Does Dehydration Slow Metabolism?

The recommended intake is at least 6 to 8 cups of water per day.
i Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The process during which your body converts the calories you consume into energy is known as metabolism. Your body uses energy not only to walk, talk and run but also to pump blood through your heart and circulate oxygen. Your metabolism rate may be affected by your gender, age, activity level and the food and drink you consume. Even your water consumption may have an effect on your metabolic rate.

Body Function

Muscles are a big part of your body's metabolism, since muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat reserves. A strong body with healthy muscle mass burns more calories even at rest than a body with little muscle. According to personal trainer and cardiac fitness specialist, Claire-Louise Drury, muscles contain up 70 percent water. When your muscles are dehydrated, their function is naturally impaired and this deficit automatically lowers your metabolic rate. Drury also notes that your body's ability to access fat stores for fuel can become impaired when you are dehydrated, which may further slow your metabolism.

Your Workout Performance

Dehydration can also impede your metabolism by affecting your exercise routine and the calories you burn. When you are dehydrated, you are not likely to perform at your best. You may be tired, slow and feel unwell. This can affect how long you are able to continue your workout session and the level of effort you are physically able to put into your workout. Keep your body well hydrated throughout the day, and have a bottle of water close at hand to rehydrate for optimum results during your workout.

Suppress Appetite

In addition to affecting metabolism, dehydration may also influence your caloric intake. The hypothalamus is an area of the brain responsible for controlling things like mood, body temperature and urges like hunger and thirst. The centers for hunger and thirst are so close in this region that they actually overlap, and as a result, it's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. You may even find yourself overeating and taking in too many calories when your body is actually signaling you to drink more water.

Drink Up

Although some athletes rehydrate with sports drinks or coconut water, Robert Glatter, M.D., notes that plain water is healthier and equally as effective. Recommendations for water consumption vary from as few as 6 to as many as 12 cups of water per day. Your ideal intake may vary depending on your size, physical activity level and whether you consume caffeine. Caffeine can have a diuretic effect and may thwart your efforts to keep your body hydrated. If you choose a cup of caffeinated coffee, tea or soda, drink an additional cup of water to counter its diuretic properties.

the nest