Can Dehydration Impair Cognitive Function
We often hear the adage about the importance of drinking eight glasses of water a day to keep our bodies healthy, but how about our brains? The adult human body contains around 60% water. All the cells in the body, including our brain cells, depend on this water to carry out essential functions. Therefore, if water levels are too low, our brain cells cannot function properly, leading to cognitive problems.
The brains of dehydrated adults show signs of increased neuronal activation when performing cognitively engaging tasks, indicating that their brains are working harder than normal to complete the task . In healthy young adults, this additional effort typically manifests as fatigue and changes in mood, but in populations with less cognitive reserve, such as the elderly, this can lead to a decline in cognitive performance . Performance on complex cognitive tasks that require high levels of brain power is most likely to decline due to the strain of dehydration. A meta-analysis of 33 studies including a total of 413 participants found that dehydration corresponding to more than a 2% reduction in body mass was associated with significant impairments on attention, executive function, and motor coordination .
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Get the latest brain health news:
Who Has The Most Water
- Babies and children have the highest percentage of water.
- Adult men contain the next highest level of water.
- Adult women contain a lower percentage of water than babies or men.
- Obese men and women have less water, as a percentage than lean adults.
The percent of water depends on your hydration level. People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body’s water. Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in mental tasks and physical coordination.
Although liquid water is the most abundant molecule in the body, additional water is found in hydrated compounds. About 30-40% of the weight of the human body is the skeleton, but when the bound water is removed, either by chemical desiccation or heat, half the weight is lost.
Brain Damage Isn’t Always Permanent
The brain is fragile and can be damaged by things such as injury, stroke, or disease. This damage can result in a range of consequences, from mild disruptions in cognitive abilities to complete impairment. Brain damage can be devastating, but is it always permanent?
A person’s ability to recover from brain damage depends upon the severity and the location of the injury. For example, a blow to the head during a football game might lead to a concussion. While the injury can be quite serious, most people can recover when given time to heal. A severe stroke, on the other hand, can result in damage that can very well be permanent.
However, it is important to remember that the human brain has an impressive amount of plasticity. Even following a serious brain event, such as a stroke, it is possible for the brain to partially or fully heal itself over time and form new connections.
Read Also: Why Do Brain Freezes Hurt
The Origin Of The Myth
The main allure of the 10 percent myth is the idea that you could do so much more if only you could unlock the rest of your brain. Even with ample evidence suggesting the contrary, why do many people still believe that humans only use 10 percent of their brains? Its unclear how the myth spread in the first place, but it has been popularized by self-help books, and may even also be grounded in older, flawed, neuroscience studies.
The myth could be aligned with messages espoused by self-improvement books, which show you ways to do better and live up to your “potential.” For example, the preface to the notorious “How to Win Friends and Influence People” says that the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability. This statement, which is traced back to psychologist William James, refers to a persons potential to achieve more rather than how much brain matter they used. Others have even said that Einstein explained his brilliance using the 10 percent myth, though these claims remain unfounded.
The Human Brain Gets Smaller As We Get Older
Human brain keeps developing until you are in your late 40s. It is the only organ in the human body to undergo development for such a long time. It also sees more changes than any other organ. Around mid-life, the brain will begin to shrink. However, size doesnt matter in the brain. There is no evidence that a larger brain is smarter than a smaller one.
Also Check: Brain Bleed Symptoms In Adults
How Do You Determine Your Water Percentage
To get the percentage of water in your body, assume 1 liter equals 1 kilogram and then divide your TBW by your weight. Its a simplistic estimate, but it will give you an idea if youre in a healthy range for percentage of water in your body.
The Visual Areas Of The Brain Are In The Back
The part of your brain responsible for vision, the occipital lobe, is located in the back. This is why if you get banged in the back of your head, you will see stars. The left side of your brain controls the vision on your right side, and vise versa. Your brain also processes sound on the opposite sides of the head.
You May Like: Does Brain Freeze Cause Damage
Alcohol And The Brain
Long-term alcoholism can lead to a number of health problems, including brain damage.
It is not, however, as simple as saying that drinking alcohol kills brain cells this is a myth. The reasons for this are complicated.
If a woman drinks too much alcohol while pregnant, it can affect the brain development of the fetus, and even cause fetal alcohol syndrome.
The brains of babies with this condition may be smaller and often contain fewer brain cells. This may lead to difficulties with learning and behavior.
How Much Water Should You Drink
Aim for 2-3 litres of water a day. Add an extra serving of water for every serving of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages you may be having in a day .
However, your specific needs vary based on your physical activity, your lifestyle habits and more. For instance, athletes who strenuously work out will require far more water on a daily basis than someone who lives a more sedentary lifestyle.
Don’t Miss: Evander Holyfield Brain Damage
Exercise Is Just As Good For Your Brain As It Is For Your Body
Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your brain. As your increased breathing pumps more oxygen into your bloodstream, more oxygen is delivered to your brain. This leads to neurogenesisor the production of neuronsin certain parts of your brain that control memory and thinking. Neurogenesis increases brain volume, and this cognitive reserve is believed to help buffer against the effects of dementia.
It has been noted that exercise promotes the production of neurotrophins, leading to greater brain plasticity, and therefore, better memory and learning. In addition to neurotrophins, exercise also results in an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, which boost information processing and mood.
Reasons Why Your Brain Needs Water
Posted on May 16, 2019
Is there a correlation between water and the brain function?
Yes, there is!
