Water: the 4th Macronutrient

Water: the 4th Macronutrient

Did you know? Approximately 60% of our body is made up of water? Yup, two-thirds intracellular (inside the cells) and the rest extracellular (outside the cell). Approximately 50% of our blood is plasma, and approximately 90% of plasma is water. Water plays some very important roles in the body.

  • Circulation (blood pressure)
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Digestion
  • Absorption of nutrients
  • Elimination of waste
  • Healing

Did I forget to mention it quenches our thirst and keeps us alive? Humans can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water should be considered a macronutrient for good reason: it is essential for life. When I write protocols for my clients, water gets its own section, along with protein, fats and carbohydrates.

“We should drink 8 glasses of water a day”. Sound familiar? This is the typical response we receive when we ask how much water we should be drinking. Just like nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all, so it is important to assess each of our water needs individually. By all mean use at least 8 glasses a day as a starting point and go up from there. Some people may require more, and others may require less, depending on factors like activity level, geographical location, medication, and illness.

Not consuming enough water puts us at risk of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to poor nutrient transport, poor waste elimination, poor detox, dry and limp skin and hair, increased heart rate, electrolyte deficiencies, etc. I read somewhere that approximately 20% of the world doesn’t drink water every day, and that 46% of us only drink 2 cups (2 CUPS!) a day.

Our body water comes from approximately 60% ingested water, 30% food and 10% is made metabolically. If we avoid high-sugar, (these steal water to dilute sugar content), caffeinated and alcoholic (these increase the frequency of urination) beverages we can maintain adequate body water levels.

How we lose water is interesting to consider. At rest, going to the washroom accounts for 65% of water loss, sweating 5%, and normal body function 30%. Now, let’s throw exercise into the mix and there’s a huge shift to 90% water loss through sweating and only 10% through normal body function. Pretty incredible. Think about the last time you had a good sweat session, and how much water you drank before? During? After?

PS sweat is 99% water!

It is important to replenish fluids during and after a workout, as well as throughout the day. Be mindful to eat foods with high water content like fresh fruits and vegetables. Try reducing high-sugar drinks like colas, energy drinks and fruit juices, alcohol and caffeine. Drink coconut water or other electrolyte beverages. For anyone getting their sweat on (walking the dog, gardening, hitting the gym, running, etc…) hydrate well before, every 15 minutes during, and after your activity of choice.

Join me next month for my blog about the importance of electrolytes and the role they play in hydration as well as other important body function. Here is a recipe you can use to make your own homemade electrolyte drink or popsicle!


  • 1¼ cup cubed watermelon, chilled
  • ¼ cup peeled cucumber, chilled
  • ½ tsp freshly grated turmeric
  • ¾ tsp NutriChem Electrolyte Rescue powder
  • Juice from a whole lime
  • 1 cup coconut water, chilled (can use water)
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)


  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until well blended.
  • For beverage: strain through a sieve and serve over ice.
  • For popsicles: pour into silicon popsicle molds, either through a sieve or not. Freeze for at least 24 hours.
  • Just a heads-up, these guys will be delightfully salty after a serous sweat session!

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