The effects of dehydration, moderate alcohol consumption, and rehydration on cognitive functions

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of water to the body. Having the right balance of fluid in your system is essential for your body to carry out basic functions. Vitamin B12 helps increase your energy level and will help your body to function and recover properly from a night on the town. For proper hydration, we need both replenishment does alcohol dehydrate you of fluids plus important electrolytes and vitamins. Keep in mind that to offset the low water content and high ABV of liquor, you can opt for a mixed drink with seltzer water. A special fluid in the ear’s vestibular system called endolymph also reacts adversely to alcohol, thinning when it’s introduced to the substance.

  • A 12-oz beer with 5 percent ABV is going to be far less dehydrating than the same size beer with 12 percent ABV, for instance.
  • Alternating alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic beverages can also help maintain hydration levels.
  • Therefore, taking your time after a night out to rehydrate over a few hours is by far the best approach.
  • It is easy to enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cold beer, but sometimes we can enjoy these adult beverages a little too much.
  • Keep in mind that to offset the low water content and high ABV of liquor, you can opt for a mixed drink with seltzer water.
  • For example, if you identify as a “lightweight”, it means your body has a harder time processing alcohol and is more prone to dehydration when drinking.

Contrary to popular belief, alternating alcoholic drinks and water will not help you avoid dehydration. But you can certainly ensure you are as hydrated as possible before consuming alcohol. You can also drink water before you go to bed to help replenish hydration levels. Understanding how consuming alcohol leads to increased urination requires an understanding of ADH. ADH stands for antidiuretic hormone (also known as vasopressin). When the human body senses it is getting dehydrated, the pituitary gland produces ADH to reduce urination.

Surprising research on alcohol and dehydration

The best way to ensure proper hydration is to drink plenty of water. Everyone’s body works a little differently, meaning alcohol dehydrates some people quicker than others. This depends on several factors, including age, weight, and your genes.

What are the symptoms of dehydration from alcohol?

As a result, alcohol increases urination and excess loss of fluids. The mild dehydration that results likely contributes to hangover symptoms such as thirst, fatigue, and a headache.

Dehydration can also increase the effects of alcohol, including confusion, dizziness, loss of balance and blurred vision. Research has not found a correlation between the extent of electrolyte disruptions and the severity of hangovers, or the impact of added electrolytes on hangover severity. In most people, the body will quickly restore electrolyte balance once the effects of alcohol subside. Pure alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (g), which makes it the second most calorie-dense macronutrient (just behind fat).

Is it better to hydrate before or after drinking?

Sugary and caffeinated drinks can have diuretic effects similar to alcohol, leading to further dehydration. So don’t mix your alcohol with these or drink them between alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can increase urine production, which can lead to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it tries to conserve water by producing less urine. However, alcohol can interfere with this process and cause the body to produce more urine than it needs to (breaking the seal). This can lead to dehydration and further electrolyte imbalances.

Again, alcohol acts as a diuretic and tends to dehydrate, so hydrating with plenty of water should balance out your equilibrium a little better, making your hangover pack less of a punch. Before your head hits the pillow, rehydrate your body by consuming water. Drink at least one to two glasses of water before going to bed after a day of drinking to prevent (or lessen) a hangover the following morning. Also keep in mind you can get part of your daily water needs from some of the foods you eat. In the United States it is estimated that about 22% of water comes from our food. Eat water-rich foods, like cucumbers (which are about 95% water) and watermelon (which is about 90% water).

How to Avoid Alcohol Dehydration

A good rule of thumb is to drink a large glass of water (about 16 ounces) for every drink you have. This will help replenish the water in your body as it’s being drawn out by the alcohol. Grab a buddy to hydrate between drinks with you or do your best to stay accountable while you’re out. Chase them with water to give yourself an extra dose of hydration! Finally, keep a tall glass or bottle of water on your nightstand to make sure you get some water before you go to bed. Ending the night dehydrated from alcohol and proceeding to sleep for hours without water is a recipe for disaster.

How much alcohol does it take to dehydrate you?

Studies reveal that adult men and women should drink no more than four standard drinks on any one occasion. Above that is considered excess. If you drink six to 10 standard drinks, this could lead to 600–1,000 mL of lost fluids, causing dehydration.

But if you insist on having a drink or two, there are things you can do to mitigate the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Remember that list of things that makes alcohol-related dehydration worse? Other lifestyle factors, such as exercise, climate, and medication use, can also impact alcohol’s dehydrating effects. The frequency and duration of drinking can also impact the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

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