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The Connection Between Alcohol and Hydration

One of facts of every day life is that we must keep up with our hydration! You may take it for granted but before you opt for another Margherita, remember that water is vital for our bodies to function correctly (yes, yours, too).

People who don't drink enough water every day are at greater risk of kidney stones, problems with their heart valves and even some kinds of cancer. Minor dehydration can even affect physical and mental performance. Have you ever noticed that change in yourself?

Between 50% and 80% of the human body is water. All the body's chemical processes take place in water. We need water for digestion, to absorb nutrients, to help us move, to get rid of waste products and to regulate our body temperature.

You may not even be aware you are becoming dehydrated, especially when drinking alcohol.

Alcohol is a diuretic that causes your body to remove fluids from your blood through your renal system, including the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, much quicker than other liquids.

If you don't drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly.

Alcohol reduces how much anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) you make, so it increases how much urine you produce. There are suggestions that each shot of alcohol you drink forces your kidneys to generate an extra 120 millilitres of urine on top of the standard 60–80 millilitres per hour.

Just drink more water, right? To compensate for the extra 120 millilitres.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Again there are suggestions that the human body can only hang on to about half or a third of the extra water you drink. Most of it will be passed with urine, and you'll still end up dehydrated after a night of drinking.

Having said that, you will feel better than if you didn't drink water at all, but you'll still risk dehydration. The lesson is - moderate alcohol consumption; there's no way around it (and drink more water).

To stay hydrated, it's important to drink before you feel thirsty. This is especially important if you exercise or it's a hot day. Even if you're not thirsty, drink water regularly throughout the day.

A straightforward way to tell whether you are well hydrated is by the colour of your urine. If it is pale yellow or straw-coloured, you are probably hydrated—Remember that taking some medicines or vitamin supplements, even foods like beetroot, can change the colour of your urine for a few hours.

See below for our tips to stay hydrated below:

  • Buy a big 2L water bottle and mark it with texter to allow you to keep track throughout the day
  • Drink plenty of water as soon as you get out of bed in the morning (we want you drinking more water in the first half of the day, so you are not up going to the bathroom during the night)
  • Always carry a water bottle (good for you and the environment)
  • Keep chilled water in the fridge on hot days.
  • Flavour water with lemon, strawberries or mint to add flavour
  • Always have water on the table when you're eating

How is your Alcohol Consumption Impacting your Health?

The WellBeing Test provides you with personalised insights into how your lifestyle and blood biomarkers are changing over time. By taking the test, you can gain a deeper understanding of how alcohol may be affecting your wellbeing, and receive guidance on how to nurture your health now and into the future.

Start your WellBeing journey towards becoming the healthiest version of yourself today.

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