First, sufficient water needs to be consumed to maintain minimal body hydration and function. This consumption is under the influence of social behavior and the body’s thirst reflexes. The water is often consumed in the form of beverages and juices.
Second, the conscious consumption of extra water – 6 to 8 glasses of water per day – appears to optimise hydration with some significant health benefits.
Third, the consumption of water, or extra water, that contains magnesium (and possibly calcium) appears to be associated with more significant long term health benefits.
The water molecule consists of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms and has the chemical formula H2O. Water is a polar molecule where the oxygen atom is partially negatively charged and the hydrogen atoms are partially positively charged. The partial charges within water molecules are responsible for water’s physical properties and for all its biological and chemical activities. The partial charges within a water molecule attract other water molecules forming bonds called hydrogen bonds.
Research conducted internationally over the past two decades has shown that water’s role in the body is far more important than initially realised. Indeed, all intracellular chemistry and all cellular activities do not just take place in water but are determined actively by water. Water is an active component in the formation of intracellular components. The chemical (polar) nature of water determines the structure, function and hydration of intracellular biomolecules and assemblies. For example, the classic double-helix of DNA is hydration dependent and does not exist per se. Among other factors, appropriate charge shielding by water and counter ions is essential to screen the electrostatic repulsion between phosphate groups in DNA so that structure and function are maintained.
It has been known for over 70 years that the lifespan of laboratory animals can be increased by 30 to 50 per cent if the animals have unrestricted access to water and have their food (calorie) intake restricted considerably. These experiments have been repeated successfully multiple times over the past seven decades.
It was observed in many of the above experiments that rodents fed calorie restricted diets with unrestricted access to water suffered less from degenerative diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases than control animals fed a normal diet. In relation to cancer, figures reported included 20 per cent cancer prevalence on a restricted food diet compared with 50 per cent cancer prevalence on a normal diet. Not only was the prevalence of cancer less in animals on the restricted diets but the age of onset was much later. Similar figures for the prevalence of other diseases were reported. That is, pulmonary disease, heart disease, kidney disease and arthritis followed a similar relative prevalence and age of onset to that of cancer.
It appears a relatively large ratio of water to food (available energy) is vital in promoting health and longevity. Technically, a high mitochondrial NAD+ to NADH ratio maintains optimal flux through mitochondria, and optimal cell water availability hydrolyses ATP. Exercise maintains a high mitochondrial NAD+ to NADH ratio (because it utilises the high energy molecule NADH) which explains partly why exercise is beneficial for health – particularly if the body is hydrated optimally. [NAD is the electron carrier molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and ATP is the chemical energy molecule adenosine triphosphate.]
The first patent granted in the world specifically for increasing lifespan and preventing degenerative diseases in humans was granted in the USA for a solution of bioavailable magnesium in water. Information below, linking the biological chemistry of water and magnesium, may explain the possible validity of the patent claim.
All known body cell processes can be described by the principles of biological chemical thermodynamics where high concentrations of electrons, ions, atoms or molecules go either to an equilibrium state or to final sinks such as oxygen or biosynthesis products (carbohydrates, proteins, fats). This essential flux maintains functional life in all its forms.
Food (especially carbohydrate) that is consumed and absorbed into the body is transduced into chemical energy in the mitochondria of body cells. This chemical energy is called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP occurs in high concentrations in the cytoplasm of cells and is hydrolysed by water to assist in body cell functions requiring energy. Most, if not all, cell energy requirements ultimately depend on ATP concentrations and the concentration of available water (that is, optimal cell hydration).
In the body, energy derived from ATP hydrolysis is needed for muscle contraction, nerve function, the active transport of molecules and ions in body cells, and the biosynthesis of large molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids.
The hydrolysis of ATP is complex and not completely understood. It is considered that ATP is actually magnesium-ATP where magnesium ions are thought to protect the negative phosphate groups on the ATP molecule from being complexed by calcium and other chemical groups. The greater the concentrations of intracellular magnesium, water and ATP the greater the appropriate hydrolysis of ATP and hence the more energy that is available to cells for cell functions. These processes are described in most quality texts of biological thermodynamics. [In particular, see the Bioenergetics texts by Nicholls and Ferguson (see reference 1 below) and the text Biological Thermodynamics by Haynie (see reference 2 below).]
