The Human Operating Manual

Macronutrient & Hydration Basics

Macronutrient & Hydration Basics

As you may or may not be aware, reducing the complexity of a topic tends to result in the exclusion of seemingly important details. This is one of the reasons why communicating scientific ideas leads to misinterpretation and public (and often professional) false confidence. As a side note, this way of communicating is also how people can weaponize “facts” for personal gain and for wide-scale persuasion. Keep this in mind while going through this section, and other sections for that matter, and acknowledge that the chosen explanations are there to give you a greater understanding of what your body needs, with as little nutritional dogma woven in as possible.

As always, keep an open mind, but do your own research and personal experimentation.       



Protein intake is essential for muscle growth and repair, providing energy, cellular repair, preventing muscular atrophy, producing hormones and enzymes, strengthening the immune and nervous system, and for replacing skin and hair cells. Protein also has a greater thermic effect than fat and carbohydrates, and improves satiety by lowering ghrelin (hunger hormone) and increasing leptin (satiety hormone).   

Protein is made up of variations of 20 different types of amino acids. 9 of these amino acids are considered essential, as we cannot make them without eating the foods that are comprised of them. These essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.  

Keep in mind that too much of the amino acid methionine can result in greater reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can be potentially problematic in excess. It’s been found that consuming glycine alongside methionine may counteract the excess ROS production. Glycine is found in connective tissue, skin, bone, tendons, and ligaments, but in very low quantities in muscle meat. This suggests that we should be making the most out of the meat we eat by making bones broths, eating the marrow, and not being afraid to chew the cartilage.   


The cells within your stomach wall make an enzyme precursor called pepsinogen, which is converted by the stomach acid into the enzyme pepsin, which breaks the protein up. This process continues in the small intestine as food leaves the stomach, with enzymes secreted by the pancreas.

All proteins get digested down into amino acids (a nitrogen-containing amine group connected to a carboxyl acid). Amino acids are distinguished by their tails, which are always some configurations of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. There are hundreds of amino acids on Earth, but only twenty-one are used to build proteins in living plants and animals. Nine of these are considered essential for humans, meaning our bodies can’t make them on their own; we need to get them from our diet. The others your body can make by itself if needed, usually by breaking down and reformulating other amino acids.

They are absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. From the blood, the amino acids are pulled into cells to construct proteins, which are chains of amino acids strung together.

The construction of proteins from amino acids is one of the primary jobs of DNA. A gene is just a stretch of DNA that lines up a particular sequence of amino acids to make a protein (some genes are regulatory, meaning they don’t assemble proteins themselves but instead activate or suppress protein-assembling genes). Variants in DNA sequence can result in different amino acid lineups and thus slightly different proteins, contributing to biological differences among individuals. Amino acids are also used to make a variety of other molecules like epinephrine and serotonin.

They are eventually converted back into amino acids, and travel through the bloodstream to the liver. The amine group in the amino acid has a very similar structure, NH2, to ammonia, NH3. Accumulating ammonia from breaking down amino acids would be fatal, so we have an evolved mechanism to convert that ammonia to urea, which then travels via the bloodstream to the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

We pee out the equivalent of fifty grams of protein each day. Exercise adds to that total by increasing muscle breakdown. We have to eat enough protein to replace what we lose each day, lest we find ourselves in protein deficit. If we eat more protein than we need, the extra amino acids are converted to urea and cleared out by the urine. 

After the nitrogen-containing head is chopped off, converted to urea, and sent on its way, the tails are used to make glucose (gluconeogenesis) or ketones, both of which can be used for energy. Proteins are typically a minor part of the daily energy budget, providing around 15 percent of our calories each day. But they are a vitally important emergency energy supply if we’re starving.


The tissues in our bodies are being turned over constantly, and we require adequate protein intake to regenerate and build new cells every day. Typically, it is suggested that active people should eat around 1.5g-2g x their bodyweight in kgs every day, in order to restore and build muscles, joints, and other tissues back stronger than before.  

The 30-minute window of opportunity for consuming protein after a workout appears to be an exaggeration. Protein synthesis peaks, with greater muscle sensitivity to protein intake, for about 4-6 hours after exercising. Meaning, there is no use worrying about quickly chugging down a protein shake before losing all those gains.  


