Water has immense health benefits. Your body needs it to function at optimum levels.
There’s this trending idea that drinking water in the morning contributes to good health.
But one may wonder: “does timing matter when it comes to hydration?”
This article reviews the acclaimed health benefits of drinking water in the morning. Does it matter? We will get to know.
Your body needs water
Over 60 percent of the human body is comprised of water.
Water is an essential nutrient. This means that your body produces very little of it through metabolism (1).
So, you need to get more of the water through foods and drinks. This is the only way to ensure that your body functions properly.
All tissues and organs need water to survive and to perform their duties. Water also plays many other roles in your body. These include: (1)
- Transport of nutrients: Water enhances blood circulation. Blood in turn moves nutrients to your cells and also flushes out the waste from them.
- Thermoregulation: Water has a large heat capacity. So, it can regulate changes in body temperature no matter your environment.
- It lubricates your body: Water lubricates your joints. It is one of the most important lubricating fluids in your body. Others include urinary mucous, respiratory and intestinal mucous, saliva, and gastric juice.
- Shock absorbency: Do you know that water is an excellent shock absorber? Well, it is. It protects your tissues and organs by maintaining the shape of the cells.
You lose water from your body every day through urine, breath, sweat, and bowel movements. These channels are referred to as water outputs.
If you don’t drink enough water during the day, you will be dehydrated, and dehydration affects your health negatively (2).
Health claims attributed to drinking water on an empty stomach
Many people think that drinking water in the morning offers immense health benefits as compared to drinking at other times of the day.
Below, we have some of the acclaimed health benefits, as well as the science proving or disproving them.
1. Drinking water early in the morning rehydrates your body
Early morning urine tends to be dark. So, many people attribute to this dehydration.
But this is not entirely true. The color of your urine is not a clear indicator of how hydrated or dehydrated you are.
Studies have shown that urine samples obtained early in the morning are usually more concentrated – causing them to have a darker color. Many people think that this is a sign of dehydration. However, these studies failed to detect any significant differences in hydration status (3).
A study was done on 164 healthy adults. The study sought to analyze changes in hydration levels as well as water intake. Results from the study showed that water intake was on the high side during the first 6 hours after waking. However, the increased intake did not reflect in their hydration levels (4).
And although their urine was lighter-colored, their hydration status was not as good as it should be. Why? Well, taking in a large amount of water can dilute the urine, thus making its color to be lighter – even if the individual is dehydrated (1, 4).
On the other hand, dark-colored urine early in the morning does not necessarily indicate dehydration. Your urine is dark because you did not drink any liquids overnight.
When water levels in your body are lower than normal, you will feel thirsty. This sensation of thirst is what your body uses to rehydrate. The thirst sensation is efficient all through the day (5).
2. Taking a glass of water before breakfast will reduce your calorie intake
Water can increase your satiety level, no doubt, but this effect is not exclusive to drinking water in the morning.
A particular study discovered that drinking water in the morning, just before breakfast reduced calorie intake by 13%. Similar results were observed by another study when the subjects drank water half an hour before lunch (9, 10).
However, both studies agreed that the ability of water to reduce calorie intake was only effective in the elderly – not in youngsters.
Drinking water may not cause any significant reduction in calorie intake in the elderly, but it does hydrate their bodies.
3. Drinking water in the morning facilitates weight loss
The thermogenic effect of water may be responsible for its weight loss effects. The thermogenic effect refers to the energy needed to warm cold water in the gastrointestinal tract.
Another study discovered that drinking more water daily increased the number of calories burnt by 48. Over a year, this equates to 17,000 calories – or 2.5kg (5 pounds) of fat (12).
This claim appears to have some scientific evidence, but no study suggests that the effect is limited to water drunk early in the morning.
4. Drinking water in the morning improves cognitive and mental performance
Dehydration greatly affects mental performance. This means that you will find it harder to complete certain tasks, such as learning new things or memorizing old ones (15).
This explains why some people argue that drinking water early in the morning will help you stay on top of your game.
But then, you can easily reverse the effects of mild rehydration by drinking fluids, and there is no evidence limiting these benefits to drinking early in the morning (5).
5. Drinking water early in the morning flushes out toxins and improves skin health
There is another common belief about drinking water in the morning. They say that it helps to flush out toxins.
The regulation of fluid balance is controlled by your kidneys. Your kidneys require water to flush toxins from your bloodstream (5).
Your kidney’s capacity to flush out any substance from your body depends on how much of that substance is present. It is not determined by your drinking schedule nor by your water intake (1).
If you have more of a certain substance in our body – much more than your kidneys can handle, they will produce a large volume of urine. This is known as osmotic diuresis. Osmotic diuresis differs from water diuresis, which occurs when you drink water in excess (1).
There are claims that drinking water is beneficial to the skin. Well, considering that your skin contains no less than 30% water, drinking water in the morning is believed to minimize acne and moisturize it.
Water performs several functions in the body, including transport of oxygen and nutrients, body temperature regulation, joint lubrication, and protection of tissues and organs.
Although you may experience mild dehydration at specific times, there is no evidence to show that drinking water on an empty stomach bestows any added benefits.
As long as you rehydrate properly, it doesn’t make any difference whether you drink water early in the morning or later in the day. Just ensure that you hydrate properly by drinking water anytime you feel thirsty.