Sip on water, quench thirst, and boost brains

Water is the elixir of life, sip on it! Low levels of water in the body may lead to a lack of brain power. The researchers affirm that even a mild amount of dehydration in the body may lead to a fall in the performance of the brain. So drink plain water for a boosted mental performance!

Necessity of water

It is always advised to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily though the water requirements for dietary purposes depend on the metabolic factors, the exercise schedule, sun exposure, and the body size of the individual.

CDC in the USA says that lesser than 4 cups of water in a day will be takes as lower water intake. This “not drinking sufficient water” doesn’t end up causing dehydration in a person but there are some subtle changes that do take place in the body.

The research study

Researchers led by Dr. Caroline Edmonds in the UK roped in 34 subjects for an experiment. The people were asked to stay away from drinks and food for one night. They were then made to undergo a computerized assessment made with a CANTAB battery.

This test is used to measure verbal skills, various mental abilities, learning and visual acuity. The test was done purely to prove that even a little amount of dehydration in the body can affect the brain’s performance negatively.

People taking the test had to mark their thirst levels on a scale of 1 to 10. The participants who consumed 3 cups of water just before taking the cognitive test battery showed that their reaction time was better as compared to those who had not had water. The participants were given a button that they had to press when they observed an object that flashed on the computer screen.

Implications of the study

Research say maybe a feeling of thirst had succeeded in dividing the attention and the task given in the test measured less reaction time. Indirectly quenching thirst resulted in “freeing up of attentional resources”. Thus rapid response and mental reflexes showed an improvement of almost 14%, by drinking water before the test.

Edmonds, says “It might be that physiological processes [of drinking or not drinking water] affect performance on different tasks in different ways.” Vasopressin hormone produces the thirst response in people is also responsible for arousal and attention so this maybe the reason why “Thirst might lead to better performance on some tasks,” say the researchers.

The result was opposite in the test of rule learning. A thirsty person performed better in this test. The researchers said that this will help in detailed study of why water consumption benefits in some cases and has negative effects in other cases.

Drinking Water does not show a significant boost up in memory of words speculated the researchers. But before you go on splurging water into yourself remember that an excess of water can dilute the sodium levels in the blood.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.