It is to be noted that intracellular magnesium concentrations increase with increasing extracellular (serum) magnesium concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. For example, see Mg2+ regulates cytotoxic functions of NK and CD8 T cells in chronic EBV infection through NKG2D. Thus an increase in serum magnesium concentrations, from appropriate hydration and consumption of bioavailable magnesium, results in a consequent increase in intracellular magnesium concentrations and an increase in the appropriate hydrolysis of ATP.
The principle of chemical concentration gradients providing a driving force for chemical reactions was first enunciated by the father of modern physics, Max Planck, around 1918 (see reference 3 below). In modern times, excellent thermodynamics texts exist that describe chemical driving forces. [In particular, see the text Molecular Driving Forces by Dill and Bromberg (see reference 4 below).] The outstanding principle of life is that living processes are based ultimately on concentration gradients and biological chemical reactions that are displaced from equilibrium.
Optimal utilisation of ATP requires large concentrations of ATP to be produced in mitochondria and optimal hydrolysis of ATP by water in the cytoplasm. ATP concentrations in cytoplasm are several hundred times that of mitochondria and water availability in cytoplasm is many times that of mitochondria. Schematically, the hydrolysis of ATP can be represented by the chemical equation below.
The hydrolysis of ATP depends on ATP concentrations, magnesium concentrations and water concentrations (water available for hydrolysis). The driving force for the hydrolysis reaction is the concentration of ATP relative to ADP. Technically, it is the extent to which the ratio ADP/ATP is displaced from equilibrium which defines the capacity of ATP to do work.
Mg-ATP + H2O → Mg-ADP + Pi + H+
Hydrolysis = dissociation or decomposition by adding water
Mg = magnesium ions
ATP = adenosine triphosphate
H2O = water
ADP = adenosine diphosphate
Pi = phosphate
H+ = proton
An ATP molecule is utilised within a minute after its formation. In humans, approximately 50kg of ATP (continuously formed and recycled) are utilised in 24 hours. The concentrations of intracellular magnesium and water are vital for optimal ATP utilisation to maintain and maximise life processes.
In the clinical trial conducted at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, the consumption of 6 to 8 glasses of water per se per day increased the concentrations of serum sodium, potassium and magnesium to normal healthy levels. The body subtly increases these extracellular (serum) ions to maintain correct osmotic pressure so that body cells are hydrated optimally. It is known also that increased extracellular (serum) potassium concentrations maintain cell hydration and cell size.
Elevated extracellular potassium concentrations produce relatively large changes in the cell resting membrane potential. In excitable cells such as neuromuscular tissue (nerve, muscle, heart) elevated extracellular potassium increases membrane excitability because less of a depolarising stimulus is required to generate an action potential. This is of vital importance in the maintenance of cell and organ function in the elderly and in the prevention of cell loss in organs such as the brain. With elevated potassium people are more active and hence feel, subjectively, they have more energy.
In the clinical trial, increased serum potassium concentrations were particularly significant when water was consumed that contained bioavailable magnesium. In addition, water that contained bioavailable magnesium resulted in significantly increased serum concentrations of magnesium and increased synthesis of the energy (ATP) storage molecule phosphocreatine.
It appears that the consumption of 6 to 8 glasses of water per day optimises cell hydration, optimises the hydrolysis of ATP and optimises available cell energy and anabolic cell processes. This is particularly significant when water contains bioavailable magnesium.
Note: It is to be emphasised that excess consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine result in dehydration of the body and loss of magnesium from the body. This makes the consumption of water, particularly water containing magnesium, essential if one’s lifestyle contains excess alcohol and caffeine consumption. Indeed, the quantum nature of water and water’s molecular structure in cells is vitally important to maintain optimal health. Alcohol in particular, and many other chemicals, are known to alter water structure and to compromise water’s hydrogen bonds which results in unknown medical consequences. Alcohol severely affects the chemical structure of water. For example, adding a small amount of alcohol to water causes a constriction in volume – the volume of the alcohol and water mixture is smaller than the separate volumes of the alcohol and water added together. Alcohol negatively affects optimal cell hydration.
Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that alcohol in alcoholic beverages is regarded as a Group 1 listed carcinogenic compound.
