Water and Brain Function

Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked. Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more.

Over 70 percent of your body is composed of water and every function in the body is dependent on water, including the activities of the brain and nervous system.


The average person in the U.S. drinks less than a quart (32 ounces) of water a day.

Yet according to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 80 ounces of water every day through sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes.

If you are drinking less than 80 ounces of water a day, what is the impact on your brain function?

Water and Brain Energy

The brain is one of the most important organs in your body to keep fueled. It is approximately 85 percent water and brain function depends on having abundant access to water.

Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.

According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.

Water is also needed for the brain’s production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Nerve transmission requires one-half of all the brain’s energy.

When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity.

Daily hydration will not only help with better thinking, it can help prevent attention deficit disorder in children and adults.

The reason why it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day for optimal brain function is because your brain does not have any way to store water.

When your body loses more water than you are replacing, dehydration will kick in and brain function will be affected.


Water and Brain Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration causes your brain to shut down and not run at full speed. Some of the mental symptoms of dehydration include brain fog, afternoon fatigue, focus issues, depression, anger, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, sleep issues, stress, and a lack of mental clarity and acuity.

Studies have shown that if you are only 1 percent dehydrated, you will likely have a 5 percent decrease in cognitive function.

If your brain drops 2 percent in body water, you may suffer from fuzzy short-term memory, experience problems with focusing, and have trouble with math computations.

Further studies have shown that prolonged dehydration causes brain cells to shrink in size and mass. This is most common in the elderly, many of whom tend to be chronically dehydrated for years.

Dehydration is also a known factor in dementia and proper hydration may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Water is also essential for delivering nutrients to the brain and for removing toxins. When the brain is fully hydrated, the exchange of nutrients and toxins will be more efficient—thus ensuring better concentration and mental alertness.

Water and Brain Challenges

Dr. Allen has found that people with brain challenges such as Autism, Aspergers, ADD, head injuries, anxiety attacks and depression often drink almost no water each day! The lack of water only enhances brain dysfunction.

Brain inflammation is often associated with various types of brain challenges, especially injuries, and will often result in the body’s inability to detoxify harmful substances from the brain.

When the body is dehydrated, the detoxification problem linked to inflammation is exacerbated.

Free radicals such as radiation, pollutants, chemicals, pesticides, and toxic metals pass freely through the brain’s blood supply. To stop the many sources of free radicals attacking the brain and causing brain inflammation, a strong antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory agent is needed.

Recommendations for Water and Brain Function

Water provides essential energy to the brain, keeps the nerve signals going, delivers nutrients to the brain, and removes toxins. We need to be drinking enough water daily to keep the brain fueled and energized for optimum function.

To start your day off right for optimal brain function, I recommend drinking 12 to 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up.

Always keep a bottle of filtered water near you throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of mental activity. Drinking water regularly will help to keep your brain fueled, oxygenated, and energized.

Many people think, like I used to, that they can drink soda, coffee, milk, or juice instead of water and get the same level of hydration. This is simply not true.

Bottom line, if you want your brain to function well, receiving and sending signals to the rest of your body, make sure it receives the water it needs.

In addition, the type of water you drink is extremely important. We recommend filtered drinking water over tap, bottled, distilled, or reverse osmosis water.

by Merlin Hearn and Nancy Hearn

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9 thoughts on “Water and Brain Function

  1. funny then how the brain gives priority to the stomach . . though even that is light years behind how the air we breathe, affects the brain instantly
    give how long we can live without water and food in turn . . .ought be a show of relative importance. . . then again, water and air is same substance is it not. ? or composition

    1. Well, it doesn’t really give priority, what it does is control appetite and thirsts, my brain tells me when to drink and if our fluids are restricted, it becomes quite insistent. We progressively become more obsessed with drinking until we think of nothing else. Then, have you ever tried to stop breathing.
      I just wonder about articles like this, our brain already tells us when to drink and it seems to underestimate our own natural resources.
      There are so many people wandering around with plastic bottles, with the obligatory sports cap, its a multi-million dollar industry that’s only existed for the last decade, I’m sure people used to drink before then. I just see these things as another, well thought out con trick, we seem to get new ones every week, but they are not really about health, they are about profit.

          1. Renessa Bak well yes, the brain has a major role in controlling our internal state, it not only reads our body it takes actions. Even before we feel thirsty the brain has already instructed the kidneys to cut down on water loss. We even experience appetites in different ways, thirst for example is experienced in the mouth usually, but it also controls our thinking, when we are dehydrated we even dream about water and taste rewards are heightened.

          2. are you sure it isn’t the kidneys informing the brain? doesn’t every cell have a brain? could a cell function if it didn’t have brains in every aspect of its being?
            did the brain instruct the kidneys to cut down on water loss, or that a natural result of not having it to pass on. . or the cells holding onto it?
            as to what controls our thinking? that too, is a whole body operation, I’ve have literally felt words leap from my chest ,
            the buoyancy of cells yes, is dependent on both water and air. . .
            why wouldn’t we dream of water . . the universe plant its wants, wishes and grandest visions in our mind, of in our sleep for us to wake up to. .
            no resistance to the cosmic energies flowing through us work their magic without our continuous interruptions . . . .
            IN fact, all humanity is about are the product of thoughts which came to some one’s mind. . . we each are a body of memories. . by the time a breath of air travels through all the nooks and crannies of the cells

            and because the earth beneath our feet differs every where on earth . as the galatic energies ground and radiate from earth’s mineral mantle.. our bodies replicate its particular energies , which is also carried through the generations of our ancestry and by the time all those rivulets of consciousness traveling through us have it all come out in the differences of our native tongues, looks, talents, cultures and music . . .and like the kids in a family we are all different from one another .

  2. Luckily most peoples brains are contained within a body and this body has a variety of complex systems to maintain a constant internal environment. The brain is also a privileged organ, its needs take priority over most other organs. That’s a good picture they used as it shows considerable damage but its usually employed to show the damage of alcohol but I suspect its nothing to do with that either. Its just another advert for a fashionable health fad that gets people to pay inflated prices for bottled tap water.

  3. headache missed the list? really and i heard it was the water you drink when you pop a pill, that eases the head ache. .

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