Cancer, Water and Our Brain

Our brain is usually compared to function as a Central Processing Unit (CPU).  In actuality, our brain is much more capable than that. Because of its heavy load of responsibilities, it requires a steady stream of energy in form of oxygen and nutrients to function effectively. I remember reading that the human brain has the capacity to generate approximately 23 watts of power (enough to power a low wattage LED light). Our brain carries 2% of the body’s weight but uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake. Generally, it is agreed that brain cannot survive after being deprived of oxygen for more than 6 minutes. A slight deficient in any form of these energy will affect brain function. With the complex functions of our brain, adding more stress to it will not help.

Why knowing this is important? Let us look at the time we became caregivers or as cancer patients. The mental trauma of dealing with the notion of our loved one might or have already diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, this is the time when we are required to make big decisions. To sign our consent for the biopsy, additional invasive tests, imaging studies and many more. We also need to start deciding on the potential treatment options, on top of decisions above decisions to sort out the changes to be made in life and family routines.

We certainly need to ensure that the most appropriate decisions were made. We need to make sure our brain is not in additional stress than it is already is. 73% of our brain is water weight, imagine depriving it from water. We will feel weary, headaches, and harder to focus. A study published by Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, looked at participants taking part in a “water” and a “no water” experiment. They found that the participants who drank around three cups of water just before completing the tests had a 14% increased reaction time compared with those who did not drink any water. The study showed that water consumption can increase cognitive performance.

As I mentioned in my book, during our turmoil, me and my wife realized that we tire easily.  Our mouth felt dry, kept becoming irritable and easily agitated. When we realized that we haven’t been drinking enough water, we started to rebalance this deficit of fluids. We kept bottles of water in the kitchen and drank one to two bottles per day, on top of what we already drank during regular meals. It felt so much better. Within two days we already start to feel better. We became more active and it was obvious our minds had started to become clearer. I’m not saying drinking water alone took care of our problems, but it was one of the factors in strengthening our emotional and physical self while waiting for the biopsy result.

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