dear Friends,

I’d like to take the time to devote the next two articles to focusing on vitamins and minerals.  I’m going to start by saying that vitamins are essential to the human body and must be supplied in minute amounts in order to sustain life.  Also, for the most part, vitamins cannot be manufactured by the human body and must therefore be obtained from the foods in our diet, or if necessary, through supplementation.  Despite the fact that many people believe vitamins themselves can provide energy to the body, they function as bio-regulatory substances and cannot be metabolized for energy.  As previously mentioned in previous articles, the energy value of food is measured in calories.  Since vitamins themselves do not contain calories, they cannot supply energy directly to the body.  Many vitamins, however, are necessary for the release of energy, which is derived from the energy nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats).

Certain vitamins are eaten in their “pro-vitamin” or “precursor” form and are then converted to their active form.  For example, beta carotene, the natural form of Vitamin A must be converted to retinol before it can be used by the body.  Vitamins are organized into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble.  Vitamins A, D, E and K are classified as fat soluble vitamins whereas the B vitamins and vitamin C are classified as water-soluble vitamins.  Fat-soluble vitamins are stored primarily in the liver and adipose tissue and require protein carriers in the blood such as chylomicrons for their transport within the body.  Because of the ability of fat-soluble vitamins to be stored in the liver, they do have the potential to become toxic if taken in excess.  Water soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are more easily destroyed during food processing and cooking.  These vitamins travel unattached in the blood, are excreted in the urine, and do not have the same storage potential within the body as the fat soluble vitamins.  consequently, it is not likely that the water-soluble vitamins will become toxic unless taken in exceptionally high doses.

Vitamins also play a very important role with regulatory proteins called enzymes.  Enzymes are made of two parts, one part is a protein molecule and the other part is a coenzyme.  The coenzyme part is usually a vitamin or it may contain a vitamin, or it may be a molecule that has been manufactured from a vitamin.

Nevertheless, enzymes are responsible for many biochemical reactions within the body such as tissue growth, metabolism, cellular reproduction and the digestion of food.  Most enzymes remain within the cell and function as catalysts, in other words, they initiate chemical reactions, which allow other work within the cell to continue.  Since vitamins play an intrinsic role in cellular metabolism, a lack of one or more may cause a variety of metabolic aberrations.

For example, a cell that is poorly nourished may actually contain enzymes without the proper coenzyme (vitamin) part making them nonfunctional.  Although an adequate number of functional enzymes may exist for the cell to continue working for a long period of time, the cell will eventually  begin to function more slowly either until it receives proper nourishment or until it dies.  this procedure may explain why vitamin deficiencies do not take place overnight or over a couple of days; instead many weeks or even months are required for signs of a vitamin deficiency to appear.

Tomorrow we will discuss Minerals!

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.

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