The Basics of Hydration and Metabolism
Our bodies, indeed, have several processes vital to our overall health and appearance. Two of these most familiar processes are Hydration and Metabolism. Through the years, there have been several research analyses about these processes. Moreover, there have been studies which have tried to establish and effectively define the correlation between these two. If you are aiming for good health, or if you’re looking for ways to slim down, you may have heard that getting hydrated is key for either, or both of these to happen. What exactly are Hydration and Metabolism? Do they have anything to do with each other? Let’s find out.
Hydration and Metabolism: What exactly are they?
Hydration is one of the most important processes in your body, simply because it is essential to survival. Every single part of our bodies, specifically the tissues, cells, and organs need water to function properly. (1) It is the act of hydrating your body through the intake of fluids, primarily water. Some foods contribute to hydration as well, but your main source are the fluids one consumes throughout the day. Water delivers nutrients to cells and helps remove toxins and metabolic waste from the cells as well.
Metabolism, on the other hand, refers to the chemical reactions that take place in our body to maintain our living state. These chemical reactions include Anabolism and Catabolism. Anabolism is a series of chemical reactions that break down complex molecules into smaller units and allows the body to produce new cells and maintain all its tissues. Catabolism is the breaking down of molecules, usually from food, and releasing it for energy. This is what provides our body with the energy it needs for physical movement. Anabolism and Catabolism are fascinating chemical reactions that keep our body running and understanding their function motivates us to keep hydrating and ensure that these processes are functioning properly! (2)
Catabolic reactions break down food and turn it into energy. These reactions break down substances such as starches and proteins and turn them into glucose. This energy is used for physical activity and anabolic functions.
Anabolism refers to the energy our body uses up and affects many very important hormones within the human body. These hormones often directly impact weight, reproduction and even bone mass. Hormones like Growth Hormone, Insulin, Testosterone, and Estrogen are all affected by Anabolism. It uses the energy created by Catabolism for synthesizing hormones, sugars and other important substances for tissue repair, reproduction, and cell growth.
How does hydration affect metabolism?
Cellular hydration is necessary for the body to function optimally. The body’s ability to create and burn energy is diminished when hydration is diminished. Increasing cell hydration allows cells to restore glucose transport across the cell membrane as well as to increase their sensitivity to insulin. (3) Increased sensitivity to insulin improves the body’s ability to lose weight. It has been shown that cell dehydration decreases insulin-induced glucose uptake. (4) Thus, cell hydration should have the opposite effect and enhance insulin-induced glucose uptake as well as normal metabolic function. When a cell shrinks due to dehydration the body is signaled to slow down the process of metabolism and burn fewer calories.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
When you lose more fluids than you take in and the body does not have enough fluids to perform its normal processes dehydration occurs. Fluids are released from our bodies through sweating, urine, defecation, as well as through breathing and it’s important to replace those fluids. In less severe cases of dehydration, symptoms include fatigue, headaches, and obviously, thirst. In more severe instances, dehydration could cause chills, low blood pressure, delirium, paleness, and a rapid heart rate. Mild cases of dehydration can often be quickly resolved by consuming more water but a more severe case should receive medical treatment.
The most obvious means for you to improve your hydration would be increase your intake of water. Drinking water is very important and so is absorbing it. There are other elements that help support hydration that are important to consider. Consuming water without balancing it with adequate salt and potassium will not improve dehydration. It is important to note here that when I say salt I am referring to unrefined, natural salt. Iodized salt is not what the body is looking for when we are referring to improving hydration. Natural, unrefined salt has mineral content that supports your cells by holding on to water.
Apart from drinking water, one of the means for you to improve hydration would be to eat foods with a high water content, such as cucumber, celery or even watermelon. Potassium helps cells retain water and including potassium-rich foods can help with hydration. Foods like avocado, spinach, wild-caught salmon and acorn squash are great to include in your diet.
Finding the right balance between water, unrefined natural salt and potassium for optimal hydration can be tricky. Quantities may vary depending on the climate you live in and the amount of exercise and sweating you do.
How Much Water Should You Consume?
The Food and Nutrition Board released recommendations for water consumption. The general recommendation is that 91 ounces of water should be taken by women, and 125 ounces for men. Factors that may affect that amount include the size of the individual, the climate they live in and their level of physical activity. (5) Another general amount you will often hear recommended is half your body weight in ounces. Let your body be your guide. Assess how you feel, your level of thirst as well as your urine. If your urine is dark and infrequent your body is telling you to increase hydration. On the opposite side of that, if your urine is clear you may be drinking too much water or not getting in enough minerals to retain it.
Get Hydration Improved to Rev Up Your Metabolism
Keep cells well hydrated to support all of the body’s important functions, especially metabolism. Well, hydrated cells are going to help your body absorb important nutrients, manufacture energy, produce hormones to support weight loss and remove toxins from your body. Depending on your lifestyle, your next step may vary from others. Focus on improved water intake and minerals. Your body is designed to function optimally and we are responsible for feeding and fueling it properly. If you struggle with finding a healthy balance with hydration and metabolism and would like more information, contact our office to learn more about our programs designed to support you in both of these areas. For more information about hydration and metabolism call Custom Health Centers today at 844-789-8446 or schedule a FREE consultation.
Medically reviewed and written by:
Dr. Jason Olafsson