MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: what are the functions of water in the bodies of living organisms

Date: Fri Oct 27 11:27:28 2000
Posted By: Lillian Mundt, Faculty, Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 972506465.Gb

Water makes up about 2/3 or 67% of the human body.  Over half of the water 
in our bodies is intracellular ( found inside the cells ), and less than 
half is extracelluar ( outside the cells in the spaces between the cells 
and in the blood ).

Water has several functions in our bodies.  It acts as a solvent for 
chemicals.  That is, all the chemicals we need for reactions to happen in 
our bodies to keep us going have to be dissolved in water in order to work 
and to cross cell membranes (cell wall).  Water also helps to keep each of 
our cells in the size and shape they are supposed to be.

The brain can detect when our bodies are too low in water (usually when the 
salts and sugars in our blood and body fluids are too concentrated); that's 
when we get thirsty.
The best thing to drink when we get thirsty is plain water.

Reference: How the Body Works, Steve Parker, Reader's Digest 1994

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