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The truth about hydration and health, performance, muscle mass.

Bodybuilders do NOT need extra water!

The truth about hydration and health, performance, muscle mass.

The basic belief among bodybuilders, athletes and those who take care of their health in particular, is that if you drink more water (practically a supplement with water) you are healthier, you have brighter skin, clearer mind and even greater muscle growth. For this they will drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, often with a bottle of water wherever they go.

Bodybuilders are a special case, being almost religious with water consumption, believing that extra water will bring enormous benefits. It's just that these beliefs of theirs aren't really true.

What bodybuilders think makes extra water
There are many articles on bodybuilding sites about the benefits of water consumption. I also wrote a lot (a lot about the importance of hydration, not necessarily the consumption of as much water as possible).

The reasons why I support the consumption of so much water range from some ridiculous to some less ridiculous. Some support water consumption because ... it hydrates you! Seriously ... it's like saying it's good to breathe because it oxygenates you! No shit!

Other reasons are that water "eliminates toxins", "helps protein synthesis" and "gives you flexible joints".

I will not waste time listing everything. The simple truth is that you do not need extra water because you are a bodybuilder, athlete or you want to be as healthy as possible. And you don't have to count how many glasses of water you drink a day.

To understand human needs for water we need to look at the kidneys! They are seen as a body scrubber, but they do so much more than that. Their role is to fine-tune the balance between fluids and chemicals in the body. Many things upset this balance, such as ambient heat, exercise, food and of course water intake.

The kidneys contain millions of special structures called nephrons that monitor this balance and regulate it permanently, reacting instantly to changes in sodium, glucose, amino acids and water levels.

If you do sports and sweat, the kidneys notice that the blood becomes saltier (more concentrated), and compensates by a greater absorption of water from the urine and sends it into the blood. When the kidneys can no longer absorb water from the urine, they send you a strong thirst signal.

And what remains of the physiological processes in the body, metabolites that are not needed. are sent to the bladder to be excreted in the urine. Because the kidneys are so adapted to maintaining homeostasis, no extra water is needed. Drinking more water than you need does not help the kidneys to function better.

So how much water should I drink?
The 8 glasses of water a day recommended by all come from a study from 1945! At that time, people still thought that asbestos was an ideal material to put in the walls of houses and that you would lose weight if you tied yourself to a vibrating belt (ok, ok ... there are still some who still believe this!).

In fact, the study recommends 10 glasses of water a day, two of which seem to have been lost in the mists of time, just as another remark of the study was lost: "much of this water is found in prepared foods."

If you want to be precise about the amount of water, it seems that men need 3 liters of water a day, a combination of food and drinking water, while women need 2.2 liters.

The exact amounts vary depending on the ambient temperature and exercise, but drinking more than necessary does not bring additional benefits.

If you are old and your kidneys have lost their ability to properly regulate homeostasis, then thirst is the best indicator of water needs, not the number of glasses. This is pale or transparent urine. You can drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up, but this has benefits in terms of digestion and absorption of nutrients, not related to a specific consumption of water.

As a funny note, it seems that water poisoning is a problem that occurs more often than severe dehydration. When you drink too much water, the balance of sodium in the body is turned upside down and leads to serious problems such as confusion, seizures and even death. A study of marathon runners found that no one died of dehydration, but 13% of participating marathon runners had problems with excessive water consumption.

Does coffee and tea moisturize you?
The idea that only water hydrates and purists usually avoid tea and coffee, some believe that it has the opposite effect, that is, it dehydrates you somehow!

It is somehow understood, caffeine having diuretic properties. And there is also the dry mouth sensation caused by tea and coffee. But a recent study showed that the diuretic effects of coffee and tea are negligible and can hydrate without problems.

As for the dry mouth sensation caused by these two drinks, it is due to the tannins contained. They bind to saliva in the mouth and create this sensation; they have nothing to do with true dehydration.

Carbonated juices?
Caffeine juices, unlike coffee, contain a combination of caffeine, carbon dioxide, sugar, sodium, etc. At first glance it looks like a nightmare for hydration.

We've already talked about caffeine. Sugar dehydrates a little, drawing water from other parts to digest it, but it has a minimal effect. The most popular rehydration drinks are full of sugar, don't forget that! Regarding carbon dioxide, there is no evidence that it prevents hydration. Sodium remains, but it usually retains water, it does not support its elimination.

Should anyone monitor their water consumption?
Only the elderly should do this, but also those prone to the development of kidney stones (and of course those who already have).

Others should let their thirst dictate water consumption.

15.07.2022