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Water, hydration, electrolytes, and everything in between.

Most of us live in a chronic state of dehydration and sub optimal electrolytes intake, causing faster aging and a decrease in overall life expectancy. But there's more to hydration than simply drinking water, and in this article we will explore everything you need to know to stay healthy and hydrated this summer and beyond. Let's go!

illustration of water and hydration

Water & Hydration

The following quote is from a meta analysis published to the journal of Nutrition in 2018 which analyzed hundreds of publications focusing on water, euhydration (peak hydration), hypohydration (extreme dehydration), and recommended water intake:

"Despite numerous efforts to define a state of euhydration and determine the daily water requirements of children, men, women, and older adults, no empirical research provides definitive answers and no universal consensus exists.

The dynamic complexity of the water regulatory network, and inter-individual differences, are the primary reasons why widespread consensus regarding the daily water requirements has not been reached to this date." 4

Water is more than just a liquid that comes out of the sink or something you put in a bottle to stay hydrated. Water is one of the most unique molecules in the universe and is the reason why we are able to live on the planet we call home.

It is the reason plants can maintain photosynthesis, and the reason rivers flow and life can go on. But all it takes is for one simple thing to make the water go *poof*, and then, without it, life ceases to exist.

From there you have approximately 3 days before the body reaches a point of dehydration so severe it begins to shut down vital organs to preserve the brain, ultimately killing the body in the process.

This may all sound very morbid, but life goes on every day because water levels in the body are maintained, all because of a few little molecules called electrolytes. But before we jump into electrolytes (and we will) we must first build an understanding of water and its importance to the body.

Hydration is crucial for optimal body function, but contrary to popular belief, it has less to do with how much water you intake as it does with how well your electrolyte are maintaining homeostasis.

First things first, you should know how much water you need to drink in a day. As mentioned earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how much water you should drink. However, the most common way to determine water requirements is to take your weight (in pounds) and divide by 2. This will give you a very rough estimate of daily water intake (in ounces). You may also visit the Yudae website and try the macronutrient calculator to discover your unique water intake.

That said, as a generalization, we recommend everyone aims for 1 gallon of water per day. The reason for this is simple; some days you will drink more than you need, and others you will drink less. In nature, consistency is luxury and luxury doesn't often exist. The ability to account for fluctuations in day-to-day life is the best way to maintain wellness for the long term.

water bottle and fruit illustration


Now, just as the amount of water needed varies per person, as does your optimal electrolyte balance. Electrolyte balance can be thought of as a ratio of concentration within the blood. It is measured in something called MEq, which stands for milliequivalent.

In a slightly more complex way, when we talk about milliequivalents, we're talking about quantifying the chemical combining power of ions. What ions you may ask? The ions that come from electrolytes.


Helps to maintain the balance of bodily fluids. a minimum average requirement for adults can be estimated under conditions of maximal adaptation and without active sweating as no more than 5 mEq/day, which corresponds to 115 mg of sodium or approximately 300 mg of sodium chloride per day.


Magnesium is used in many functions of the body. One such use is signaling nerve impulses in the heart as magnesium helps maintain cardiac cycles. The body contains roughly 24 grams of magnesium, with 60% going to bone and roughly 40% going to the muscles and organs such as the heart and liver. 22


Extremely important for the growth and production of healthy bone. Around 500mg of calcium are deposited into bone regularly, Additionally calcium has an integral role in muscle signaling, nerve function, and blood clotting. Vitamin D intake can help with the absorption of calcium. The recommended supplemental dosage of calcium is 1g (1000mg) per day.


Aids in regulating your heartbeat, muscle contractions, and nerve impulses. minimum requirement is approximately 1,600 to 2,000 mg (40 to 50 mEq) per day. There is considerable evidence that dietary potassium exerts a beneficial effect in hypertension, and recommendations for increased intake of fruits and vegetables (NRC, 1989) would raise potassium intake of adults to about 3,500 mg (90 mEq) per day.


Assists in maintaining fluid balance within your cells. Because both the intake of chloride from food and its losses from the body under normal conditions parallel those of sodium, the requirements specified for all age and sex groups except infants parallel those of sodium on a mEq basis.

Photo of woman walking through water
Image credit Vivobarefoot

Now just knowing these facts isn't going to make you drink anything. I know this and you know this. But there is some scientific evidence to suggest that there are a few facts that make you more willing to drink something on your own.

"Voluntary drinking of a beverage is affected by its palatability, which is determined by its color, flavor, odor, and temperature." 1 It is also well known that a culture has massive influence on what is acceptable to drink and what is commonly drank. Here are 3 steps you can do to ensure you stay hydrated this summer.

Start fresh.

Whatever that means for you. Buy a new water bottle. Clean an old one. Get a recycled one. Whatever you need to do, just start from square one with the assumption you have zero habits and that if you don't stay on top of tracking your water you might end up seriously ill or dead. Additionally temperature in different containers can change the taste and smell of water. So take these factors into consideration when you're choosing your next water bottle.

Keep it the right temperature.

Another one of those "whatever that means to you" situations. Personally I prefer cold water. Scientifically speaking "consuming 16°C water [approx. 61°F], cool tap water, could be suggested in dehydration." 2 According to this study water ingested at this temperature may be optimal for hydration as it was observed to decrease and delay sweating. That said, anecdotal remedies will work for 90% of people because we're talking about personal behaviors. I recommend testing various temperatures until you find the right one for you.

Always take a hydration packet with you.

This is a nonnegotiable for any traveler or adventurer. But if you don't spend a lot of hours in the sun you may not be as familiar with all of the options for adding hydration to plain water (which is what I recommend as you can dose it to preference). Nuun is my personal favorite for emergencies as it dissolves fast and is incredibly travel friendly.


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