Water and the Immune System
3 Key Factors
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

young girl playing soccer

I have been asked if there is connection between drinking water and the immune system. The answer is definitely yes!

Water regulates every function in the body. Without adequate water, the body manages less efficiently in so many ways.

A few of the more critical functions in the body regulated by water include: 

  • removal of waste through the gastrointestinal and urinary systems,
  • blood and lymph flow throughout the body, 
  • transfer of nutrients to the cells and the removal of toxins, 
  • regulation of body temperature,
  • balance of hormones, and
  • the cushioning and regulation of all organs, including the brain.

1. Gut Health and Immunity

The human immune system is extremely complex, and scientists believe there is still so much we don’t know about this system.

One thing most experts agree on is the fact that about 70 percent of the immune system is based in the gut that colon health is critical to optimal immunity. 

Drinking enough water on a daily basis is the single most important daily habit to maintain colon health as well as optimal immunity.

When we are dehydrated, the body’s detoxification pathways become overburdened. Toxins are more likely to accumulate in the colon, which can increase the overgrowth of unhealthy microorganisms and weaken the immune system.

In fact, studies have shown that 80 to 90 percent of all diseases are directly or indirectly related to toxins in the colon.

Nothing supports the body’s elimination of toxins like good water. Not only does drinking enough water daily lubricate the intestines for proper elimination, it provides the basis of urine. 

2. Blood and Lymph Flow

In addition to the importance water has on the gastrointestinal system, it is equally important to the blood and lymph systems, which are critical to the immune system.

Water provides necessary fluidity to the blood and lymph so that essential nutrients can get into the cells and so that toxins can be safely and effectively removed through the detoxification pathways.

Water is also a major contributor to the enzymatic processes that break down toxic compounds.

This process of getting the nutrients into the cells and toxins out is called cell water turnover. I believe the efficiency of this process in our bodies is the basis of physical health. You can read more about cell water turnover here.

In Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, Dr. Batmanghelidj writes that water normalizes the blood-manufacturing systems and “increases greatly the efficiency of the immune system in the bone marrow, where the immune system is formed.”

According to Dr. Hiromi Shinya, one of America’s pre-eminent gastroenterologists:

“Water is not only present inside the blood vessels, but also plays an active role inside lymph vessels, thus helping us maintain our health.

"If blood vessels are like a river, the lymph vessel system of the human body is like a sewage pipe. It carries out the important functions of purifying, filtering, and transporting excess water, proteins, and waste through the bloodstream.

“Inside the lymph vessels are antibodies called gamma globulins, which have immune functions, and enzymes called lysozymes that have antibacterial effects.

"In order for the immune system to function properly, good water is absolutely essential.”

3. Dehydration Breeds Bacteria and Viruses

As we know, many illnesses are caused by harmful bacteria and viruses, which keep our immune system actively engaged.

When we drink enough water on a regular basis, the water moistens the areas of the body where bacteria and viruses invade most frequently, such as the bronchi and gastrointestinal mucosa.  

The moist environment in these areas keeps the immune system activated, making them less vulnerable to microbes.

Likewise, according to Dr. Shinya, “If not enough water is consumed, the bronchial mucous membranes dehydrate and dry out. Phlegm and mucus are produced in the bronchial tube, but if there is not enough water, they will stick to the bronchus, making it a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.”

Thus, if you get sick and the doctor advises you to drink more fluids, there is solid validity to the advice.  

However, be sure to drink more clean water, not other fluids. Drinking more water will, in fact, enable your immune system to function better and fight off the bacteria or viruses. 

As I said earlier, the immune system is high complex and multi-faceted. I have only highlighted three ways drinking enough clean water and the immune system are integrally linked. But these factors alone are critical enough to drink more water. 


References

Hiromi Shinya, M.D.; The Enzyme Factor; 2005.

F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.; Water: for Health, for Healing, for Life; 2003.


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