Water is essential for the optimal functioning of our body, so the practice of drinking it on an empty stomach in the morning has been found to provide countless health benefits.
Water is a crucial component of the body and plays a vital role in maintaining nearly all major organ systems of the body. The human body contains 2/3 water by weight, and our blood, muscles, brain matter, and bones are also composed of 83%, 75%, 74%, and 22% of water, respectively.
Medical experts all across the globe maintain that water offers innumerate health benefits. It is the most abundant compound present on the planet, and all living forms need it for their metabolic activities.
Drinking water on an empty stomach has been popular in Japan for centuries, and the benefits are easily visible from their slim figures and supple skin.
It is beneficial in the case of headaches, diabetes, constipation, eye diseases, body aches, accelerated heartbeat, epilepsy, gastritis, diarrhea, diseases of the uterus, blood fat, bronchitis, asthma, TB, meningitis, kidney disease and urinary tract, vomiting, menstrual disorders, diseases of the ear, nose and throat.
Drinking water on an empty stomach in the morning is also known as water therapy and is believed to be able to treat various diseases, such as gastritis and constipation in 10 days, high blood pressure and diabetes in a month, and tuberculosis in three months.
Here are the treatment instructions:
- Drink 4 glasses of water as soon as you wake up( 4x 160ml (640 ml)
- If you find it difficult to drink 4 glasses of water at first, start with a glass or two at the beginning
- Don’t eat or drink anything for 45 minutes
- Do not eat or drink anything for two hours after meals
Note: People with arthritis should practice this treatment only for three days during the first week, make a week break, and start performing it daily.
This practice causes no side effects, but has numerous health benefits:
- It detoxifies the body, providing body energy, and boosting the production of muscle cells and new blood cells
- It strengthens the immune system and flushes and balances the lymphatic system
- It accelerates metabolism, purifies the colon, and helps the absorption of nutrients
- It treats indigestion and heartburn since it neutralizes the excessive acidity in the stomach
- It prevents the formation of bladder infections and kidney stones
- Drinking water on an empty stomach will keep you full and help you prevent weight gain
- It hydrates the skin, boosts blood flow, and makes the skin glowing and radiant
- It nourishes the hair and prevents thinning and splitting
Therefore, drinking water on an empty stomach daily is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your optimal health! Try it tomorrow morning, and experience its amazing effects! These are some of the key benefits of drinking water on an empty stomach.
1. Flushes Toxins from the Body
Medical experts say drinking water on an empty stomach flushes out toxins from the body. Drinking water when there is nothing present in your stomach allows the body to do its job more effectively. Doctors with Pinnacle Care Internal Medicine in Arizona say that “by drinking water immediately after waking up, your body is releasing toxins, which begins movement in your bowels. The water also purifies your colon, letting the organ absorb nutrients faster naturally.”
The body has its own processes to flush out toxins – the liver cleanses the system by changing the chemical nature of many toxins, and the kidneys filter them out of the blood via the urine. Some toxins can be easily removed but some require additional intervention. The presence of water improves the functions of the liver and kidneys to help dilute toxins in the bloodstream, making it easier to expel the waste material from the body.
This is why Dr. Steven Guest, a kidney specialist with Kaiser Permanente, says that “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate”. The Arthritis Foundation agrees, saying that “if there’s a magical elixir you can drink, it’s water. Hydration is vital for flushing toxins out of your body, which can help fight inflammation”.
The diagram below shows some of the pathways by which toxins enter, and are removed from the body.
2. Increases Energy
Drinking water is key to maintaining your energy levels. All the more so when you have an empty stomach after sleeping or other prolonged periods without water. Nathalie Pross, the Principal Clinical Scientist at Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland substantiated the claim that dehydration has detrimental effects on mood and performance in a 2014 study. She found that cognition tends to be impaired when you are dehydrated. This is especially the case for the elderly or children versus young, healthy adults who may have greater and more efficient resources.
Similarly, a 2019 study conducted on male college students in Cangzhou, China found that the subjects performed worse in cognitive tests and exhibited greater mood disturbance when dehydrated, and that these effects tended to decrease after they were allowed to rehydrate. Some notable results from this study are shown in the following plots.
Similar results were seen in a study entitled “Is Water-Only Fasting Safe?” by Ewa Ogłodek, MD, and Professor Wiesław Pilis from Jan Dlugosz University in Poland. The study looked at the efficacy of water-only fasting (WF) which is the absolute cessation of food consumption while consuming water only, meaning water is regularly being drunk on an empty stomach. The trial followed 12 middle-aged men who engaged in WF over a course of 8 days and noted a significant increase in the plasma concentration of β-HB. β-HB (β-hydroxybutyrate) supplies energy to the brain.
An increase in β-HB levels allows the body to be more energetic and helps to prevent or improve the symptoms of various age-associated diseases. The study noted that plasma osmolality was reported to be significantly decreased after 8 days of WF. Reduced plasma osmolality implies that chemicals are more diluted in the blood and give the body the energy to perform its job efficiently.
3. Cleanses Your Bowels
“Water prevents constipation and helps our bowels expel waste” according to internal medicine specialist Dr. Jasvinder Anand of India’s Medanta Medicity Hospital. Water acts as a lubricant for the colon, and lack of it can trigger digestive ailments. Drinking water when the stomach is empty is one way to help prevent such ailments.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation according to a 2006 paper that was medically reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD. The digestive system needs water to keep food waste moving through it. If you don’t have enough water in your body, the large intestine soaks up water from your food waste which causes you to have hard stools that are difficult to pass.
