Continuing our series on the gut microbiome and our health, we need to understand just how much proper hydration plays a vital role in having a healthy microbiome.
Proper hydration status is crucial for health and daily performance of our regular tasks, as well as extra tasks such as athletic performance or extra physical labor of any kind. While there have not been a large number of studies on the effects of hydration status on the gut microbiome, we do know that certain medical situations that cause electrolytes and water to leave the gut prematurely do alter the intestinal mucus layer and change the ratio of bacteria so that they are out of balance.
Additionally, constipation, which is directly linked to dehydration, decreases several beneficial gut bacteria, and increases those involved in gas production. Proper hydration allows the gut to fully digest the foods we eat, allowing us to extract all the nutrients we need. This supports the proper balance of beneficial gut bacteria.
When we digest food, the gut microbiome plays an active role in cellular transport of nutrients through the lining of the gut, allowing us to have the best absorption of macro- and micronutrients. Without proper hydration, the food cannot be broken down as well, and the transport of nutrients does not occur at an optimal level.
Remember that adequate hydration is generally our body weight in kilograms as ounces, but more is needed in warmer climates or activities that produce sweat. For example: 150 lbs/2.2=68 kg or 68 ounces of water in a day. Other fluids can contribute to this total, not just water, but generally caffeinated drinks should not count toward the total. Sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages are not the best to utilize for this total because they do not promote optimal hydration or gut microbiome balance.
Stay hydrated to keep that good bacteria “growing” as it should!