Are You Dehydrated?

Dehydration

Dehydration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wake up to CBC radio in the morning. On occasion Dr. Peter Lin joins the morning program for a brief comment on health. His segments are great.

In this mornings’ segment (February 22, 2012),  Matt Galloway from CBC chatted about a new study with Dr. Peter Lin about recognizing the signs of dehydration and the steps to take to ensure staying well hydrated.

Click this Thirsty? link to listen to the audio segment in its entirety. A quick and informative listen at just over 3.5 minutes.

A brief outline of the segment:

  • even very mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level, cognitive function and memory…
  • 1 – 1.5 pecrent dehydration is considered very mild dehydration
  • we begin to feel thirsty by 1 – 2 % dehydration
  • the body is 60 – 70% Water
  • the brain is 85% Water
  • the brain is our most sensitive organ, so it begins to feel the effects of dehydration first
  • both genders complained of headaches, feeling tired and having difficulty concentrating
  • both genders become cranky with even very mild dehydration
  • Gender differences – Women’s mood worsens; Men’s short term and working memory worsens
  • Researchers think that this ‘making you feel lousy’ symptom is our signal to get more water – This is not the thirst signal
  • The thirst signal kicks in later, by 2% once we become more dehydrated
  • We may be able to turn the thirst signal off, much like turning off our hunger feeling (so we must take care to be mindful of not becoming even mildly dehydrated)
  • One theory of why we begin to feel lousy is that this change in mood may encourage us to go look for water

How much water should we drink per day?

  • It is variable depending on individual activities
  • Generally – 8 cups (2 Litres) per day
  • Of course, the more active you are, the more water you will need
  • Men, average: 3 Litres, including all liquids per day
  • Women, average: 2.5 Litres, including all liquids per day
  • Experts suggest not to count the number of litres but rather:
  • Focus on going to the bathroom (urinating!) at least 4-6 times per day
  • Urine should be pale yellow colour NOT dark yellow
  • However, first urine of the morning will be darker in colour due to night-time/ sleep dehydration
  • Sipping 10 ounces of water first thing in the morning will help to rehydrate the body from the night

Drink some water with meals, because the water does help with digestion. But not too much. Everything in moderation. I tend to drink my 10 ounces of water at the end of my meal. Experiment for yourself and see what works for you. Try all the possible combinations and make your own assessment.

Dr. Peter Lin, also says that drinking hot water is a better choice at meals because the heat helps to cut the grease.

Coffee and tea are ok in small amounts, it counts as water, but when you get to six or seven cups you begin to lose more water than you are taking in, which is the same for alcohol – it causes dehydration.

The best approach is to sip water throughout the day. Gradually increase your water intake over a number of days rather than guzzling down 2 Litres if you’ve barely been drinking any. Go slowly, let your body adapt to the change. Analyze how you feel – some days you will need more water intake than other days.

Remember…

YOU are an experiment of one!

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