Our brains consist of about 85% water, which means H2O is absolutely vital for optimal brain functions. When you deprive your grey matter of water you may experience symptoms such as problems with memory, focus, brain fatigue and brain fog, headaches, insomnia and even depression.
Why your brain needs water
All brain functions, including the memory and thought processes, rely on electrical energy derived from water. Brain cells need twice as much energy as all the other cells in your body, and water provides this energy better any other element.
The brain also doesn’t have the capacity to store water so as your body loses H2O and dehydration kicks in, its function will be affected. Nerve transmission uses half of all the brain’s energy so, if you don’t replenish your body’s H2O, it’s clear that your brain won’t have anything to draw its energy from.
According to Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 2 litres of water per day through breathing, sweating and waste disposal. Only when we experience a 2% drop in hydration does our brains register that it might need H2O. At this point there is a reduction in mood, performance and cognitive function.
Your brain on water
Studies by Brain Advance have shown that when you are only 1% dehydrated, you can experience a 5% decrease in cognitive function, mental clarity and acuity. Providing your thinker with an abundant supply of water will enable you to think faster, clearer and more creatively, as well as improve your focus.
Another study, published in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience journal, found that drinking water when feeling thirsty can improve the brain’s ability to carry out tasks that require a rapid response. Participants in the study drank a glass of water, after fasting overnight, immediately before taking the exam and it turns out that their reflexes and reaction time improved by 14%. As a result, the participants’ overall cognitive performance spiked during these mental tests. The researchers believe this happens because once thirst is relieved, the brain is free to focus on the task in hand, instead of “telling” the body it’s thirsty.
Even though water is important for body functions, it’s even more vital for our brains. Being adequately hydrated will result in clearer thinking, as well as a boost in general energy and mood.