Solve These 3 Bone Health Issues By Simply Drinking More Water - Save Our Bones

It may surprise you to learn that something as simple as drinking more water can help solve several health issues that can lead to osteoporosis. Yet research reveals fascinating information about our requirements for drinking water, especially as we age, and the influence of hydration on a wide range of body systems, including bones.

You see, even mild dehydration can have a profound impact on our health, affecting everything from brain function to digestive integrity. Every organ needs water to function, and so do our bones.

Today we’re going to take a close look at this research and at three significant bone health problems that are caused by not drinking enough water…and are solved by simply drinking more.

Your Body Was Made To Regulate Fluid Intake

All vertebrates on earth drink water to survive, and they all have internal “maintenance controls” to regulate their intake of fluid. The kidneys can temporarily postpone excretion of urine to conserve water, and when too much liquid is ingested, they can increase urine production. It’s a fascinating balancing act, and “non-regulatory” drinking can make things confusing.

“Non-regulatory” refers to the intake of various fluids (not water) simply for pleasure, while socializing, for the taste, and so forth. It refers to drinking that has nothing to do with thirst particularly.

This is one reason why it’s important to be aware of our fluid intake, and adjust it accordingly.

Fluid Balance Is Maintained By Complex Communication In The Body

Maintaining fluid balance is so crucial that your body has a very detailed and precise system to do the job. It involves a complex interplay between your brain, hormones, and the excretory organs (such as the kidneys and sweat glands).

Essentially, your body has highly-sensitive mechanisms in place to respond to the slightest water deficits or excesses by activating the corresponding system. For example, a lack of water causes a slight shrinkage of cells, which is then detected by sensors in the brain. The sensors then send messages via hormones that cause you to feel thirsty, and also cause your kidneys to cut back on urine production.

Obviously, your kidneys are key players in the regulation of fluid. And the research we’re going to explore today clearly shows that kidney function is more efficient when water is abundant.

Age Matters When It Comes To Dehydration

Studies in the 80’s and 90’s showed a decrease in the amount of liquid that older adults drink in response to thirst. In fact, older adults feel less thirsty when deprived of water, and tend to drink insufficient water following dehydration.1,2

This is likely due to a decrease in receptor sensitivity – specifically, osmoreceptors and barareceptors that detect the fluid within and around cells. So for older adults, it’s more important than ever to drink water regularly, even when not thirsty.

Three Bone-Health Issues Solved By Drinking Water

Even mild dehydration can give rise to the following conditions, and it’s entirely possible that you can be dehydrated and not even know it.

1. Bad Mood

Did you ever think to reach for a glass of water when you’re feeling grumpy? Chances are, you haven’t. But it turns out, you should!

Water significantly affects brain function. This makes sense when you consider that water is part of every human cell, including brain and nerve cells and the neurotransmitters that help them function. Irritability, fatigue, depression, lack of concentration, and headaches have all been shown to have a connection with dehydration.

When athletes were assessed following intense exercise, those with a lack of adequate hydration were much more likely to feel angry, depressed, confused, tense, or fatigued than those who had plenty of water.4

In another study, women of average activity levels were given diuretic pills to induce dehydration during exercise (another group exercised without the diuretics), and researchers found that the women’s perception of how hard the workout was and their ability to concentrate were definitely impacted. When mildly dehydrated, the women were more fatigued during mild exercise and even while sitting still at a computer. The dehydrated group also reported headache and “degraded mood.”5

A bad mood does more than just get on your nerves. Feelings of stress, anger, and fatigue stimulate the production of bone-damaging cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

Savers know that exercise is an excellent solution to depression and bad moods (and it also strengthens bone); but research shows that even mild dehydration affects physical performance by reducing endurance, promoting fatigue, increasing perceived effort, and reducing motivation.3 So it’s best to drink well before exercising to help you stay motivated, prevent dehydration during and after working out, and to make your workout easier and more effective.

By drinking more, your nervous system will function better, and you will be better able to give your bones the weight-bearing exercise they need.

2. Constipation

Hydration is one of the keys to preventing and treating constipation, a condition that can cause far more than just discomfort.

