Water is Life: Why you should always stay hydrated

Water is Life: Why you should always stay hydrated

thyroid and dehydration

Water is a simple molecule. Its chemical formula is H2O, which means it’s made of two hydrogen atoms bonded to a single oxygen atom. But don’t let its simple structure fool you. Water is a fascinating and crucial substance for life as we know it.

Constituting about 60% of the human body, water serves as a medium for biochemical reactions, aids in nutrient transport, helps regulate body temperature, and acts as a lubricant for joints and tissues. Maintaining proper hydration is, therefore, extremely important for overall health and optimal bodily functions, including proper thyroid function.

Individuals with thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism may be especially susceptible to the effects of dehydration. Dehydration can also alter thyroid function tests, making it appear like you have a thyroid issue when you might not. This is because dehydration can cause changes in blood volume and protein concentration, which can affect the way thyroid hormone levels are measured. Hydration, on the other hand, can play a supportive role in managing symptoms associated with thyroid disorders, such as fatigue, constipation, and dry skin.

While we all may have gotten used to hearing of the importance of drinking water, determining how much is ‘enough’ can be a question mark for many. In this article, we will address this concern, explain how important hydration is for thyroid function and overall health, and look at some practical tips for staying properly hydrated.

Why is hydration important for thyroid function and overall health?

Water is essential for almost every bodily function, and the thyroid gland is no exception. Here’s how proper hydration supports your thyroid:

1. Nutrient and Hormone Transport

Water is essential for transporting nutrients, including iodine, to the thyroid gland. Iodine is an essential nutrient needed for thyroid hormone production. Adequate hydration facilitates this by ensuring the proper delivery of iodine to thyroid cells. 

Hydration also aids in the transport of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones travel through your bloodstream attached to proteins that facilitate the transport of the hormones in blood, a water-based medium. When a person is dehydrated, their blood thickens, making it harder for these proteins to move freely. This can potentially lead to a decrease in the amount of thyroid hormone available to your cells.

2. Digestion and Absorption

Proper digestion and absorption rely heavily on water. Dehydration can slow down digestion, hindering the absorption of nutrients that support thyroid health, like iodine and selenium. Dehydration can also exacerbate gastrointestinal issues associated with thyroid dysfunction, such as constipation.

3. Body Temperature Regulation

When the body is dehydrated, it struggles to regulate its temperature effectively, leading to an increased sensation of heat. This is because dehydration reduces the body’s ability to sweat and cool itself down, resulting in a feeling of being overheated. In relation to the thyroid, studies have shown that a high body temperature can lead to a decrease in circulating levels of T3, the active form of thyroid hormone.

How much water should I drink daily?

There really isn’t one universally applicable answer to this question. Think of water needs as clothing sizes – they vary from person to person. The amount of water you need can vary depending on factors such as:

  • Body weight – People with larger bodies generally need more water than those with smaller bodies.
  • Activity level – If you exercise regularly or engage in physical activity that makes you sweat, you will need to replace the lost fluids.
  • Climate – Hot and humid environments can cause you to sweat more, requiring you to drink more water.
  • Diet – Certain foods, including some fruits and vegetables,  contain water and contribute to overall fluid intake. Salty foods can increase fluid loss through urination. Certain beverages, such as coffee and alcohol, can also promote fluid loss through urination. 
  • Overall health – Certain medical conditions (such as diabetes or kidney disease) or medications (such as diuretics and laxatives) can influence how much water you need.

However, there are some common guidelines people can follow. One common recommendation is to aim for about 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per day, which is roughly 2 liters or half a gallon. This is also known as the 8×8 rule

The U.S. National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) also suggests that men should aim for about 3.7 liters of total water intake per day, while women aim for about 2.7 liters of total water intake per day. This total water intake includes water obtained from beverages and food. 

While these recommendations may not be perfect for everyone, they can serve as a good starting point for many healthy adults.  

What are some strategies to stay consistently well-hydrated?

Now that we understand the importance of hydration for thyroid health and that individual water intake needs vary, here are some practical tips for staying hydrated.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body’s thirst cues and don’t wait until you feel extremely thirsty to drink water.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle: This makes it easy to sip water throughout the day.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after exercise: Drink water before, during, and after exercise to replenish fluids lost through sweating.
  • Include hydrating foods in your diet: Fruits and vegetables like oranges, watermelon, cucumber, and celery have a high water content and can contribute to your daily water intake.
  • Limit dehydrating beverages: Water is the best way to stay hydrated. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol can have a diuretic effect, meaning they increase urine production and can lead to dehydration.
  • Aim to maintain electrolyte balance: Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, play a role in hydration and thyroid function. Strive to maintain an electrolyte balance by appropriately consuming electrolyte-rich foods, especially during periods of increased sweating or physical activity.
  • Monitor your urine: Check the color of your urine to gauge hydration levels. Pale yellow urine often indicates proper hydration, while dark yellow urine may be a sign of dehydration.

Key takeaways

  • By staying properly hydrated, you can help ensure the efficient production and release of thyroid hormones, regulate body temperature, and support metabolism..
  • Several factors influence how much water you need, including your weight, activity level, climate, overall health, and diet.
  • It is very important to always be mindful of factors that increase fluid loss  and adjust your fluid intake accordingly.
  • Listen to your body’s needs. Drink water consistently throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty.


At ThyForLife, we do our utmost to provide accurate information. For detailed medical information regarding diagnosis, treatment, and general practices please consult your healthcare professional. Always listen to the advice of your healthcare provider.
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