Water accounts for over half of your body weight. Most of the reactions that maintain life can take place only in water. Water makes up more than 90 percent of the fluid part of the blood, which carries essential nutrients to all parts of the body. It is also the medium in which waste products are carried away from body tissues.

Water also helps regulate body temperature. It absorbs and distributes heat released in cellular reactions. When the body needs to cool, perspiration—a water-based substance—evaporates from the skin, and heat is drawn away from the body. Usually, the water lost through your skin, lungs, and kidneys is easily replaced by drinking water or consuming moist foods. People, like the athletes in Figure 48-5, must drink water to avoid dehydration—excess water is lost and not replenished. Water moves from intercellular spaces to the blood by osmosis. Eventually, water will be drawn from the cells themselves. As a cell loses water, the cytoplasm becomes more concentrated until the cell can no longer function.

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