Cells are particular about hydration. A study of nearly 40,000 people showed that we absorb less than 10% of the water we drink and 94% of us are dehydrated. The cell membrane allows some water to seep in, but the major gushes of water that enter cells move in through channels called aquaporins. These were discovered relatively recently and they were a rather significant find as many scientists had been seeking the so called “water channels” for a long time. Think of aquaporins like sentries that keep the door shut when a fluid is charged with a proton or hold the door open when the right combination of substances are present including clean water, minerals and salt.
There are two types of hydration to know about. They are Intracellular and Extracellular. To understand them, consider an experience that you have probably had in your body. Have you ever consumed a lot of water really quickly and had it go down to your stomach and slosh around? How about when you drink a lot and you feel like it is just going right through you? Those are examples of extracellular hydration or times when water goes into your body but not into your cells. Intracellular hydration is probably not something that you have a cognitive awareness of. The important thing to know about it is that it happens when water penetrates your cells.
Water is the only fluid to offer proper hydration. Consider the words of Dr. Batmanghelidj from his book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water:
“In advanced societies, thinking that tea, coffee, alcohol, and manufactured beverages are desirable substitutes for the purely natural water needs of the daily “stressed” body is an elementary but catastrophic mistake.”