Monday, August 30, 2021

Episode 592 (8-30-21): Exploring the Human Body’s Uses of Water

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:34).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-27-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 30, 2021.  This week, we introduce a series episodes on water connections to the human body and human biology.  We start with some mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you know what action these sounds have in common.  And here’s a hint: I’m not joking when I say the answer “in jest.”

SOUNDS  - ~10 sec 

If you guessed taking water into the body, or ingesting water, you’re right!  You heard sounds of sipping water from a glass, slurping water through a straw, and a crunching into an apple.  Taking in water as liquid or in food is, of course, the first part of the human body’s use of water.  Once it’s inside of us, water’s got a lot to do.  As the Mayo Clinic Health System has stated it, “nearly all of your body’s major systems depend on water to function and survive.”

Here are eight key aspects and functions of water in human biology.

Water constitutes a large percentage of body organs and tissues, including over 70 percent of the brain and heart, over 80 percent of the lungs.

It’s a major component of blood and lymphatic fluid, which transport materials throughout the body.

It’s the medium for the body’s biochemical reactions.

It cushions and protects body organs and tissues.

It helps the body regulate its temperature.

It’s involved in the breakdown and transport of foods and the nutrients they provide.

It lubricates joints.

And it transports waste products out of the body.

Water can perform these life-sustaining functions because of its unique physical and chemical properties that allow it to dissolve many substances, absorb and release heat, and withstand being compressed.

We’d be nowhere without it, so we close with some music for the body part that’s crucial for all of water’s functions.  Here’s about 15 seconds of “The Mouth Reel,” by No Strings Attached.

MUSIC – ~15 sec - instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“The Mouth Reel,” from the 1999 album “In the Vinyl Tradition – Volume I,” is copyright by No Strings Attached, used with permission.  More information about No Strings Attached—a long-time Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based band which is no longer performing—is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at


Water uses in the human body.  Illustration from the U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,”


The following information is quoted from the U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,”

“According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water.  The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.

“Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive.  Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives.  Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters (3.2 quarts) per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters (2.3 quarts) per day.  All of the water a person needs does not have to come from drinking liquids, as some of this water is contained in the food we eat.

“Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going.
A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, [it] acts first as a building material.
*It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration.
*The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream.
*It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination.
*[It] acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus.
*[It] forms saliva.
*{It] lubricates joints.” 


American Society of Hematology, “Blood Basics,” online at

Cleveland [Ohio] Clinic, “Lymphatic System,” online at

Mayo Clinic Health System, “Water: Essential to your body,” online at  This is the source of the quote used in the audio of this episode.

U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,”


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Science” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on connections of water to human biology.  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in fall 2021; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes.  

Episode 195, 1-6-14 – Water thermodynamics.
Episode 287, 10-26-15 – Skeleton system connections to water.
Episode 392, 10-30-17 – Circulatory system connections to water.
Episode 393, 11-6-17 – Disease: Influenza.
Episode 450, 12-10-18
– Neurological system connections to water.
Episode 466, 4-1-19
– Water intake and sports.
Episode 517, 3-23-20
and Episode 519, 4-6-20 – Disease: Water connections to COVID-19.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
K.4 – Water is important in our daily lives and has properties.
3.3 – Materials interact with water. 

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.

Life Science
LS.4 – There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life

BIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250, 1-26-15
– on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.