By: Bill Gookin, No. 4 in a series of occasional reports on wellness and dehydration

The first symptom of dehydration is mental; remember that the brain is the most sensitive organ of the body and even the slightest changes in the body’s chemistry will affect it. Long before you begin to feel thirsty; when you are down less than 1% of your body weight (1-1/2 pints in a 150-lb person) because of fluid loss, mental acuity is affected. You don’t even start to feel thirsty until you’re down 3% of your body weight and, because you’re not thinking as clearly as you should, you may not even notice that you are thirsty, especially if you are trying to concentrate on a task.

This level of dehydration affects judgment, memory and the ability to make quick decisions. For me, my first sign of dehydration is when I can’t remember a word or name that I know ... you’ve been there ... the ”Its on the tip of my tongue” syndrome. Or, I’ll stumble over a word, starting to say another similar word instead. While this level of dehydration can affect everyone in their daily activities, work, driving, sports and recreation, it can be a matter of life-and-death for search and rescue teams, EMT’s, pilots, surgeons, etc. The F.A.A. recognizes this danger and, because they dehydrate you, airline pilots in the U.S. may not use antihistamines and decongestants in the six hours before they fly.

How many errors toward the end of a tennis match or game in major league sports (or at any level) are probably due to dehydration? If you need surgery, don’t you hope that your surgeon is well hydrated? Or, the flight crew on your next trip? At the next discernible level of dehydration, a person tends to become irritable; can you relate these symptoms to your driving and that of others on the highways? Complicate the issue with stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, which further dehydrate a person and the evening rush hour get even scarier; make certain that you are well-hydrated so you can cope, react quickly, make quick decisions and stay “mellow”.

A glass or two of VITALYTE™ a few minutes before you get into the car or whenever you begin to notice any of the symptoms of dehydration should do the trick. But, remember that first symptom: you may not notice that you are dehydrated even when you are watching for it, so avoid the problem at work, play or in whatever you do by keeping hydrated as a routine or habit. It helps for teammates, coworkers and friends to watch each other for the early symptom and tell them “You’re dehydrated, you need some VITALYTE!”

Plain water will help rehydrate you somewhat, but it tends to sit in your stomach for quite a while and then, when it does get into the circulation, since it is more dilute than blood, as it passes through the kidneys, the excess water is not returned to the blood and is excreted. Because VITALYTE is the same concentration as blood, it tends to remain in the system. You’ll notice that difference too! Several airlines have been providing VITALYTE for their flight crews. It not only keeps them hydrated and functioning better, ready for quick reactions and to make those split-second decisions we’re counting on, but they also don’t have to leave the flight deck as often as when they’re drinking plain water or coffee.

Coffee and caffeinated soft drinks can also cause you to lose more fluids than you think. Other soft drinks and sports drinks contain so much sugar of one or more kinds that they will pull water from your system to dilute them down for absorption and digestion, making you even more dehydrated! There is evidence that caffeine does improve mental acuity but, as the caffeine wears off, that sharpness decreases and you are worse off than without it in the first place. VITALYTE™ is just the right concentration for fast, effective absorption and to stay in circulation to keep you functioning at your best. But you don’t have to take my word for it; try it yourself!

* For 40 years athletes have known us as Gookinaid, but we are not just a drink for athletes. Now the world knows us as Vitalyte™, a drink for everyone. Same fast, effective new name!

** This article is the opinion, advice and testimonial of the author and your results may vary. If you have a medical condition involving dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, you should consult a physician before following this advice.

*** Documentation on file.