Dieting and workouts are considered the foundational pillars of health and well-being. For years the fitness industry has preached the benefits of healthy nutrition choices and regular exercise. However, hydration is often overlooked as a key aspect for healthy living. Hydration plays a key role in the way we look, feel, and perform both mentally and physically.
You might think that hydration is a simple concept – drink enough water and you'll be good to go. The truth of the matter is it's a bit more complicated. Hydration doesn’t mean simply drinking water when you’re thirsty or making sure the body has enough fluids. Science and research have shown us that hydration can impact nearly every aspect of your life on both a mental and physical level.
In this piece, we’ll dive into the basics of hydration and what steps you should take to ensure you’re always operating at your peak capacity for performance.
What is Hydration?
Hydration the process of replacing and replenishing body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling, and eliminating waste (1). Studies have indicated that an average human body loses close to 3 quarts of water daily. Hydration can come in the form of foods and beverages we consume. However, the best sources of hydration typically include water and electrolyte enhanced beverages.
Each and every cell, tissue, and organ within our bodies needs fluid to perform a number of bodily functions including:
- Maintaining body temperature
- Disposal of waste products
- Lubrication of joints
Hydration can also greatly impact our mental capacity and ability to operate at our peak performance levels. Individual hydration needs will vary depending upon body type, sex, age, activity level and more. There’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to individual hydration needs. Although the general recommendation of 6-8 glasses of water is given for the average person – an active or larger size person may have substantially greater hydration needs.
The Impact of Dehydration
Severe or prolonged hydration can result in a variety of mental and physical ailments. When the body uses or loses more fluid than it takes in – it's unable to perform normal functions. Some of the symptoms of dehydration include:
You might be wondering how dehydration causes hunger? Well the truth of the matter is dehydration can often be masked as feelings of hunger. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating appetite and thirst. Research has confirmed that 37% of people make the mistake of feeling hungry when they’re in fact dehydrated (2). So if you’re feeling hungry, there’s actually a strong chance you’re only thirsty.
Many people are under the assumption that hydration relates strictly to water intake. However, there’s several other elements that impact hydration. Staying hydrated means ensuring you intake and maintain adequate amounts of electrolytes. The most significant electrolytes include magnesium, calcium, potassium, and chloride – each of these play a critical role in the overall hydration process.
Magnesium helps ensure muscles, nerves, and heart work properly. Lack of proper magnesium intake can result in weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue and irregular heartbeats.
Calcium is critical as a part of the circulatory system – responsible for extracellular fluid, vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, and intracellular signaling (3). A lack of calcium can result in extreme fatigue, a lack of energy, and feelings of sluggishness. Long-term calcium deficiency can also result in lightheadedness, dizziness, brain fog, and a lack of focus.
Potassium is a critical electrolyte as it plays a central role in ensuring cells intake precise amounts of water needed. Ensuring proper potassium levels helps ensure rehydration is as effective as possible. Potassium deficiencies in relation to hydration can also result in weakness, fatigue, confusion, and muscle cramps (4).
Lack of chloride, also known as hypochloremia, is the result of low amounts of chloride in the body. Chloride works in sync with other electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to regulate the amount of fluid and pH in the body. A severe lack of chloride can be signs of heart failure or other serious ailments (5).
Keep Your Electrolytes in Check
Electrolyte balance plays a critical role in hydration. Electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and chloride are essential for maintaining electrical neutrality in cells, generating and conducting action potentials in the nerves and muscles.
When it comes to physical performance or even everyday health – maintaining optimal hydration levels is of vast importance. Without proper electrolyte balance, the body will be unable to maintain fluid balance, muscle contraction and neural activity – all essential elements of optimizing performance and daily functionality.
If you’d like to learn more about hydration and the best ways for optimizing your hydration and overall health, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help you live your best life while performing at peak capacity.P.S. For those of you that read this far, here is a discount on your first tub of TRU Hydrate. Apply code "TRYHYDRATE" at checkout for a special discount.
Chief Product Formulator