To quote Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford:
``We should not turn down a miracle when it is presented to us! The miracle is that the seemingly absurd quantum experimental facts – that waves are particles and particles are waves – can all be accommodated within a beautiful mathematical formalism, a formalism in which momentum is identified differentiation with respect to position and energy is identified differentiation with respect to time.``
It cannot be denied that chemistry has its foundation in quantum mechanics and that quantum mechanics gives an accurate explanation for chemical structure and chemical reactions. Until recently it was considered that quantum effects per se would not be detectable in chemical reactions, including biological chemical reactions, and that quantum mechanics would remain only an excellent explanation.
However, recent experiments show that water demonstrates quantum effects which can be detected and measured. The hydrogen atoms (protons, hydrogen ions) involved in hydrogen bonding in water and associated biomolecules appear to be delocalised (that is, in a superposition of being in two locations). Hydrogen bonding in water and intracellular biomolecules is involved in enzyme activity, DNA structure and protein folding and function. It appears that optimal hydration of body cells allows the quantum nature of protons in hydrogen bonds to be optimised for cell function and health.
It is becoming increasingly clear that quantum proton tunneling is vital for optimal energy production in the mitochondria of body cells and for the function of other cell components.
That proton tunneling occurs in cell protein enzymes is now widely accepted. For example, see Atomic description of an enzyme reaction dominated by proton tunneling. The tunneling distance of 0.1 to 1.0 Angstroms is often quoted. Certainly, decreasing the tunneling distance increases the tunneling probability. It is considered that the degree of proton tunneling in protein enzymes is equivalent to proton tunneling in water, and the quantum nature of water is highly relevant to enzyme function.
Proton tunneling during nucleic acid function is yet to be positively established. However, quantum proton tunneling occurs between the hydrogen bonds of the bases of DNA. This may result in mutation (tautomerism). It is yet to be established if appropriate hydration limits these, and other, mutations. See published epidemiological articles on water consumption and decrease in cancer prevalence. For example, see possible decrease in colon cancer and breast cancer risk.
However, despite some possible epidemiological evidence that optimal hydration and water intake decrease cancer risk in humans, it is known that the majority of melanomas, colorectal cancers and breast cancers contain a single DNA base substitution (mutation) where cytosine or methylcytosine are converted to thymine. This substitution reaction is actually water dependent – an hydrolysis or water adding reaction. Indeed, the medical literature emphasises the importance of hydrolytic (water adding) reactions as a major source of human mutations.
On the other hand, there is a DNA repair enzyme called thymine-DNA glycosylase. Thymine-DNA glycosylase removes thymine from mismatches on DNA by a hydrolysing (water adding) reaction. Indeed, many enzyme reactions associated with DNA repair or replication are water adding or water dependent. The importance of DNA repair in protecting cells from cancer is emphasised throughout the scientific and medical literature and the rate of DNA repair appears to overcome the rate of mutations. For example, see The rate of hydrolytic deamination of 5-methylcytosine in double-stranded DNA. The quantum nature of water and water’s molecular structure in cells are vitally important. Coincidentally, magnesium is required for several DNA repair enzymes including endonucleases, ligases and topoisomerases.
Optimal hydration in the brain is an area of active medical research because neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and the spongiform encephalopathes are characterised by altered protein homeostasis leading to protein misfolding and the aggregation of proteins into insoluble fibrils. See Ligand binding and hydration in protein misfolding. Accurate protein folding is hydration dependent. Slight dehydration leads to protein misfolding and aggregation because, technically, dehydration lowers the free-energy barrier of a protein. It is the hydrated free-energy barrier that prevents conversion of proteins to misfolded entities with aggregation.
Water molecules can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, probably by passing through the phospholipid molecules that compose the plasma membrane of blood capillaries (though other mechanisms certainly exist). Water crossing the blood-brain barrier is considered to be driven by osmotic forces as the concentrations of sodium ions in the cerebrospinal fluid and the extracellular fluid of the brain is three per cent higher than blood plasma. See Fluid and ion transfer across the blood brain barrier.
That hydration of the body affects brain activity is well known. Even mild dehydration affects cognitive ability. For example, see Minor degree of hypohydration adversely influences cognition: a mediator analysis.
In quantum entanglement a system of more than one particle acts as a single holistic unit. Quantum entanglement has not been demonstrated in water. Indeed, it is assumed that quantum entanglements somehow average out and can be ignored. However, quantum entanglement is thought to be the basis of the ability of birds (and other species) to migrate vast distances using the Earth’s magnetic field.