Brain Damage from Dehydration
Among the many adverse effects of dehydration, its effect on your brain is among the most severe. Understanding these effects is essential to avoiding them.
A majority of people suffers from dehydration to some extent. However, the level of dehydration isn’t that significant unless it’s causing health issues. The effects of losing water can vary from thirst and discomfort to severe health conditions, and even death.
Here we want to direct our focus to the effects that dehydration has on our brain. Our brain needs to be properly hydrated for it to work properly. This is why even mild dehydration can cause damage to your brain, which get more severe as dehydration persists.
What you might not have known is that not being able to rehydrate properly can cause your brain to physically shrink. If it doesn’t make sense now, it will after we explain why this is the case.
How Does Water Affect Brain Size?
On average, water makes up around 75% of your brain. This is why fluid deprivation lowers the brain’s volume. This can have all kinds of negative effects on your wellbeing.
We’re not just talking about severe levels of dehydration. Even 2% of body mass lost in fluids can cause this effect. Even though you might not notice any clinical abnormalities, the first thing you’ll experience is lower brain function.
This includes sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, and fatigue. Of course, everyone will respond to dehydration differently, but these are some tell-tale signs that dehydration is impairing your brain function.
There are many different causes of dehydration. Replacing plain water with sugary drinks, sweating excessively, and working a physically demanding job are only some of the factors that contribute to dehydration.
Another category of people that expose themselves to this risk is athletes. They lose a large amount of fluids, which impairs their ability to perform both physically and mentally. This is why proper rehydration is paramount.
To prove our point, let’s take a look at some of the main negative effects that dehydration has on your brain.
Dehydration-Induced Brain Issues
As soon as your brain starts losing water, you can expect a drop in brain function. Many of them can prevent you from performing everyday tasks. For example, research shows that the way dehydrated drivers drive is similar to driving drunk. During an experiment, they made two times more mistakes that properly hydrated drivers.
Another way that dehydration prevents you from functioning is increasing the frontoparietal BOLD (blood-oxygen-level-dependent) response. This means that your brain requires significantly more neural activity to perform different tasks. Brain functions such as visuospatial processing and planning become much weaker as well.
Athletic performance drops significantly when you’re dehydrated. Aside from the effects that it has on the body, dehydration impairs your motor functions and causes mental fatigue. This means that dehydrated athletes won’t be able to maintain optimal performance, which can cause long-term damage.
Another important thing that we need to address is mental health. Since our brain needs water to function properly, depriving it of fluids puts you at risk of disorders such as anxiety and depression. Lower brain size is responsible for this as well. This is why ensuring that your brain has enough water in essential to your physical and mental health.
Now that you know how dehydration shrinks your brain and causes all kinds of brain issues, we’d like to offer you some advice on how to make sure this doesn’t happen, or overcome it if it already has.
The most obvious way of hydrating is drinking enough plain water. This will be helpful primarily to people that don’t tend to lose a lot of water. Simply remembering to drink water a couple of times a day can make sure that your brain stays hydrated.
However, sometimes this isn’t enough. This applies mostly to people who tend to sweat a lot, such as manual workers and athletes. Since they lose a lot of water through sweating, just drinking plain water might not be enough to replace the lost fluids.
The reason for this is that sweat carries a lot of electrolytes out of your body. Plain water isn’t enough to replace them. This is where electrolyte-rich water can be helpful. Here at SOS Hydration, we created a formula that can help replace lost fluids and electrolytes easily. Consuming our solution along with plain water can help you stay hydrated and protect your brain. If you want to know more about the way it does this, visit our shop for more information.