Water is an indispensable part when it comes to an individuals health and overall well-being. When you dont drink enough water it leads to severe consequences. This, in turn, has a negative impact on your vital bodily functions.
One such bodily function that is affected by dehydration is brain activity. Dehydration affects the brain causing memory impairment. It hampers your cognitive and motor skills. Plus, it affects your mood. Thus, drinking plentiful water every day is important and here is how being hydrated can help improve your mental health.
Also Check: How Much Storage Does The Human Brain Have
Water And Brain Energy
The brain is one of the most important organs in your body to keep fueled. It is approximately 85 percent water and brain function depends on having abundant access to water.
Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.
According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.
Water is also needed for the brain’s production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Nerve transmission requires one-half of all the brains energy.
When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity.
Daily hydration will not only help with better thinking, it can help prevent attention deficit disorder in children and adults.
The reason why it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day for optimal brain function is because your brain does not have any way to store water.
When your body loses more water than you are replacing, dehydration will kick in and brain function will be affected.
What Are Interesting Facts About The Human Brain
The average brain weighs about 3 pounds, and has approximately 100 billion neurons. There are about 100,000 billion miles of blood vessels in the brain. The brain uses about 20 percent of the total oxygen at rest. While awake your brain generates 10 to 23 watts of power- or enough energy to power a light bulb. The brain is 75 percent water.
The brain is one of the body’s most powerful organs. It helps people talk, move, feel, see, hear and even smell. The brain controls almost everything the body does, including things that people dont even have to think about, like growing and breathing.
Also Check: Does Drinking Destroy Brain Cells
Pounds Of Remarkable Matter
Made up of billions of neurons that communicate in trillions of connections called synapses, your brain is one of the most complex and fascinating organs in your body. Keeping your brain healthy and active is vital. Discover just how powerful it is with these interesting facts.
Headaches Are Caused By A Chemical Reaction
Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck can play a role in primary headaches. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a headache or migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
Recommended Reading: What Does Bleeding In The Brain Mean
There Are About 85 Billion Neurons In The Human Brain
An often-cited statistic is that there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain. This number has been repeated so often and for so long that no one is completely sure where it originated. In 2009, however, one researcher decided to count neurons in adult brains and found that the number was just a bit off the mark.
Based on this research, it appears that the human brain contains closer to 85 billion neurons. So while 100 billion is a few billion too high, 85 billion is still nothing to sneeze at.
The Neuroscience Of Thirst: How Your Brain Tells You To Look For Water
figures by Jovana Andrejevic
Youve undoubtedly experienced the feeling of thirst: its a slight itch in the back of your throat, a distracting urge to turn away from whatever youre doing and find something to drink. It drives you to guzzle water on hot days and to drink something along with your meals. Our need for water is as omnipresent and critical as our need for food or oxygenits an essential cog that keeps our bodies working normally. The craving to pick up a beverage when were feeling parched might feel intuitive, but our bodies rely on an intricate set of biological processes to make sure we stay properly hydrated, as consuming both too much or too little water can lead to problems.
Recommended Reading: Brainstem Hemorrhage
Your Brain Uses 20% Of The Oxygen And Blood In Your Body
Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. As little as five minutes without oxygen can cause some brain cells to die, leading to severe brain damage. Also, the harder you think, the more oxygen and fuel your brain will use from your blood up to 50%.
Every minute, 750-1,000 milliliters of blood flows through the brain. This is enough to fill a bottle of wine or liter bottle of soda.
How Can Lack Of Water Affect My Well
Believe it or not a lack of hydration from a natural element, like water, can affect our bodies and our minds. Do you find yourself feeling unfocused? Do you feel that you get fatigued easily during the day? Do you feel dazed and confused when doing a simple task?
Do you feel like the world is coming to an end, and that the only way you can feel relieved is by testifying your undying love and loyalty to the natural gods of the Earth? Yes, no? Maybe this is just me Well, if you answered yes to the majority of these, then chances are that you are lacking some water. So, Drink up.
Water lubricates our body and brain. Speaking of the brain: Did you know that our brain is made out of 85 percent water?
Research studies have found that when your brain depletes 1 percent of water, youll likely to have a 5 percent decrease in cognitive/brain function and for some, this is a lot.
Other symptoms of lack of water:
Low and high blood pressure
Digestive problems .
Early signs of aging
Recommended Reading: Whats Brain Freeze
The Water In You: Water And The Human Body
Think of what you need to survive, really just survive. Food? Water? Air? Facebook? Naturally, I’m going to concentrate on water here. Water is of major importance to all living things in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.
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 per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters 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, 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
- acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus
- forms saliva
- lubricates joints
Hydration Strategies To Get More Fluids Into Your Body
Some people struggle to drink enough water. Try these hydration tips and tricks to keep your body and mind well-hydrated:
Drink a glass of water right when you wake up. After a night of sleep, you’re already dehydrated and it’s a great way to jump-start your system.
Use prompts and reminders. For example, drink a glass of water around important milestones in your day . Or fill up a 2-litre water bottle and carry it around with you, aiming to finish it by the end of your day.
Make hydration fun. If you find plain water unappealing, increase the taste factor with natural, healthy additives like a sprig of fresh mint or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Or, channel your inner spa and infuse your water with slices of cucumbers or watermelon.
Remember, hydration is just one piece of the brain health puzzle.Pair your renewed focus on hydration with the Heights Smart Supplement. It offers the highest quality nutrients for better brain health, and its convenient once-a-day dose pairs perfectly with a nice, cold glass of water.
You May Like: Bleed In Brain Stem