Hydration is Essential for Your Brain

Water makes up 75 percent of your brain. Therefore, if you're dehydrated, you'll probably experience cognitive difficulties, especially those linked with the processes of attention and memory.
Hydration is Essential for Your Brain

Last update: 11 February, 2021

Most of the human body’s composed of water. That’s why all your organs need water to work properly. So of course hydration is absolutely essential for your brain.

You have psychological mechanisms for the elimination of any excess water. These mechanisms maintain a balance of water in your body. For this reason, there’s no known maximum daily intake for how much water you can consume.

However, this doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be certain consequences if you were to drink water to excess. In fact, the recommended consumption per day varies and depends on your weight, age, health, and level of physical activity, amongst other things.

Dehydration and physical activity

During intense exercise, loss of body water can lead to:

  • Severe changes in thermoregulation.
  • Increased breathing rate during exercise.
  • Tingling and numbness in the limbs.
  • Physical Collapse, especially if you exercise in extreme heat.

All the organs of your body need water. Hydration is therefore essential for your brain. A study published in 2011 in the journal Nutrition Reviews stated that even mild levels of dehydration can cause disturbances in moods and cognitive functioning.

A woman at the gym with a bottle of water.
Dehydration may occur during intense exercise. This results in changes to the functions of important systems of the body, including your brain.

Hydration is essential for your brain

According to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, hydration’s essential for your brain because water makes up 75 percent of its total mass. Amongst other things, water can affect your balance of electrolytes and your metabolism.

It’s therefore essential that you try and maintain a balance between your intake and output of water. Because if you don’t replenish the fluids you lose through sweat, urine, and other mechanisms, several things can happen.

It’ll be your cognitive performance that suffers the most harm. Indeed, according to the same research, these particular functions will be affected:

At the same time, dehydration causes variations in the distribution of water through your body. This can then lead to low pressure in your brain, which is associated with confusion, dementia, and lethargy.

Studies such as those carried out by Nathalie Pross are not conclusive about what happens to the mechanisms of the brain when you’re dehydrated. However, they do suggest that your attention and memory are the first processes to be affected.

Dehydration can also affect your mood. For instance, you might feel tired or irritable. In fact, you might even think you’re hungry when all your body really wants is water.

Hydration is important for your brain to function properly. Because when you’re properly hydrated, your brain gets oxygenated blood and stays alert. Consequently, it easily manages to perform its functions.

A woman looking tired.
Dehydration can affect your cognitive levels in several ways. However, it’s your memory and attention levels that are mainly affected.

Also, read  5 Common Hydration Mistakes

How to recognize signs of dehydration

You might not recognize at first that your decreased cognitive performance is due to dehydration. So you need to look for other signs such as:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Cold dry skin
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling lethargic and irritable
  • A decrease in urination.
  • Feeling listless
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Headaches and dizziness

If you’re experiencing these kinds of symptoms you need to check that you’re taking in sufficient liquids and mineral salts. If not, you need to address this. However, if you’re showing signs of severe dehydration, you require immediate medical attention.

Also, read  Find Out How to Improve Your Health by Drinking More Water Every Day

So now you know can that proper hydration is essential for your brain to function properly. Because if your fluid intake is low you might experience problems with your cognitive functions. If this happens you need to drink water as well as drinks that contain electrolytes.

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