  • Pasture-fed meats and animal foods like beef, game animals, lamb, poultry, and eggs
  • Wild, non-farm-raised fish, fish eggs, and shellfish
  • Full-fat dairy products from pasture-raised cows. Ideally, these should be raw and/or fermented products like raw milk, yogurt, kefir, cultured butter, raw cheeses, and fresh and sour cream. If possible, from a cow that produces the A2 protein (Guernseys, Jerseys, Charolais, or Limousin) as opposed to the A1, which is not as bioavailable and causes more intestinal discomfort  
  • Homemade beef, chicken, and lamb stocks made with the bones of non-GMO animals, as well as stock made with wild fish (excellent source of collagen)
  • Organ meats (offal), such as liver, heart, kidneys, etc.  
  • Plant based options, such as quinoa, amaranth, beans, and lentils. Just make sure that you sprout/soak/cook them long enough to break down the phytic acid, oxalates, and lectins that cause a fair amount of intestinal discomfort  

Protein is the only macronutrient that can’t be stored inside the body long-term

  • Carbohydrates can be stored as liver and muscle glycogen (100- 500 grams). Extra carbs will be burnt off as energy or converted into triglycerides to be stored as body fat.
  • Fat and extra carbs can be stored at a near infinite amount as body fat in the adipose tissue. 
  • Protein intake will be used for elevating muscle protein synthesis and activating mTOR, which will help to maintain your current lean muscle mass. To activate these pathways, you need only a certain amount of protein and more won’t have a dose-increasing effect.
  • Starvation may cause the breakdown of muscle for energy, as well as excess protein intake (specifically glucogenic amino acids).  

In the short term, an influx of increased protein supply won’t trigger gluconeogenesis of your own muscle tissue because there is no demand there. The body will have met its need for amino acids and thus doesn’t require additional glucose. Temporary protein stores fluctuate throughout the day and they’re connected to the feeding and fasting cycles.

How Much Protein Does Your Body Need?

The more lean muscle mass that you have, the more protein you need to sustain that amount of muscle. A higher bodyweight requires more building blocks due to the increased mass. However, for optimal health and body composition, you’d want to focus on your lean muscle mass. The idea is to lose the fat and maintain the muscle, rather than feeding fat stores with extra calories from unnecessary protein.

Being more active increases your protein requirements because physical activity damages the muscle cells to a certain extent.

  • If you do resistance training, you need more protein to support that training with enough protein synthesis and mTOR activation.
  • If you primarily perform endurance training, you need slightly less protein because endurance training doesn’t break down that much muscle tissue as resistance training does. Even if it does, the purpose of endurance training isn’t to build muscles, so the desired intake of protein wouldn’t be higher either.
  • As you age your ability to maintain skeletal muscle decrease and more protein is required.

When you digest protein, it gets broken down into amino acids that will be transported into the bloodstream to be used as building blocks. There are a limited amount of transporter cells and receptors in the small intestine which restricts how many amino acids can be moved into the blood. This is why your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein in one meal.

Certain proteins are absorbed faster than others which allows the amino acids to be used more quickly as well. However, there are many other factors that determine protein absorption such as the pH levels of the gut, the permeability of the intestinal lining, protein sensitivity, and the presence of hormones related to gastric emptying.

The general consensus is that you can only absorb 30 grams of protein per meal and you need to spread your protein intake across 4-6 meals to maximize protein synthesis over the 24-hour period.

Amino acids and some peptides are able to self-regulate their time in the intestines. For example, the digestive hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) can slow down the contraction speed of intestines in response to protein intake. CCK gets released when you eat dietary protein and it slows down your digestion as to absorb it better.

If you eat more protein than your body needs right now to trigger protein synthesis, it slows down the digestion of the excess and then gradually releases the amino acids into the blood over the course of the next few hours, for when your protein synthesis gets lower. Some amino acids can even be temporarily stored inside muscle cells for future use whether for maintaining amino acid homeostasis or for energy production. The reason it’s thought that you can only absorb 30 grams of protein in one sitting is that you only need about 20-30 grams of protein to trigger muscle protein synthesis and actually build muscle. 

Triggering muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is mostly regulated through leucine, which is the main anabolic amino acid. It requires about 2-3 grams of leucine to activate MPS and generally, you can get that amount of leucine from 20-30 grams of a complete protein. 

Leucine stimulates a complex in muscle called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), and this initiates a signaling cascade that increases muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Leucine is an essential amino acid, not extracted from the gut and liver on first pass metabolism, and has a concentration-dependent, passive diffusion across the cell membrane. So, the amount of it in the cell reflects the quantity in the diet. However, it only increases muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in the short-term. You need all the essential aminos for it to be sustained.

