How do we absorb water into cells?

COOHPeople ask me sometimes why they can’t just drink more water if their connective tissue system, scientifically called the extracellular matrix is dehydrated? The answer is somewhat complex because to discuss this, we have to understand this issue is cellular thus, biology and chemistry must be discussed.

I know, it’s not easy to wrap your brain around cellular science nor do I think the general public needs to go hunting for scientific information. No worries, I’ll do it for you. Now, I’ve written about the molecular components of the human body before in my blogs but let’s see if I can take some deep science and simplify it here so you might gain a better understanding of how water plays an essential role in your overall good heath.GAG

So how does water get into the extracellular matrix (ECM – the system outside of all of your cells where water and nutrient is transported and absorbed) once you drink it? Within the ECM, there are certain sugar based proteins called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that attract water into the ECM.  GAG’s are long sugar carbohydrate chains found in numerous cells in the human body. They perform a variety of functions. Under normal circumstances, the body routinely breaks down polysaccharides to prevent overabundance, and enzymes typically metabolize these complex sugars at the end of a cell’s lifespan. GAGs are negatively charged molecules mostly found on the surface of cells or in the ECM. They attract the positively charged water molecule. These GAG molecules are ideal for lubricating fluids in your joints. These unbranched polysaccharides contain a repeating disaccharide unit (proteoglycans), which contain two modified sugars. It gets complicated after that but to keep it simple, because of its makeup, the GAGs provide structural integrity to cells and provide passageways between cells allowing for cells to migrate. Think of them like a more gummy based glue that helps gel up the water to make it more stable and architecturally integrated.DNA

Another element in the ECM called hyaluronic acid displaces a large volume of water and is another lubricator and shock absorber for your joints. What we are learning about GAGs and proteoglycans is that they perform NUMEROUS vital functions, many of which still remain to even be studied and the absorption of water or the uptake of water in the ECM is the most essential element in the connective tissues supportive roles.

There are many GAGs (heparin is one that helps prevent coagulation of blood) that help repair tissues and respond to injury. This can lead to an inhibition of blood clotting by activating other GAGs (antithrombin) which then inhibits other components of the coagulation cascade of blood. This type of phenomenon is currently being clinically exploited in the use of heparin injections for anti-coagulation therapies. So although the properties of our connective tissue system are studied to help deter diseases and death, the actual architecture and overall discussion of the invaluable role connective tissue plays has been left rather unstudied.

Several genetically inherited diseases cause these chemical and molecular processes to go awry causing metabolic imbalances. This can lead to autoimmune disorders, defects in cellular absorption, and changes in the ECM. And although our genes can cause these issues, so can our lifestyles, habits, food choices, and stress levels. What is known is that just from aging the cellular absorption of our ECM is continuously challenged. Our genetic makeup alters to some degree causing cellular absorption to decline.

What we do know for sure is, water molecules are positively charged and the negatively charged molecules attract them into the ECM. What seems to occur just from living is a depletion in the GAGs number which reduces the volume of water being attracted into the ECM. However, you can stimulate the cell receptors with certainly types of tension and compression methods both from hands on and self-treatment methods like MELT. There are no methods that are directly focused on this occurring aside from me developing a method to coincide with the studies currently being conducted on connective tissue research. Ultimately, what we are realizing is that water is the most essential element in cell absorption and proliferation – especially that of the ECM cells. The key is getting water and fluids in our body CONSISTENLY in a day. This is as simple as it gets. DRINK WATER CONSISTENLY! It’s more important than how much water you drink in a day to keep your ECM stable.