Water and Brain Function

Water and Brain Function

The Brain Needs Water to Function Optimally

Water is integral for the brain to function optimally. Dehydration and lack of enough water for the brain can cause undesirable symptoms such as Lack of focus; Memory issues; Fatigue; Brain fog; Headaches; Insomnia; Dull dry skin; Pronounced wrinkles; Muscle cramps; Constipation; Sugar cravings; Infrequent urination; Bad breath and more.

The body is made up of 70% water and is necessary for organs to function properly especially the brain and nervous system.  A well-balanced amount of water and salt is necessary for the body to operate as well. If you’re thirsty and reach for a soda, coffee, and tea, they don’t count as beneficial fluids because they’re too acidic.

All of the organs in the body rely on water to help them function as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, the importance of water is explained in the Nutrition and Healthy Living article. Water does the following: moistens the mouth, eyes, and nose; protects the body organs, tissues, and assists in digestive functions; helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them available to the body.

Adequate water intake also helps temperature regulation in the body and lubricates joints. The burden on the liver and kidneys is alleviated as waste products are flushed out. Most of all, water carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells. When all of the organs are functioning properly as a result of hydration, it helps the body work better as a whole.

If you’re on an alkalizing diet, drinking plenty of water every day actually makes the diet work better. If you’re on a cleanse it’s equally important to drink plenty of water to rid the whole body of toxins.

A UK study and a research article on water and brain health published on July 16, 2013, by Caroline J. Edmonds, Rosanna Crombie, and Mark R. Gardner called “Subjective thirst moderates changes in speed of responding associated consumption alleges that water consumption can help cognitive performance.

Adults discovered during testing that dehydration caused more fatigue and anxiousness. Individuals experienced improved performance on rapid visual information processing tasks by drinking water but only in those individuals who rated themselves as thirsty before drinking the water; if participants had low thirst initially, consuming water resulted in poorer performance. The conclusion of the study revealed that water consumption to have contrasting effects on different cognitive processes. Here is a concluding paragraph of the study:

Water consumption was found both to impair set-shifting performance, and to facilitate speed of responding, but in a manner that was dependent upon subjective thirst. More specifically, water consumption appeared to have a corrective effect on the response times for thirsty individuals, bringing their speed of responding up to the level of non-thirsty individuals. This moderating effect of subjective thirst occurred despite participants being asked to abstain from consuming fluids overnight, with the aim of ensuring that all participants arrived at the laboratory with a degree of mild voluntary dehydration. These results are consistent with the facilitative effects of water consumption arising from the freeing up of attentional resources that were otherwise occupied with processing the sensations of thirst. Practice effects also influenced performance, but there was an effect of water supplementation over and above the effects of practice. Further work should examine how this is mediated by thirst mechanisms, as well as determining why water consumption can have negative as well as positive effects on cognitive performance.

The brain is 85% water so having it function optimally depends on the intake of a balanced amount of water for your size while taking into consideration your activities and how much fluid is expelled. Just as important as how much water is ingested, is the quality of water.

Since the brain has no way of storing water, it is easy to become dehydrated if the elimination of water occurs throughout the day. Water also supplies energy, so the brain needs an adequate amount of water to benefit the nervous system. The brain will function better when a body is well hydrated and it also boosts creativity.



Mayo Clinic
Nutrition and Healthy Living


Subjective thirst moderates changes in speed of responding associated with water consumption


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