Our bodies lose fluid and essential minerals through normal bodily functions. When we sweat, urinate, and breathe, significant amounts of fluid are lost. With those lost fluids, essential minerals are also depleted. Minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all lost through different functions and in different concentrations.
It's not what you think
Many people see hot weather as a main reason for dehydration, and may even be inclined to drink less water once the colder months come around. However, our hydration and mineral balance needs are a year round concern - Perhaps even more so during the colder months.
If you’re not in the thick of it, think back to the colder months and ask yourself if you hydrated as frequently. Your answer is likely to be no. This isn't because your body doesn't need the fluid; as one study reveals, our natural thirst mechanism is simply not as reliable when it’s cold out. This increases our risk for dehydration and mineral imbalance.
The consequences of our body fighting cold weather stress
Our thirst reflex is normally quick to set in when we need to replenish lost fluids. However, a study from the University of New Hampshire found that our thirst instinct is impaired due to the adaptations that occur in our body during cold weather stress.
One adaptation that occurs in our body's effort to retain heat is the restriction, or narrowing, of peripheral blood vessels. This action, in turn, restricts blood flow to the skin, reducing the amount of heat lost. Success! Right? Although heat has been retained, what this also does is block the release of the fluid-regulating hormone arginine vasopressin, which is what lowers our thirst response. When our thirst reflex is impaired, we won’t feel the urge to hydrate even if it's necessary.
Another consequence of blood vessel constriction is an increase of our blood pressure. With the increase of blood pressure, our body acts to lower it by releasing fluids. This causes an increase in our urge to urinate, further dehydrating us.
How our breath dehydrates us
To hit this home, simply breathing in colder weather increases your fluid and mineral loss. Our body naturally humidifies air when we inhale, and the fluid we use gets released when we exhale. The amount of water lost is determined by the difference in water vapor pressure between the saturated air in your lungs and the ambient air we inhale. Colder air has significantly less water vapor and, therefore, requires more fluid to humidify it, resulting in more fluid and mineral loss.
This information highlights how vital it is to maintain an optimal hydration practice throughout the year. Ion Provides supplements designed to support a healthy mineral balance in athletes year round, no matter how intense your schedule is. With Great tasting products, it’s easy to make hydration a habit and prevent any dehydration or mineral imbalances from manifesting. Try Our Hydrate and Recover Series today!