Ask Dr Libby

Rodney Times - - HEALTH -

Hi Ge­orge. Hy­dra­tion is such an im­por­tant topic and the im­pact that this can have on how we look, think and feel is far too of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated. De­hy­dra­tion im­pairs phys­i­cal and men­tal per­for­mance, and even slight de­hy­dra­tion can leave us feel­ing fa­tigued.

The idea that ev­ery­one re­quires ex­actly eight glasses of wa­ter a day doesn’t re­ally make sense to me, as we’re all dif­fer­ent so we will have dif­fer­ent needs. Sci­ence cur­rently tells us we re­quire 33 millil­itres of fluid per kilo­gram of body weight, so a per­son weigh­ing 70kg would need around 2.3 litres per day.

How­ever, this is re­ally still just an es­ti­mate, as how much fluid we re­quire will de­pend on the cli­mate and how ac­tive we are. Caf­feinated and al­co­holic bev­er­ages are di­uret­ics and drag wa­ter out of the body so you may need more wa­ter if you con­sume Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

these on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

As a gen­eral guide, most adults will need be­tween two and three litres of fluid a day. Eight glasses of wa­ter would put you at the lower end of this range.How­ever, we also ob­tain some fluid from non-starchy veg­eta­bles, soups and other drinks such as herbal teas.

If you would like to have a num­ber of glasses to aim for each day, eight glasses is prob­a­bly a good start­ing point, but I en­cour­age you to tune in to your body’s thirst sig­nals and be guided by this. Af­ter all, thirst is the body’s way of sig­nalling to you that it re­quires wa­ter.

Hi Jennifer. Per­cent­age body wa­ter can vary de­pend­ing on a num­ber of fac­tors, such as age, gen­der and level of mus­cle mass. It can be any­where from 45 to 70 per cent of body weight but for adults, it is typ­i­cally be­tween 50 to 60 per cent.

With­out know­ing how your to­tal body wa­ter was mea­sured it’s dif­fi­cult to com­ment on this, but I en­cour­age you to re­flect on the level of ac­cu­racy that can be ob­tained when mea­sur­ing your body com­po­si­tion out­side a lab­o­ra­tory set­ting. Rather than look­ing to a mea­sure­ment, I can­not en­cour­age you enough to sim­ply bring awareness to your body and any signs or symp­toms that may in­di­cate de­hy­dra­tion or fluid re­ten­tion.

A mea­sure­ment of to­tal body wa­ter doesn’t tell us the full pic­ture, as it doesn’t in­di­cate where the fluid ac­tu­ally is in the

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