Thermal Effect

The thermal effect of protein is 30% more than carbs. Protein turnover is an energy dependent process that requires ATP. It also may activate the “futile cycle” where synthesis and protein degradation both increases, leading to a greater dissipation of energy. The act of preserving lean body mass during dieting is important as it slows the drop in metabolism. It is also more satiating because they are not very energy dense (voluminous) and it triggers a signaling that is favorable for satiety in the brain. Whey protein absorbs faster than casein so it has a faster detectable change in amino acid blood concentration. High protein increases anorexic hormones like GLP-1, glucagon, CCK, and PYY.



Carbohydrates have been given a bad name due to packaged and manufactured versions of it contributing to the obesity epidemic. Not to mention fad diet promoters demonizing it so that they may sell more books, supplements, and diet plans (sensationalism works wonders on the human psyche). Carbohydrates are considered an essential macronutrient, which we break down to create glucose, one of the primary components for producing energy. We also store it in the liver and skeletal muscles for short-term use (glycogen), and in adipose tissue and liver for long-term energy requirements (triglycerides).  

Carbohydrates aren’t actually essential for survival but they still have their benefits. They come in monosaccharides (single-sugar molecules like glucose, fructose, and galactose), disaccharides (two-sugar linked like glucose and fructose), oligosaccharides (short chain saccharides and include disaccharides), and polysaccharides (complex carbs like starches). During digestion they are broken down into their constitutive saccharides and enter circulation as monosaccharides. All carbs (except for fiber) end up as sugar in the body.

Glucose is the most crucial sugar and we need 100-120g per day (the liver can make that much without glucose through gluconeogenesis). Red blood cells need it because they can’t use fat or ketones without mitochondria. The brain will exclusively use glucose unless you are fasting. Glucose can be stored in the liver as glycogen and also in muscle. It is used for high-intensity anaerobic exercise because ATP can’t be created fast enough from fats and oxidative respiration cannot proceed without sufficient oxygen. When carbs are ingested, insulin is released to shuttle glucose into tissues like muscle, liver, and fat. Glucagon and cortisol can oppose it by liberating glucose from cells or stimulating gluconeogenesis. When blood sugar is too high is can be toxic to blood vessels and endothelial cells. When it is low, there may be nausea, fainting, coma, etc. Insulin also helps to take in amino acids and lipids, particularly in peripheral tissue. It also inhibits lipolysis and fat oxidation. Carbs actually contribute very little to stored fat. They just inhibit fat oxidation and lipolysis.

Carbohydrates that are lower on the glycemic index (GI), such as complex carbohydrates, help us to produce slower release energy for our brains and bodies, improve satiety, manage weight gain, create healthier skin, stabilize our mood, store fuel, and often come with a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  


In the mouth, amylase in your saliva begins the digestive process. Once in the stomach, the hydrochloric acid kills off bacteria and it is then pushed on. In the small intestine, the starches and sugars are hit with enzymes produced by the intestine and pancreas to break them down further. The pancreas sits just beneath the stomach and is attached to the small intestine with a short duct. It’s most famous for its production of insulin, but the pancreas also produces most of the several dozen enzymes used in digestion (along with bicarbonate, which neutralizes the stomach acid as it enters the intestine).

  • If your genes no longer produce lactase, the lactose cannot get broken down into glucose and galactose and the bacteria in the large intestine eat it, producing gas and the side effects of lactose intolerance.

Since much of the carbohydrate in your diet comes from starch, and starch is made entirely from glucose, about 80 percent of the starches and sugars that you eat end up as glucose. The rest is broken down to fructose (about 15 percent) or galactose (about 5 percent). Of course, if you eat a diet high in processed foods full of sugar (i.e., sucrose, which is glucose plus fructose) or high-fructose corn syrup (which is about 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose mixed with water), the percentage of fructose might be a bit higher for you, and the percentage of glucose a bit lower.

These sugars are absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The walls of our intestines are full of blood vessels, and blood flow to our guts more than doubles after a meal to carry away nutrients. The result is a rise in blood sugar after a meal, particularly one high in carbs. If the food you eat is processed, low in fiber, and easily digested, the carbs are digested quickly and the sugars rush into the bloodstream, creating a huge spike in blood sugar. Those foods are said to have a high glycemic index, which is the rise in blood glucose measured two hours after ingesting a particular food, relative to the rise you’d experience from eating pure glucose. Foods that are harder to digest (more complex carbohydrates, fewer sugars, more fiber) take longer to digest and absorb, resulting in a long, low rise in blood sugar—and a low glycemic index.


