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WATER BALANCE

Written by: Bhavani Swaminathan @aakanksha_dfw


Our body normally contains a water balance precisely, i.e. the amount of water ingested is equal to the water excreted or lost from the body. This water balance is maintained even though the fluid intake may vary widely from day-to-day. How exactly this regulatory mechanism works is not known; but certain regions of the hypothalamus are believed to regulate the intake. The water excretion is controlled by hormones. The water we drink as such is the main source from which maximum water is obtained by the human body. In addition to this, the intake of all beverages and liquid foods that contain water, contribute to the system. Certain metabolic reactions carried on inside the body also release water and this is another source of water.


REQUIREMENT

About 1 ml of water is needed per 1 kcal energy intake; thus about 2000 ml water is necessary when energy intake is 2000 kcal. Infants who have large body surface area, in proportion to body weight, need 1.5 ml water/1 kcal energy intake. The amount of water needed by an individual will depend on many factors such as the environmental temperature, humidity, occupation and diet. In general, apart from water obtained from the food, an individual may need to drink about 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. An athlete or a player, playing a strenuous game such as football or hockey, may lose several liters of water and dissolved salts during the game and would need replacement early. On the other hand, a sedentary individual would need much less water.



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