In the human body, oxygen is the king, water its queen. Once the Queen, like her Oxygen King, was indomitable—melting mountains, boring rock, decimating deserts, breathing life into bustling canopies in forests. Invisible to the eye, the Queen once sculpted the inner architectures of humans, animals, and plants. Now the Queen is mute—always plasticized, often fermenting, sometimes putrid. At times scalding, unshielded from a raging sun, on occasions soaking parched land but only for brief hours.

Toddlers dig their nails into their abraded skin through a glue of stained fabric. A nursing mother asks: “What causes eczema?” Little children, brought up on sugar and antibiotics, wheeze through steroided inhalers. A fathers asks: “Why did the inhalers stop working?” A teenager tells me she lived on sugar and slept through high school, then asks, “Why am I skipping periods? Why do my muscles hurt?” A woman is distraught with the diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome. She asks: “Why can’t I conceive? I want a second child so bad.” Young men are dismayed when their testosterone levels fall from the levels of 500 to 400 to 300 to 200 to below 100, while the testosterone levels of their wives begin to rise. I give shallow answers through the fog of an inner narrative about anguished Oxygen King and tormented Queen Water. I am too preoccupied with the inner narrative to focus on the ongoing barrage of parental inquisition. I yearn to tell them stories of my troubled King and poisoned Queen. But I do not. I cannot.

Dehydrated toddlers who dig nails into their abraded skin and teenagers with drying ovaries remind me of my days in surgery. The questions of parents of asthmatic children make me wonder about the breakfast their parents might had. When young women tell me about brain fog and skipped periods, I wonder how overloaded their tissues might be with toxic acids. How much of those toxic acids could have been simply washed away with water? How many of the drying and shriveling cells in the ovaries and testes of young women and men could have been saved by some extra water, some herbal teas.

During mid-1960s, as a house surgeon in Pakistan and later in England, water was categorically not my concern. A surgeon sees dehydration only in dying patients. Then I seldom ate breakfast. I am not sure why that was so. Perhaps it was a macho thing — the real surgeons had to begin their mornings with something better than merely engaging Pakistanian Praathas—pita bread, fried, heavily oiled, and salted. Or with a bowl of English porridge. More often than not, in those days lunch was missed as well. By noon, I was nearly always in the midst of a struggle with excising tissues soaked with bloody fluids. Sometimes there was a quick cup of coffee during the midday hours. At other times, I devoured a doughnut or a piece of pastry in the early afternoon. Now when I recall those days, I shudder to think who might have paid what price for my nutritional ignorance—appalling malfeasance, to be precise—of a driven, dehydrated, hypoglycemic, and inexperienced surgeon.

The Monkey in the Morning

The Cortical Monkey wakes up in the morning and begins to recycle past misery. When that is not sufficient, that Monkey precycles feared, future misery. The muscles and joint tissues wake clumsy from hours of inactivity. The bowel wakes up sluggish. The blood glucose is low from the overnight fast. Diurnal rhythm affects other aspects of metabolism as well. The whole body calls for a functional upgrade—pure water, a sustaining breakfast, some noncompetitive limbic exercise, and a surrender to one’s divinity. A tall order! Yes, it is.

However, I know from decades of experience that authentic knowledge eventually encourages most people to make the deired changes. Indeed, next to sleep I spend more time during my visits with patients on this subject than any other single matter. (I am grateful to the nurses and nutritionist at the Institute who diligently and patiently explain to our patients all aspects of our water therapy protocols, nutritional protocols, and so permit me to select areas of my personal focus.)

A Dehydrating Cell Ages Prematurely

A fundamental difference between a youthful cell and a prematurely aging cell is that the former is optimally hydrated while the latter is dehydrated. Living cells produce acids, free radicals, waste products, and ultra-microscopic clots in all bdily fluids at all times. All these elements threaten cellular oxygen functions (homeostasis) and cause dysox— a state of dysfunctional oxygen signaling and metabolism. Dysox fans the fires of excess acids, free radicals, and other waste. Water is unquestionably the simplest, safest, most economical, and the single most effective therapy for preserving cellular and matrix oxygen homeostasis. From that one may conclude that an optimal state of hydration is essential for optimal health. Readers interested in an in-depth discussion of these roles of water are referred to my book entitled “Darwin, Dysox, and Disease, 3rd. Edition, the eleventh volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine.

Optimal Hydration

How much fluid is necessary for optimal hydration? No one can answer the question for someone else. As a general guideline—a very rough estimate—I suggest the following: four quarts of fluid for a 150 Lbs. individual; three quarts for a 130 Lbs. individual; and five quarts for a 170 Lbs. individual. Is that a lot of fluid? Yes, it is. If you do take so much water and causes some discomfort, you will reduce the amount. More likely, you will take three-fourth of the amount, and that would be fine. Conducting Dr. Ali’s Hydration Self-Test would be most helpful. Read on.

Dr. Ali’s Hydration Self-Test

Optimal hydration is enough clean water in the bodily fluids to facilitate all oxygen signaling and oxygen-driven energy and detergent functions. Dehydration is the state in which water in sufficient amounts is not present to support all optimal oxygen roles in the body. This is not the textbook definition of dehydration. This is the view of hydration—and its absence—taught to me by my patients.

People who do not make a deliberate attempt to overhydrate themselves at least for a few hours during the day live in a state of dehydration. Dehydration is usually worse during the mid-afternoon hours. Exceptions to that are persons who maintain some system of regular reminders—such as a large readily visible mug of water in a person’s workplace — and snack on water regularly. Variable degrees of dehydration and hypoglycemia are the two most common causes of mid-afternoon sluggishness or fatigue. Would you like to learn whether or not you are usually optimally hydrated? If so, please read the companion article entitled Dr. Ali’s Hydration Self-Test

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