Constipation is the result of waste matter moving too slowly through the colon, and the waste then accumulates. It’s been estimated that up to 40 pounds of fecal waste can accumulate in the constipated colon, producing a toxic build-up that can lead to weight gain, feeling sluggish, inflammation, and chronic bowel problems.

A toxic colon allows poisons to spread through the body, creating an acidic environment that is detrimental to your bones.

Water is what makes bowel movements soft; in fact, many laxatives work by promoting water absorption in the large intestine. But the water has to be present to soften stools, so drinking plenty of water is the first major step in cleansing your colon. (More about cleansing in a moment.)

The third and final condition that can be solved with more water intake is…

3. Reduced Kidney Function

As noted above, inadequate water intake causes the kidneys to hold back on urine production…but producing urine is how the kidneys eliminate toxins and waste from the body. So dehydration prevents toxin elimination in a very direct way, and getting rid of these poisons is paramount for bone health.

Your kidneys help maintain the acid/alkaline balance that’s so crucial for bone rejuvenation. If you’re even slightly dehydrated, kidney function is impaired, setting the stage for acidic toxin build-up and even acidosis.

Kidney function tends to decline with age, as does the tendency to feel thirsty. As I mentioned above, older adults tend to be less sensitive to feeling thirsty and usually take in less liquid to quench their thirst than younger adults. So it’s an especially good idea to pay attention to your fluid intake and to focus on creating good water drinking habits. Here are some suggestions.

How Much And What Kind Of Water Should You Drink?

There are many differing opinions on how much water you should drink for optimal hydration, and there are also many different ideas about what type of water is best.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Distilled water with a few drops of alkalizing lemon juice should make up the bulk of your water intake. Contrary to what some sources say, drinking distilled water does not leach minerals from your bones. Water is not supposed to be a primary source of minerals anyway, and water that does have minerals contains the inorganic “rock” type.
  • If distilled water is not available, water purified by reverse-osmosis with a few drops of lemon juice is a good second choice.
  • Feel free to vary your water by adding fruits, herbs, and/or vegetables to a pitcher of distiller water to make a tasty cold infusion.
  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Instead, give yourself reminders throughout the day to stop and drink whether you’re thirsty or not.
  • Eat water-rich fruits, vegetables, and soups.
  • Regarding how much water you should drink, a good place to start is with 5 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or one-third of your body weight in ounces daily (a 150-pound adult would drink 50 ounces, or 5 10-ounce glasses).
  • Note urine color – if it’s dark-colored and concentrated, you need more water. The optimal color is clear or slightly yellow. This is a sign that your kidneys are doing their job, and that you’re drinking enough water.

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The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse is available exclusively as an eBook and is delivered as a downloadable PDF file sent to your inbox, so you’ll get immediate access to the information and can get started right away. The electronic format also allows you to do a quick and easy search for specific topics (such as “kidneys” or “constipation”) so your questions can be answered right away.

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Here’s to hydration, health, and strong bones!


1 Morley JE, et al . “Fluid intake, hydration and aging.” In: Arnaud M, editor. Hydration throughout life: International conference Vittel (France) Montrouge: John Libbey Eurotext; 1998. p. 247.

2 Mack GW, et al. “Body fluid balance in dehydrated healthy older men: thirst and renal osmoregulation.” J Appl Physiol. 1994;76:1615–1623.

3 Popkin, Barry M.; D’Anci, Kristen E.; and Rosenberg, Irwin H. “Water, Hydration and Health.” Nutrition Reviews. August 2010. 68(8): 439-458. Doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x. Web.

4 D’Anci, Kristen E., et al. “Voluntary Dehydration And Cognitive Performance In Trained College Athletes.” Perceptual and Motor Skills. June 2009. Doi 10.2466/PMS.109.1, pp 251-269. Web.

5 Armstrong, Lawrence E., et al. “Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women.” Journal Of Nutrition. December 21, 2011. Doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142000. Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Susan

    When I buy distilled water in those plastic gallon jugs it’s cheap but it tastes all plasticky . What do you suggest that doesn’t cost too much? I’m assuming that flavor means the plastic is leaching into the water and is bad.

  2. Josephine

    Remember, if you’re engaging in physical activity on a hot day, (Hiking, kayaking, swimming, you need to drink enough water to replace fluid lost in perspiration.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for the reminder, Josephine!

