If you’re feeling off and can’t quite pin the tail on why, the answer can be found right at the bottom of your glass. Particularly in the summer months, dehydration is nothing to discount. The human body is roughly 60% water, so the lack thereof will surely leave you feeling more than just thirsty. These signs are surefire ways to determine whether you’re low on H2O.
Yes, you read this right. Saliva contains bacteria-fighting properties. When you are dehydrated, your saliva levels decline and, as such, so does its ability to clear out any bad bacilli simmering about. So if your breath starts to serve unfamiliar smells, take stock of your daily water intake.
You’re still hungry (even after eating)
This is tied directly to your liver. Since it needs adequate water levels to function, your liver sends “fuel” signals up to your brain when it is feeling underwhelmed. Often times, your mainframe will confuse hunger for thirst. Enter: second lunch or late night snack. To curb the cravings, make sure to always have water handy. This will allow you to properly decipher whether that inkling is a raving appetite or just an empty tank.
You fail the turgor test
Have you ever tried the pinch test? This is intended to test skin turgor, a sign of fluid loss. When quickly pinched and released, the skin of a sufficiently hydrated person will snap back into normal position immediately, while the skin of a dehydrated person will remain “tented”, or raised. This could be a good indication you’re dehydrated. To be sure, contact your trusted health care practitioner.
Your urine is off the (colour) charts
If you’re really uncertain whether you’re drinking enough water, one no-fail flag is your urine colour. Since dehydration occurs when your volumes are low, our kidneys, responsible for filtering waste, order our bodies to retain water. This means we excrete less, causing urine to become less clear and more orange. Urine colour should range from faint yellow to dark orange, so if it reaches the latter, consider it an “orange” flag.
Dehydration has significant effects on the brain. Being dehydrated can leave you feeling less like than yourself. Recent studies measured the hydration levels of 25 women to determine its effects on mood and cognition. The technicians administering the study provided the participants with the exact amount of water necessary to replace fluids lost during exercise. Conversely, they provided the participants with a little under what was needed after exercise. On the third day, women exercised but took a diuretic and did not receive sufficient hydration. The result? Despite not being cognizant of how much or little they had ingested, participants showed higher incidences of moodiness when they fell under the hydration levels.
If you’re not sure how to keep your levels afloat, try any one of these simple steps to stay hydrated here
- U., & Zieve, D., MD. (2016, January 10). Skin turgor: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (L. J. Vorvick MD, Ed.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003281.htm
- Schmidt-Nielsen, K., Crawford, E., Newsome, A.E., Rawson, K., & Hammel, H.T. (1967). Metabolic rate of camels: effect of body temperature and dehydration. The American journal of physiology, 212 2, 341-6.
- Fayomi, O., Maconochie, I., & Body, R. (2007, February). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658191/
- Poitras, C. (2012, February 24). Even Mild Dehydration Can Alter Mood. Retrieved from https://today.uconn.edu/2012/02/even-mild-dehydration-can-alter-mood/
- Williams, S. C. (2012, January 20). Mild Dehydration Triggers Moodiness & Fatigue in Women. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/36106-mild-dehydration-triggers-moodiness-fatigue-women.html