While the benefits of hydration on physical well-being are now well known, the power it can have on the functioning of the brain and other, high-metabolism tissues is often underestimated. In fact, drinking a certain amount of water can have an effect on mood swings with consequences for attention spans and perceptions of fatigue.
The effects are most visible in children and the elderly. Both age groups are often dehydrated and do not have a fully functioning thirst reflex, because it is not fully developed in children and because it is deteriorating in the elderly.
"Water represents about 65% of our body weight, with the brain and muscles composed for 75% of water; that rises to more than 80% for the lungs, blood and kidneys,” notes Dr. Elisabetta Bernardi, Biologist specialized in food science and a member of the Sanpellegrino Observatory. “It is therefore easy to see the important role it plays in all of our vital functions, including mood changes. In fact, even moderate dehydration has been shown to have negative effects on our psychological state."
Our mood is particularly sensitive to water consumption. Scientific studies1 have shown that poor hydration can lead to anxiety, tension and depression. Research2 also shows a significant correlation between better hydration and feeling a "good mood," especially in the early years of life.
"Logically, all of this can have a negative or positive effect on everyday cognitive performance. Dehydration interferes with the brain more often than you think. Are you nervous? Having trouble concentrating? Feeling tired? Can’t remember things? You may need to drink more water!"
Dr. Elisabetta Bernardi
Magnesium-rich waters are particularly beneficial when it comes to moods. Magnesium is a precious micronutrient, which is essential for restoring our psychological and emotional balance, as well as for protecting the cardiovascular system from arrhythmias and hypertension.
An appropriate and constant intake of water is therefore essential for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Whether you are a busy head of the family, a manager with numerous work commitments, a child who plays without ever getting tired or a marathon runner who can lose up to 8% of his body weight through body fluids while running, maintaining proper hydration is an effective way to do good to your body but also to stay focused and positively face the challenges of everyday life.
1 MS Ganio, LE Armstrong, DJ Casa, BP McDermott, EC Lee, LM Yamamoto, S Marzano, RM Lopez, L Jimenez, L Le Bellego, E Chevillotte, HR Lieberman. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. Br J Nutr. Nov 2011; 106(10):1535-43.
2 R Fadda, G Rapinett, D Grathwohl et al. (2012), Effects of drinking supplementary water at school on cognitive performance in children. Appetite 59, 730–737.