Hot seasons and dehydration

A risk for every age group and in every season of the year

Water is the main constituent of our body (accounting for approximately 50-60% of the body weight of an adult) (TBW - BIA-ACC) and performs actions of fundamental importance. Indeed, it enables the transport of nutrients through cell membranes, regulates body temperature and is the medium through which numerous biochemical reactions occur. In addition, it is key for the cardiovascular function (as it regulates blood pressure) (ECW – extracellular water) and digestion.
The hydro-electrolytic balance changes all the time because we lose water when we breathe, sweat and urinate and take in water with the liquids we drink and the food we eat. When the loss of water is not offset by adequate liquids intake, we risk dehydration and the whole body suffers from this [1,2]. 
Dehydration can occur in any season of the year and anyone can get dehydrated; still, children, people with chronic diseases and the elderly are more at risk. Symptoms of mild dehydration include: sleepiness, fatigue, dry skin, headache, constipation and dizziness. Symptoms of severe dehydration include: extreme thirst, irritability, confusion, giddiness and hallucinations. Some of these symptoms qualify as MUS (Medically Unexplained Symptoms). 
Hence the importance of maintaining proper hydration and adequate hydro-electrolitic balance, including through supplements containing magnesium and potassium, which are indicated for maintaining adequate hydro-saline balance (TBK - total body potassium, ECK - extracellular potassium, TBMg - total body magnesium, K/Mg Ratio - potassium-to-magnesium ratio, TbNa - total sodium) [3,4] and potassium and sodium bicarbonate, that are useful for maintaining the acid-base balance of the extracellular environment.
One should also consider dehydration caused by excessive intake of sodium-rich food such as cheese, cold cuts, dairy products, sodium-rich bread and industrially processed foods. 
Multi-minerals and multi-vitamins supplements are useful to provide adequate hydro-electrolitic balance, as they contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium besides iron, zinc, copper and selenium that help support the activities which protect the immune cells, alongside vitamins A, B6, B12 C, D, E and folic acid.

These supplements can also be useful for:

  • supporting and maintaining good physical and sports performance;
  • physical recovery after sports activities;
  • supporting good mental performance;
  • maintaining in good condition the bones, cartilage and skin tissues thanks to vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and manganese. (T-Score - BIA-ACC)

Simple hacks such as drinking an adequate amount of water during the day (approximately 4% of total body weight) and eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis are useful to increase the overall amount liquids intake and introduce vitamins and minerals that are fundamental to support the immune system, especially in wintertime, when one is more prone to get cold and flu [5].  For their characteristics and versatility, multi-mineral and multi-vitamin supplements can be drunk during the day or blended in a fruit mix for breakfast or mid-morning. They can be used in case of endurance or regular exercise, in all cases of frequent colds and dehydration, in case of increased requirement of vitamins and mineral salts or in case of a poor diet (e.g. in case of lack of appetite due to chronic diseases or medical conditions that accelerate hydro-electrolitic imbalance).

Authors: Dario Boschiero, Mariantonietta Lucafò - Date: 14/09/2020

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  1. Lawrence E. Assessing Hydration Status: The Elusive Gold Standard. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007.
  2. Thornton SN. Thirst and hydration: physiology and consequences of dysfunction. Physiol Behav. 100(1):15-21. 2010.
  3. The European Nutrition for Health Alliance.
  4. EFSA. Council of the european union. 2012.
  5. Richardson JH, Allen RB. Dietary supplementation with vitamin C delays the onset of fatigue in isolated striated muscle of rats. Can J Appl Sport Sci. 8(3):140-2. 1983.