Most of us have heard time and time again that we need to stay hydrated to help our bodies run properly. Water is an essential part of our health, especially considering that our bodies are comprised of about 60% water. When we let our water supply get too low, the effects can be far-reaching. Dehydration upsets the body’s natural balance and can affect our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Researchers have linked dehydration to mood swings, tiredness, headaches, and fatigue. Also, dehydration contributes to depression, impedes the brain’s serotonin production, increases stress in the body, and can also lead to panic attacks. When the body becomes dehydrated, this affects the brain by slowing circulation, starving our brain of oxygen which alters how we think and makes the brain’s essential functions more difficult.
In 2018, a study was published in the World Journal of Psychiatry which concluded that better hydration impacts your mental health. From their sample, the researchers found that drinking five or more glasses of plain water a day was associated with a lower risk of depression. For participants who drank two glasses of water or less daily, they had an increased risk for depression.
Depression is a complex mental illness that has many intricacies between brain and body. When it comes to dehydration, this is not direct causation of depression, but it is a causal factor. Here are three known ways that dehydration leads to depression:
- Dehydration impedes energy production in your brain. The result is inefficiency in brain functions which lead to mood disorders.
- Serotonin production is affected which is a critical neurotransmitter with regards to mood. Dehydration also negatively impacts other amino acids which can lead to feelings of anxiety and irritability.
- Dehydration is a major cause of stress in your body to the point where it is a self-perpetuating cycle: dehydration can cause stress and stress can cause dehydration.
Knowing how much water to drink can be tricky as the amount varies by individual and environmental factors. A good rule of thumb though is not to wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water. Try drinking plenty of water throughout the day and between meals. Water can also be found in the foods that we eat. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, watermelon, and tomatoes contain high amounts of water. IV hydration therapy is another option as well in which fluids and nutrients are delivered directly into the bloodstream for fast absorption.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, or are interested in learning more about IV hydration, request an appointment with your local Alleviant Health Centers clinic. Don’t wait, our integrated model of care can help you begin healing today.