A high-carbohydrate diet has more than 45% of calories coming from carbs. A low-carb diet needs to include less than 130g of carbs per day (less than 26% of a typical 2000-calorie-per-day diet). Active peoples’ needs vary. They require adequate carbohydrates to fuel their liver and muscle glycogen stores, and to maintain joint health. 

Active people should consume carbs before, during, or after a workout. A post-carb serotonin release can help with sleep. Get at least 20-30g of carbs from dietary sources.

Higher seasonal fruits, berries, vegetables and limited meat during the summer months. Higher carbohydrate intake to promote fat storage, to increase survival odds during the winter months, and to preferentially use glucose as a fuel source. 

Fruit may be an excellent little “natural” package of vitamins and minerals, but in general, most fruit is very high glycemic. Meaning it is perfect for promoting fat storage. If we were preparing for the long winter months, gorging on fruit during the summer would be an amazing way of ensuring survival. However, with the constant supply of high caloric foods at our disposal year-round, there is no longer any need for that. We won’t even address the damage that out of season fruit transported from the other side of the world can have on your digestive system, the change in fruit quality from mass agricultural practices, and the reduction in nutrients that they once held. Or what companies do to keep them “ripe.” Moderation, organic, not before bed time, choose fruits higher in fiber to slow the absorption, and not combined with other sources of food. 


  • Organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Lightly cook the greens to maximize their longevity boosting effects and to destroy goitrogens
  • Soaked, sprouted, or sour-leavened whole grains, legumes, and nuts. These processes eliminate antinutrients like phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors
  • Frequent consumption of lacto-fermented fruits, vegetables, drinks, and condiments (more to match physical demands and less if sedentary) 
  • Frequent consumption of tubers, such as potatoes, kumaras, yams, taro, and Jerusalem artichokes
  • Moderate use of traditional, natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple sugar, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice, stevia powder, and date sugar
  • Strictly limited consumption of unpasteurized beer and wine (the resveratrol effects of wine are exaggerated dramatically)



Fiber is typically found in plant materials, in the form of insoluble (holds onto water and helps push food along the intestinal tract) and soluble fiber (turns into a gel like substance, which helps nutrients to be absorbed at a steady rate). Even though we can’t digest fiber properly, it still plays an important role in ensuring we stay fit and healthy. Some of the many benefits of a high fiber diet include: slowing the absorption of sugar and fat, controlling blood sugar levels, reducing LDL cholesterol, improving “regularity,” and providing food for our microbiome (prebiotics). Our healthy bacteria are able to convert these indigestible materials into short-chain-fatty-acids, which we can digest and use for energy. 

A low-fiber diet can deprive your gut bacteria of prebiotics. Not to mention not providing your body with foods that are high in probiotics. If you have insufficient levels of gut bacteria, you are likely to experience: absence of gas, undigested fiber in your stool, constipation, occasional diarrhea or IBS, frequent sickness and allergies, blood-clotting problems, neurological problems and brain fog, decreased physical performance. Opportunistic bacteria may start colonizing your gut and cause detrimental health effects that become quite challenging to counter.  

Fiber technically falls under the carbohydrates title. It is the portion of carbs that can’t be completely broken down by digestive enzymes. Soluble fiber (fermentable) and insoluble. Soluble includes fructans, pectins, polydextrose, lactulose, xylose, and others. While not completely broken down in the GI tract, soluble fibers can be readily fermented by the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids and gas. This is why veggies make you fart. It also adds bulk to food, causing regular bowel movements and modulating gut transit time. Insoluble includes cellulose, hemicellulose, lignins, xanthan gum, resistant starches, and others. Dietary fiber improves blood glucose and insulin sensitivity, lowers cholesterol, improves blood lipids, weight loss, and satiety. Also, more metabolizable energy than normal carbs. 50-80% of normal. Although, that depends on source and microbiome.


Consume fiber in the form of fresh colorful vegetables and tubers during any meal time where carbohydrates are ingested. Lunch, dinnertime, and around a workout are generally when you want to consume greater quantities of carbohydrates and fiber without raising your blood sugar too high.   


Consume plenty of vegetables like peas, broccoli, turnips, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and carrots.

Fruits and berries such as raspberries, pears, apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries.

