What happens when your body is dehydrated


January 26th, 2022

What happens when your body is dehydrated

Water is the foundation for everything in our body. Whilst the human body could survive without solid food for 9 weeks, life without water will only last a few days.

Water is responsible for many vital functions in our body. It is a component of body cells, a medium of transport for oxygen, nutrients and hormones, is a protection pad for our brain, spinal cord and inner organs. Moreover, it plays an important role in the main mechanism of thermoregulation. It secures the function of our sensory organs as well as it keeps up multiple pressure ratios in our body.

The recommended amount of water consumption via beverages is around 1,2 to 1,5 liters. This demand is dependent on energy conversion, temperature, salt traffic, protein supply and health status. Our body loses water on a daily basis via our skin, respiration and urination. The loss through the skin increases with the production of sweat, which occurs during sports activity and high temperatures.

Not only water provides fluid supply, but solid food also takes up some parts of it. They not only contain water, but the processing of it also has oxidation water as a product.

Exercise increases water demand, because the sweat production also increases due to thermoregulation – the body must emit most of the energy produced through muscle work via sweat.

If your body isn’t supplied with enough water, substances, that are usually excreted in the urine (such as nitrogen from protein), stay in the body and can have negative outcomes. The blood gets thicker and prevents heat emission to surrounding, which leads to a rise in body core temperature and heart rate. Headaches, fatigue and concentration troubles are common consequences of dehydration – the muscle cells can’t get provided with enough oxygen and nutrients.

Especially when it comes to hydration during exercise, fluid has to be replaced. But choosing exclusively water rather has negative effects. A popular medium are sports beverages. You can part them into three types:

Firstly, there are hypotonic drinks: their particle concentration is lower than in the blood. Then there are isotonic drinks, which have the same concentration as blood and lastly there are hypertonic drinks, which got a higher concentration than the blood. The disadvantage of those is, that they withdraw fluid from the body first to dilute the concentration with the intestine content and get into the blood afterwards in the isotonic state.

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