This was backed by a 2005 study on 898 children by A.Comas Vives et al at the Departamento Médico Solvay Pharma in Barcelona. According to the results, 73.4% of the children with intestinal constipation had a fluid intake of less than 4 glasses a day compared with only 47.1% without constipation.
4. Helps in Reducing Weight
Science backs the claim that drinking water on an empty stomach helps in reducing weight. This is because it has a filling effect, as water takes up space in the stomach. This can cause you to limit food intake that would otherwise contribute to unwanted weight gain.
According to a 2008 study by Brenda M. Davy and her team from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech, consuming approximately 500 ml (2 cups) of water 30 minutes before a meal when the stomach is empty reduces meal intake by approximately 60 – 74 kcal in adults. The specialists observed a group of 24 overweight adults and concluded that adults who drank water on an empty stomach ate 13 percent less food than adults who didn’t drink fluids before eating. The following plot from the Virginia Tech study shows the results for all participants.
Similar results were seen in a 2016 study by Robert A Corney and his colleagues at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the UK. Participants who drank two glasses of water immediately before a meal ate 22% less than those who didn’t drink any water prior to eating.
The temperature of the water plays a significant role. There have been claims that drinking cold water on an empty stomach jump-starts your metabolism. Clive Brown and his team of researchers from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland conducted a study in 2006 that noted that drinking cold water at 37°F (3°C) caused a 5% increase in the number of calories burned.
This is supported by another study entitled Water Induced Thermogenesis by Michael Boschmann and his team of researchers at the Medical Faculty of the Charité of Humboldt-University, which found that drinking cool water had a greater effect on increasing metabolic energy expenditure than drinking water warmed to approximately body temperature. These results are displayed in the plot below.
Based on these studies, science points to the fact that drinking water, especially on an empty stomach, helps in reducing weight, and that this effect is greater if the water is cold.
5. Speeds Up Your Metabolism
There is clear scientific evidence that indicates drinking water on empty stomach speeds up your metabolism. According to a 2003 study by Michael Boschmann et al. from the Medical Faculty of the Charité at Humboldt-University, drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30 percent. The study followed 14 adults (7 males and 7 females) and concluded that the increase occurred within 10 minutes and reached a maximum after 30-40 minutes. The study goes on to note that drinking 2 liters of water per day would augment energy expenditure by approximately 400 kJ. The graph below shows the increase in energy expenditure reported for each participant in this Boschmann et al. study after drinking water.
Drinking water appears to stimulate thermogenesis or heat production, according to a scientific study on water drinking habits entitled “Yes, Drinking More Water May Help You Lose Weight” published under the umbrella of Johns Hopkins University. The body has to expend energy to warm the fluid to body temperature, and the more energy expended by your body, the faster your metabolism (the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy).
Health professionals back the claim that drinking water assists your metabolism. Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said drinking water regularly “does ensure that your metabolism is functioning optimally”.
6. Promotes Healthy Hair
While there is no evidence to show a correlation specifically between drinking water on an empty stomach and hair health, proper consumption of water, in general, does do so. According to the US National Research Council, water contains minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and calcium that are needed for maintaining hair health.
Copper can affect the pigmentation of your hair and its deficiency can cause hair abnormalities. Calcium keeps your hair healthy and shiny. A deficiency in iron or zinc can cause temporary hair loss whereas its supplementation can stimulate hair growth.
The quality of the water consumed affects hair quality according to a study by J. Lu and F. Yuan from The Arctic University of Norway. Drinking water is the primary source for the trace elements that hair needs to be healthy and hydration is essential for improved hair health regardless of the timing.
The USA’s National Center for Biotechnology Information found local water provided up to 4.9% of the daily requirement of copper, up to 15% of the zinc, and up to 3.3% of the iron required by a 70kg adult.
7. Strengthens the Immune System
Scientific research supports the claim that drinking water on an empty stomach strengthens the immune system by improving various body functions. In a study conducted by Gohar Sedaghat et al. at the Department of Nutrition of Iran’s Zahedan University, 40 patients with Type 2 Diabetes were given water on an empty stomach. At the end of 8 weeks, the subjects had lower BMI, waist circumference, and greater weight loss, as well as lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Additionally, drinking water on an empty stomach had caused a reduction in cholesterol levels (LDL-C), triglyceride, and copeptin. High triglyceride levels cause thickening of the artery wall and increase the chances of heart diseases where high levels of copeptin increase the risk of chronic kidney diseases. These charts summarize the results of the Sedaghat study.
In another 2020 study, Yumi Nakamura from Suntory Global Innovation Center in Kyoto Japan collaborated with colleagues from different research centers to undertake a randomized control trial involving 24 healthy Japanese men and 31 healthy Japanese women for 12 weeks. Subjects were required to drink 550 ml (2 cups) water on top of habitual fluid intake within 2 hours of waking up, and 550 ml water 2 hours before bedtime.
The study used urine, saliva, and blood as biomarkers and came to the conclusion that this pattern of water supplementation showed numerous health benefits that positively impact the body’s immunity. These include increased body temperature, reduced blood urea nitrogen, dilution of blood waste materials, and improved kidney function. Systolic blood pressure also decreased on average from 123.8 to 117.4.
According to a study entitled “Changes in the Blood Components Caused by Water Intake” by Hyun-Kyung Kim, Soo-Hwan Kim, Jae-Ki Ryu at the Gimcheon University in Korea, steady and sufficient water intake (which includes in the morning and other times where the stomach is empty) contributes to alleviating anemia by increasing hemoglobin.
Additionally, it may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing platelet activation and concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). CRP is used to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a steady intake of water may improve immune function by increasing the concentration of the components of immunity.