Grains and legumes such as quinoa, oats, lentils, beans, rice, and bread (as long as these sources are cooked or baked correctly to break down potentially detrimental proteins).



The optimal intake and ratio of fat is another crucial component of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, fat is still seen as the bad guy of the 3 major macronutrients. Being called fat, during a time where being overweight is “unfashionable,” perhaps doesn’t help its reputation. However, fat is not only crucial for fat storage, but also as a form of energy, forming cell membranes, creating hormones, improving neuronal electrical conductivity, improving bone and skin health, and also eye and immune system health. 

Unless you are already at risk of some form of cardiovascular disease, the fear of high cholesterol is not really an issue if you are eating healthy sources of fat. This involves a managing level of saturated fat (to promote optimal hormonal levels) from free-range and grass-fed animal sources, limiting vegetable oils and trans-fats, and opting for greater quantities of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, to reduce inflammation and improve skin and membrane health.  

Fat comes in forms such as fatty acids, oils, waxes, and steroids. Lipids are essential nutrients because our bodies cannot synthesize essential fatty acids. Fat forms the lipid bilayer of cells, regulate membrane permeability, a source of fat-soluble vitamins, and a storage reservoir for energy. Lipids are unique compared to carbs and protein as they’re absorbed through the lymphatic system as chylomicrons vs the small intestine via pancreatic enzymes and through the intestinal lumen into the liver (carb and protein).

Chylomicrons are lipoproteins, which are what the body uses to package lipids for transport. LDL (low density lipoprotein), HDL (high density lipoproteins), and VDLs (very low-density lipoproteins). All made by your liver for transport. The nomenclature refers to size. LDL large vs HDL small.

Saturated fats are solid at room temp and unsaturated fats are liquid. These refer to the absence (saturated) or presence (unsaturated) of a double bond in the fatty acid chain. Fatty acids are long chains of carbon and hydrogen (acyl group) attached to a carboxyl group that is acidic. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs, which have multiple double bonds) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs have multiple). These double bonds are called kinks in the fatty acid chain. Trans fats are unsaturated fats with a trans bond instead of cis. To make them you need to pump hydrogen into unsaturated fats. Trans fat doesn’t create a kink like a natural cis bond like unsaturated fats do. It’s best not to touch them. Keep fats at an optimal level to maintain a healthy hormonal level. If you lower your fat intake to less than 20% of you daily intake, your testosterone may drop. Although, more fat doesn’t equal more testosterone.

If you are worried about your elevated cholesterol levels, try to eat or drink foods with greater potassium levels, lower your intake of high glycemic foods, and limit your use of vegetable oils. These simple tasks should help regulate your blood pressure and reduce arterial damage and inflammation. Just remember, I’m not a doctor. If you’ve been given pharmaceuticals that may affect the absorption of specific nutrients, or other unwanted side effects, I would advise working with a medical professional who knows your history and who has a basic grasp of biochemistry and nutrition. Also, don’t run in blind. Test one thing at a time and keep tabs of your blood pressure, heart rate, HRV, digestive health, and subjective health.   


Bile is a green juice produced by your liver and stored in your gall bladder, which is a small, thumb-sized pouch that sits between the liver and small intestine, connected to both with short ducts. When fats enter the small intestine from the stomach, the gall bladder squirts bile onto the mush of food. Bile acids (also called bile salts) act like detergents, breaking up the globs of fat and oil into tiny emulsion droplets. Once the fat is emulsified, enzymes called “lipases,” produced by the pancreas, are added to the mix and break these emulsion droplets down to an even smaller size, to microscopic droplets called micelles, just a hundredth the diameter of human hair. These micelles form, break apart, and form again like the bubbles in a fizzy drink. Each time they break apart, they release the individual fatty acids and glycerides (which are fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule) they were holding, the basic building blocks of fats and oils.

Fatty acids and glycerides are absorbed into the intestinal wall and re-formed into triglycerides (three fatty acids attached like streamers to a glycerol molecule), the standard form of fats in the body.