  3. Bracha Yarden

    lemon juice is acidic (citric acid?) so how come it’s alkalizing?

  4. Sandy

    How often do you do osteo Cleanse? Monthly? Yearly? I can have only berries and green apples not other fruits, can I still do osteo cleanse with these fruits? Can you give one sample of osteo cleanse recipe?

    • Customer Support

      Hi Sandy,
      A general guideline is to do OsteoCleanse twice a year, but you can do it as often as every other month if you like. As far as recipes go, here is an excerpt from the Introduction of OsteoCleanse:

      “More than likely, this cleanse includes a lot more fruits and vegetables than you are
      used to consuming. Please don’t make the mistake of trying to survive on a mish-mash
      of raw and cooked veggies and fruits. You are doomed to fail.

      Instead, I encourage you to plan your meals in advance. This is a great opportunity to
      learn how to prepare new and healthy dishes that satisfy your taste buds and expand
      your food repertoire. Yes, you can even make a raw meal! This report has an entire
      section of meal ideas, but use a search engine and type in ‘raw food diet’ and ‘vegan
      recipes,’ which have no meat or dairy, to find even more ideas. You’ll find meals that
      center around vegetables and fruits will fit right into the Save Our Bones 80/20 diet
      or are very easily modified. Choose meals that appeal to you and fit the cleanse, then
      make a shopping list.”

      That should give you an idea of what is involved, and how customizable it is. 🙂

  5. Marion

    Hi Vivian,

    I used to add lemon juice to my water bottle, but I thought i read in one of your articles that it had to be fresh lemon. If so, how do you do this at work and about during the day. Can you add lemon juice to the bottle or do you need to add it to each glass?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Marion,
      Fresh lemon juice is best. You can certainly add the juice ahead of time to a bottle or pitcher. 🙂

  6. Regina

    there are times when i experience leg cramps when i stretch my legs right after i wake up in the morning & before i get up . From articles I read , I learn that dehydration can cause leg cramps so i put it to practice.
    It works like magic. The pain disappears immediately after I drink a little water from a bottle which I always place near my bed

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s great news, Regina! Thanks for sharing your experience. Muscle tissue also needs water to function properly.

  7. E. Nelson

    I’ve been drinking Deer Park water for years. I have a continuous itch especially in
    the vagina/anus area. Doctors prescribed different creams, and soaps. No results. Maybe it is the Meds (thyroid, cholestrol).,
    Should I change my water?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You could certainly try changing water, Ethel, and see if it helps…but a persistent itch could indicate any number of health issues, so you might want to do some research and check with your doctor. 🙂

  8. Marilyn

    Hi Vivian,
    You mentioned adding a few drops of lemon juice to distilled water. How much water is the correct amount with the lemon juice?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Usually, a “glass” refers to a standard 8-ounce glass; it’s not crucial that the ratio be exact, so it’s fine to add a few drops of lemon juice to whatever size glass you have. 🙂

  9. Marilyn

    Hi Vivian,
    I buy distilled water at the grocery store (one gallon). I fill my water bottle with distilled water and add a few drops of lemon juice to it. Is their a correct ratio of lemon drops to the distilled water? Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That sounds great, Marilyn. 🙂

  10. Allison

    When I take my B complex 50, my urine is deep yellow, is that affecting the kidneys?? Should I take my magnesium vitamins at the same time as my calcium supplements or at a different meal??
    Thanks again, Allison

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Allison,
      Vitamin B6 has a diuretic effect, and the yellow color comes from riboflavin (Vitamin B2); this should not affect the kidneys. You can take calcium and magnesium at the same time, but it is best to take them both with food.

    • Bernice

      You’d have to stop taking the B complex in order to see the true colour of your urine, but no, taking the B complex does not harm your kidneys. Be sure to take some magnesium with your calcium.

  11. Trudy

    I have been suffering from night leg cramps for one year despite maintaining my magnesium levels. I wonder if a lack of water might be responsible? My blood test was perfect and I try to keep up the fluids.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Let us know if drinking more water helps, Trudy!

      • Caroline

        For me, taking TrueOsteo, a calcium-magnesium-vitamin D supplement that Vivian recommends, solved night-time leg cramps!

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