Why is staying hydrated important?
Water is undeniably a vital element both for life on our planet and for our own bodies. About 60% of our body weight is water, this value varies depending on sex, age, and hydration levels (1). Most of the water in our bodies is present in the brain and kidneys, with the bones and teeth having the least amount of water (2).
Maintaining adequate water intake is crucial for our overall health, as water serves several essential functions within our bodies. For example, it helps regulate body temperature (3), which is especially important on hot days. Water also lubricates and cushions our joints (4), aids in digestion (5), and helps prevent constipation (6). Additionally, water assists in waste elimination through bowel movements, urination, and perspiration (7).
When we fail to consume enough water, we can become dehydrated, a condition where our body loses more water than it’s consumed (8). Dehydration is a common problem that can affect individuals of all ages, depending on factors like climate, lifestyle and air temperature1. Some symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, fatigue, confusion, and a rapid heartbeat (9). Ensuring adequate water intake is essential for maintaining our health and well-being. Staying hydrated is especially important for those who work an active job or exercise and play sports regularly!
What are electrolytes and why are they important?
Electrolytes play a key role in maintaining proper hydration, as they are minerals that can dissolve in water (they carry positive or negative charges) and are instrumental in performing essential functions within our bodies. Some of these vital roles include (10):
- Balancing the body's water levels both inside and outside of cells.
- Regulating the body's acidity by maintaining optimal pH levels.
- Facilitating the movement of nutrients into and out of cells.
- Assisting in the transportation of waste materials into and out of cells.
- Enabling proper functioning of nerves, muscles, heart, and brain by conducting electrical charges effectively.
How do electrolytes help with hydration?
The balance of water inside and outside our cells is influenced by the levels of electrolytes, particularly potassium and sodium, in each cellular compartment. Typically, there is an equilibrium of these electrolytes on both sides of the cells. However, any imbalances, such as higher levels of sodium or potassium, can disrupt this balance, affecting water distribution (10).
To maintain electrolyte equilibrium and avoid an electrolyte imbalance water will move from the side with lower electrolyte levels to the side with higher levels. This process can lead to cells shrinking if water moves out of them or swelling and bursting if water enters excessively. Maintaining the right amount of water is vital for our overall health.
When cells shrink due to water loss, it signals the body to initiate programmed cell death, a natural process to eliminate damaged cells (11). Excessive cell death can lead to organ dysfunction. On the other hand, if cells swell up and burst, the contents leak out, triggering an immune response to the presence of these released molecules, potentially causing inflammation (12). If the dead tissue is not properly eliminated, it can accumulate and lead to conditions like gangrene, resulting in tissue death. Maintaining proper hydration is clearly essential for overall health and well-being! Our bodies depend on water for countless vital processes: making a conscious effort to stay hydrated ensures we can lead healthier and more active lives.
Herbaland Electrolyte Gummies
Herbaland offers Electrolyte Gummies that can help contribute to your daily dose of essential electrolytes. These gummies are conveniently packed in a 50 g pouch and contain a well-balanced blend of electrolytes. Research indicates that people tend to lose significant amounts of sodium and potassium through sweating (13), which is why this product has higher levels of these two electrolytes (compared to magnesium and calcium). For optimal hydration benefits, we recommend consuming these gummies with water.
- Jéquier, E. & Constant, F. Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 64, 115–123 (2010).
- Mitchell, H. H., Hamilton, T. S., Steggerda, F. R. & Bean, H. W. The Chemical Composition of the Human Body and its Bearing on the Biochemistry of Growth. J. Biol. Chem. 158, 625–637 (1945).
- Sawka, M. N., Latzka, W. A., Matott, R. P. & Montain, S. J. Hydration Effects on Temperature Regulation. Int. J. Sports Med. 19, S108–S110 (1998).
- Göçerler, H. et al. The dominance of water on lubrication properties of articular joints. Ind. Lubr. Tribol. 72, 31–37 (2019).
- Boland, M. Human digestion – a processing perspective. J. Sci. Food Agric. 96, 2275–2283 (2016).
- Bellini, M. et al. Chronic Constipation: Is a Nutritional Approach Reasonable? Nutrients 13, 3386 (2021).
- Häussinger, D. The role of cellular hydration in the regulation of cell function. Biochem. J. 313 ( Pt 3), 697–710 (1996).
- Cheuvront, S. N. & Kenefick, R. W. Dehydration: Physiology, Assessment, and Performance Effects. in Comprehensive Physiology 257–285 (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2014). doi:10.1002/cphy.c130017.
- Collins, M. & Claros, E. Recognizing the face of dehydration. Nursing (Lond.) 41, 26 (2011).
- Lobo, D. N. Fluid, electrolytes and nutrition: physiological and clinical aspects. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 63, 453–466 (2004).
- Bortner, C. D. & Cidlowski, J. A. Cell Shrinkage and Monovalent Cation Fluxes. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 462, 176–188 (2007).
- Rock, K. L., Lai, J.-J. & Kono, H. Innate and adaptive immune responses to cell death. Immunol. Rev. 243, 191–205 (2011).
- Mao, I., Chen, M.-L. & Ko, Y.-C. Electrolyte Loss in Sweat and Iodine Deficiency in a Hot Environment. Arch. Environ. Health Int. J. 56, 271–277 (2001).
Dr Katia Caballero, Herbaland R&D
My name is Dr. Katia Caballero, I have a PhD in Human Nutrition and experience in the fields of food science, biotechnology, and clinical nutrition. I currently work at Herbaland Naturals as a Research and Development Technician, looking to find new and innovative ways to make gummies healthy, nutritious, and fun.