The evolved solution to preventing lumpy blood (due to fat not mixing in water-based solutions) is to pack triglycerides into spherical containers called chylomicrons. This keeps the fats from clumping together, but results in a package too big to be absorbed through capillary walls and into the bloodstream, where they need to go for distribution throughout the body. The fat molecules, packed in chylomicrons, are dumped into the lymphatic vessels. Part surveillance system, part garbage collection, the lymphatic vessels have their own network throughout your body, picking up debris, bacteria, and other detritus and bringing it to the lymph nodes, spleen, and other immune system organs to be dealt with. It’s well suited to pick up big particles like chylomicrons stuffed with fat. The lymphatic vessels also collect all the plasma that leaks out of your blood vessels and returns it to your circulatory system, so it offers a port of entry into the bloodstream. Specialized lymph vessels called lacteals, embedded in the intestinal wall, pull chylomicrons into the lymph system and then dump them directly into the circulatory system, just upstream of your heart.

White, fat-filled chylomicrons are so big after a fatty meal, that they can give the blood a creamy hue. Eventually, though, they are ripped apart and their contents pulled into waiting cells for storage or use. Lipoprotein lipase enzymes in the blood vessel walls first break the triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol, which are pulled into waiting cells by aptly named fatty acid transporter molecules, before being reassembled into triglycerides. Most fat is stored in fat cells (adipocytes) and muscles, forming a reserve fuel tank. These stored triglycerides are the fat that we feel in our belly and thighs, or see marbled into a nice cut of steak.


Higher fat meat, fish, shellfish, and fermented vegetables would be more likely to be eaten during the winter (depending on the culture and geography or your ancestors). Higher protein and fat intake for ketogenic diets. Fasting is likely to have occurred during the winter, or in the case of cultures that sailed large distances, they may have acquired a set of genes that enabled enhanced fat storage, allowing for greater survival by fasting and relying on fat stores when no food was available. 

If possible, try to limit your consumption of foods that are high glycemic and high in fat during a single meal. Lean meat goes great with complex carbohydrates. As does fatty meat with green vegetables. Fat soluble vitamins are often found in nutrient dense and colorful vegetables, so it is worthwhile consuming them with those foods that are higher in saturated fat.    


  • Liberal use of animal or animal-derived fats, including lard, tallow, egg yolks, butter, and cream
  • Traditional oils like extra-virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed sesame oil, and limited amounts of expeller-pressed flaxseed oil, as well as coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Aim for oils that have a high burn point for cooking
  • Cod liver oil, enough to provide 10,000 IU of vitamin A and 1,000 IU of vitamin D
  • Fish oil or krill oil, if higher fish and shellfish intake is not feasible
  • Limit trans fats and vegetable oils as much as possible. Some people can be able to handle greater quantities of omega 6s than others (those with ancestral ties to heavy plant eaters), but it is more likely that we will currently eat too much omega 6s and not enough omega 3s

Water and Hydration


Water is an essential component of blood, which helps to transport water soluble vitamins, glucose, and gases (via red blood cells). It is also part of the many fluids produced by the body, such as mucus, tears, sweat, saliva, cerebral spinal fluid, and many other crucial fluids that protect and regulate healthy bodily functions. Not to mention carrying the electrolytes that assist with nervous system function and maintaining a healthy fluid balance in the body.   

Official guidelines recommend a minimum of 1-1.5 liters per day, or the often quoted 8 glasses a day. This increases with hotter temperatures. The elderly should drink more fluids due to the impaired abilities of their kidneys to filter urine.

It is probably better to disregard this water quota and to listen to our body’s requirements instead. By consuming a greater number of electrolytes and avoiding flavored juices and carbonated drinks full of high-fructose corn syrup, we shouldn’t need that much water.  

Exercise Hydration

The general rule is 0.1-0.2l every 15–20-minute interval of a workout. Exaggerated fluid intake leads to salt/sodium loss.

A dehydration level of more than 2-3% may impair motor skills, ability, alertness, decision making capability, attentiveness, perception, concentration, and subjective energy.

A sports drink with Na (0.5-1%), Mg, K, and Ca electrolytes, and carbohydrates (6-8%) unless the workout is less than an hour, or the individual is keto adapted.

Coconut water is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and electrolytes (especially potassium). Adding salt makes the ratio isotonic, further improving absorption. Add lemon juice.

Quality of Water and Packages

Store water in dark glass bottles and avoid BPA or phthalates containing bottles. They may have a harmful effect on the endocrine system.

  • Naturally flowing spring water
  • Liquid contained in plants (fruits and vegetables, sap, coconut water)
  • Purified tap water 
  • Reverse osmosis, activated carbon filtering, ion exchange
  • High quality spring water or mineral water sold in glass bottles
  • Green tea and other hot beverages that aren’t artificially sweetened
  • Avoid carbonated and sugary beverages
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