Even mild dehydration 'can alter mood and ability to think'

Even mild dehydration 'can alter mood and ability to think'

Drinking water has many, many health benefits. Now, add one more to the list -- it can help you stay calm, particularly if you feel like losing your cool, says a new study.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut claims that even mild dehydration can have an adverse effect on the mood, especially in women. In fact, it can alter one's mood, energy level and ability to think clearly, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

"Even mild dehydration -- 1.5 per cent loss in normal water volume in the body -- that can occur in the course of our ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling, especially for women, who are more susceptible to the adverse effects of low levels of dehydration," said Harris Lieberman, one of the researchers.

The researchers came to the conclusion after analysing results of tests which showed that it didn't at all matter if a person had just walked for 40 minutes on a treadmill or was sitting at rest, the adverse effects were the same if they are even a bit thirsty.

Lawrence Armstrong, the lead researcher, said: "Our thirst sensation doesn't really appear until we are one per cent or two per cent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.

"Dehydration affects all people, and staying properly hydrated is just as important for those who work all day at a computer as it is for marathon runners who can lose upto eight per cent of their body weight as water when they compete."

In the research, the researchers put the subjects through a series of tests measuring vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory, and reasoning. Their results were then compared against those of individuals who were not dehydrated.

In young women, mild dehydration was found to cause headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Female subjects found tasks more difficult although they suffered no substantive reduction in cognitive ability.

Young men experienced some difficulty with mental tasks, particularly in the areas of vigilance and working memory and also experienced fatigue, tension, and anxiety, according to the findings.

Changes in mood and symptoms were "substantially greater in females than in males, both at rest and during exercise", say the researchers.