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What Percent of the Brain is Water?

By Dr. Usmarah Hussain

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What Percent of the Brain is Water

Water is life: we all are familiar with this phase, but do we truly understand it?

Making up around 50 to 80%of the body, every function, no matter how tiny or big, is practically dependent on water. [1] This also includes everything that goes on in your brain and the nervous system. Being a major constituent of the brain, water is so crucial for this organ that depletion of even one percent can drop your overall cognition or brain function by 5 percent, which is a lot. Mind-blowing, right? But this may also make you wonder why water is so crucial for the brain. What percent of the brain is water, and what happens when this percentage drops? Let’s find out in this article below.

Dissecting the Human Brain: How Much Water Does it Have?

Water is indeed vital for every function taking place in the body. Following the recent groundbreaking research that proves how important hydration is for brain health, some of you might be forced to think about how much water the human brain actually contains. Even before this research, health experts have consistently encouraged people to sip on the water for better memory, enhanced concentration and focus, and better memory. But how can something as simple as drinking water so powerfully impact the mighty brain?

The reason for this interesting question is hidden behind the brain structure that, as we now know, comprises up to 80% of water. [2] With more than 3/4th of brain parts filled with this clear liquid, there remains no doubt that water can single-handedly act as a magic elixir to improve cognition and mental processing. As a bonus, you can also improve your overall health since many other organs also contain water in high amounts, such as:

  • The skin (60% water)
  • Bones (30% water)
  • Lungs (70% water)
  • Muscles (80% water)

Signs of a Droughty Body and Brain

Knowing that up to 75% of your brain is made up of plain water, can you even imagine depriving yourself of this liquid? What’s even scarier is sometimes we rely on coffee, soda, and other artificial drinks when all our body truly needs is a glass of water. Water is essential for the body and brain; hence, we naturally crave for it. But when we try to satisfy this craving with artificial, sugar-loaded drinks or caffeinated beverages, the brain and body start reacting to this change, and not in a very good way. Some carbonated drinks even make you feel thirstier than before, making you come back for more.

Following are some signs that your brain and body need more water:

  • Short-term memory issues
  • Trouble solving math computations
  • Poor focus
  • Dry lips
  • Increased fatigue
  • Abnormal blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Headaches and muscle cramps [3]
  • Dark urine
  • Palpitations
  • The appearance of premature signs of aging
  • Digestive issues, such as ulcers

In the long run, dehydration or a lack of water even increases the prevalence of dementia. On the other hand, maintaining adequate hydration cuts down the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Water and the Brain Function: What’s the Correlation?

Yes, water and brain function are closely co-related. Why? Because water is indispensable when it comes to maintaining health and overall well-being. When you choose to ignore drinking water, it leads to bad consequences and negatively affects many vital body functions. Your brain activity falls under these vital functions as dehydration directly affects it, triggering memory impairment.

Drinking Water for Brain Health

Following are some other compelling reasons why you should be adding more water to your routine.

It literally forms the base of your brain.

With more than three-quarters of the brain comprising water, staying hydrated definitely needs to be among your top priorities. Even a slight drop in this hydration level can trigger headaches, fatigue, stress, lack of mental clarity, and fatigue. All the more reasons why you must never forget to drink water.

It increases the brain’s efficiency

Your brain cells need a perfect balance between water and other nutrients to work efficiently. Dehydration can force the brain to perform sub-optimally, making you lose focus and concentration. Additionally, it can also trigger mood swings and reduce cognition.[4]

It improves memory

Not having enough water in the brain can significantly impair short-term memory and the power to recall long-term memories. Even a 1% fall in the water content in the brain can easily trigger these issues since water is a major nutrient for the brain. [5] So make sure to carry a bottle with you wherever you go and keep yourself hydrated to have a good grip on memory. [6]

It heightens the attention span

A shorter attention span is one of the most prominent effects of dehydration on the mind. A lack of water can severely affect your concentration and make you lose focus, eventually deteriorating your performance at work or school. Keep sipping on water throughout the day to avoid these uncomfortable side effects. This theory has been proven by multiple studies that noticed an improvement in the attention span of people drinking more water.

Upping Your Water Game: Tips to Keep Your Brain and Body Hydrated

Struggling to drink enough water every day? Don’t worry; you are like most of us. Today’s hectic and fast-paced lifestyle can easily make anyone forget to take a sip of water, let alone carry a bottle with them everywhere. But since you seriously need water to basically survive and function well, something needs to be done as soon as possible. Try the following hydration tips to keep your mind well-hydrated and optimally functioning:

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning as you wake up. Your body is likely to be dehydrated following a night of sleep, so a glass of water can be an excellent way to kick-start your system.
  • Make hydration fun by adding appealing, delicious, and refreshing natural additives to your dull, old glass of water. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice or add a sprig of fresh mint to up the flavor game and motivate yourself to drink more water. You may consider making yourself a jug of healthy detox water by throwing in some fresh slices of watermelon or cucumbers. Steer clear of anything artificial or sugary.
  • Take help from reminders or prompts. For example, invest in a 2-liter bottle and carry it with you everywhere, aiming to finish it by the end of your day. Alternatively, download an app on your smartphone that reminds you to drink a glass of water after every few hours.

Conclusion: What’s the Point?

It is pretty easy for us to forget that our brains and bodies need water to survive and function well. Hence, we never prioritize fueling ourselves with this simple and easily-available natural element to perform better in life. Just think about how losing your cognitive power by not drinking enough water can put you in trouble as you drive, operate heavy machinery, or take an exam with low concentration and poor memory.

What we are trying to say is water is good for you. There is nothing that can go wrong with drinking a glass of water every few hours throughout the day, but it can make a lot of difference in terms of your brain function. Just ensure you do not substitute it with sugary drinks, or you’ll eventually witness your brainpower going down the drain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we all have the same water percentage in the body?

The percentage of water in an average male is around 60 percent as opposed to a female body that constitutes up to 50 percent of water. The water level may also vary depending on your fitness levels. People who are a fan of too many donuts and biscuits and are on the obese side will have a higher water content in their bodies.

What are some water-rich organs in the body other than the brain?

Other body organs with a high percentage of water include the heart (75 to 80% of water), liver (70 to 75% of water), and skin (60% of water).

How much water should I drink to maintain a healthy mind and body?

Aim to drink 2 to 3 liters of water per day. If you love having coffee or alcohol, have an extra serving of water per serving of these drinks, as they can be extremely dehydrating. Remember that this is generic advice only, as the specific water needs of a person may vary depending on their general lifestyle habits, physical activity levels, and more. For instance, athletes or people who work out more frequently and heavily need more water every day than someone living a sedentary lifestyle.

Does the quality of the water I drink make a difference?

Knowing how critical water is for the optimal functioning of the brain and body, it is important that you keep an eye on the purity and quality of the water you drink. Every glass of clear and plain water isn’t healthy as it may contain contaminants and impurities not visible to the naked eye. Hence, make sure that your drinking water is clean and pure, which is possible by investing in a high-quality home water purifier. A purifier will not only get rid of all toxins and chemicals in water but also improve its taste and decrease overall health risks.


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