7 Important Functions of Water in the Body

The body’s need for water is only second to that of oxygen. One can live for weeks without food, but death is likely to follow a deprivation of water for more than a few days. A 10% loss of body water is a serious hazard and death usually follows at a 20% loss.

The water content of an infant’s body is as much as 70%. About 65% of body weight of lean adult is accounted for by water and 55% or less of weight in obese adults is water. All body tissues contain water but variations in tissue contents are wide. In our body water is present in two forms –Intracellular fluids which are present within the cells accounts for about 45% of our body weight and Extracellular fluids, which are present outside the cells. Examples of extracellular fluids are plasma, interstitial fluids, lymph and the secretions of pancreas, the liver and gastro intestinal mucosa.

Our body loses water due to excretion in urine, faeces and perspiration. Some of the water is also lost with the air that we exhale. To make up these losses it is important to consume liberal amount of water. To meet the body’s need water is supplied by the ingestion of water and beverages, the preformed water in foods and the water resulting from the oxidation of foods.

Functions of Water

  1. Water is a structural component and a cushion of all the cells.
  2. Water is the medium of all body fluids including the digestive juice, the lymph, the blood, the urine and the perspiration.
  3. Water enters into many essential reactions such as hydrolysis that occur in digestion.
  4. Water is a solvent for the products of digestion, holding them in solution and permitting to pass through the walls for absorption.
  5. It is a carrier of nutrients as well as of waste.
  6. Water helps in maintaining the temperature of the body by distributing the heat in the body.
  7. Water is essential as a body lubricant. It is the main constituent of saliva that makes swallowing possible, the mucus secretion of gastrointestinal, respiratory and genitourinary tract, the fluids that bathe the joints and so on.

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