Water is indeed an essential component of our life and an adult human body is fully composed of water. Dehydration can have adverse impacts on our human body. Mostly in the winter season, we drink less water than the required. However, less intake of water can lead to dehydration and consequently, can create problems in the body such as headaches, fatigue and so on. Likewise, dehydration can also affect cognitive function.
Similarly, active youngsters, especially fitness freaks, require a sufficient amount of water, and dehydration can distress their learning and other mental and physical activities. According to the studies, dehydration can trigger cognitive function more in older adults as well. It is considered that older people are more vulnerable to the consequences of dehydration.
Cognition refers to the procedure of seeking information and understanding through experiences, senses, and thoughts. Hydration levels can trigger cognitive behavior in older people.
Hillary Bethancourt, Ph.D., from Pennsylvania State University College of Health, states, “As we age, our water reserves decline due to reductions in muscle mass, our kidneys become less effective at retaining water, and hormonal signals that trigger thirst and motivate water intake become blunted.”
Research says that older people are more prone to cognitive impairment. Bethancourt and his fellows have conducted a study on this topic. The study is published in the European Journal of Nutrition. They felt it important to see the connection between hydration status and cognitive performance among older adults.
The researchers have conducted studies of 2,506 participants, both men, and women aged 60 and over. The survey was collected in 2011-2014 by the Nutrition and Health Examination Survey. All the participants informed the researchers about what they did and what they intake throughout the day. They also gave blood samples.
The investigators checked different compounds and substances such as sodium, glucose, potassium, and urea nitrogen to check hydration levels. The participants also attempted cognitive function experiments such as tasks aimed to assess verbal recall and fluency. And exercises that checked the working memory.
Bethancourt said, “Once we accounted for age, education, hours of sleep, physical activity level, and diabetes status and analyzed the data separately for men and women, the associations with hydration status a water intake were diminished,”
The researchers got to know poor cognitive performance when they were hydrated. The same applied when they were overhydrated. Although the researchers could not exactly find whether nonideal hydration levels have caused worse cognitive performance. The experiments slightly indicate that dehydration can impact cognitive behavior. However, the exact connection between hydration levels and cognitive responses in older men is not fully found yet.
Professor Asher Rosinger says, “Because older adults may not necessarily feel thirsty when their body is reaching a state of underhydration and maybe taking diuretics that can increase salt excretion, it is important for older adults and their physicians to better understand the symptoms of being both under and overhydrated”.