How Proper Hydration Can Improve Your Brain Health
A remarkable finding in the lab by our parent company, The BioCollective, prompted our founder Martha to research the link between hydration and overall brain health. What she found reinforced the importance of drinking plenty of fluids everyday!
In digging a little deeper, Martha learned about something called aquaporins. Aquaporins are water channels in the membranes of cells that conduct water molecules through the membrane. Aquaporin 1 was first discovered in 1988. Since that time, many more aquaporins have been discovered and connected to important functions in health and disease, including Parkinson’s. The 2003 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for the discovery of Aquaporins.
Dehydration is common in Parkinson’s. If you’re chronically dehydrated, your cells lose their ability to absorb large amounts of water. Then the water you drink goes to the intestine rather than transferring nutrients to your cells.
There are other areas we can see a link between hydration and overall brain health. Alzheimer’s disease research has shown that dehydration can impair cognitive function. It can also affect your mental health, contributing to potential anxiety and depression.
Whether you’re looking for ways to enhance your cognitive function, improve your mood, concentrate more effectively, or you’re living with a disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, your hydration levels are worth reflecting on. All of our cells, including the ones in our brain, need water to carry out their functions
It’s important to note that the answer isn’t always drinking more water, because that can lead to electrolyte imbalance. You have to help your body absorb it. Dehydration is an imbalance of water and minerals. Too much water and not enough minerals is just as bad, or worse, than not enough water. That said, when looking to replace electrolytes you should avoid sports drinks like Gatorade that contain a lot of sugars.
A few ways to avoid dehydration:
- Drink plenty of fluids – 64 oz., or 8 - 8oz glasses of water a day
- Filter your water (what filtration you use) - Aquaviva Vesta H2 (installed), Berkey (countertop) or Britta (pitcher)
- Balance your mineral and salt levels
- Avoid carbonated drinks as the feeling of fullness they cause may result in less consumption of water
- Learn to recognize thirst, people often mistake thirst for hunger
- Look for electrolyte replacement drinks that are not loaded with sugars and provide a balance mineral profile: Martha’s husband John, who has Parkinson’s, likes Skratch Labs
Another promising thing to note about aquaporins (the water channels in the membranes of cells) is that researchers from Nagoya, Japan and Denver, Colorado, showed that mannitol stimulates the expression of AQP4. And our Sugar Shift probiotic was developed to produce mannitol in the gut! We hope to study this specific mechanism in Sugar Shift, but it's possible that we'll see an increase in the expression of these vital water channels.
Remember, us humans are 70% water, and water contributes to better neurological function. We can all drink to that!