Stay Hydrated to Maintain Gut Health

by Shelby Burns, MS, RDN/LDN

Did you know that many of the metabolites Ixcela tests can be affected by hydration levels?

Water is a key component of digestion. Specifically, it is important for maintaining optimal levels of purine metabolites and total indoxyl sulfate. The purine metabolites that Ixcela tests include 3-methylxanthine, xanthine, and uric acid. Gut bacteria help to regulate purine metabolism by secreting enzymes that initiate the breakdown of purine metabolites into uric acid. Insufficient water intake can also lead to elevated total indoxyl sulfate levels. Chronically elevated total indoxyl sulfate can lead to increased recovery time from injury or strenuous exercise, which may impair performance. These are just a few reasons that one of the best ways to support your metabolite levels and your overall wellness is to get enough water, an often-overlooked essential nutrient.

Water is crucial to human life, and it accounts for 50–70% of our body weight. Inadequate hydration can impair the body’s ability to maintain its core internal temperature and lead to fatigue, reduced performance, and slowed digestion. Water is essential for keeping the gut healthy and the gastrointestinal system functioning well.

Most adults should drink half of their body weight (in pounds) in fluid ounces. For example, an adult who weighs 140 pounds (63.5kg) should drink 70 ounces (2.07L) of water each day. Some of this may come from coffee and tea, but most of our fluid intake should be water. That is why it’s beneficial to have a drinking strategy.

How to Stay Hydrated:

  1. Drink 8 ounces (0.24L) of water (or more) when you wake up and before and after meals. This strategy may also help to mitigate hunger, because many of us confuse thirst for hunger. Because the same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting both hunger and thirst signals, you may reach for a snack when you should really be reaching for your water bottle.
  2. Infuse your water with flavor. Keep great-tasting water on hand by adding some lemon, cucumber, fresh herbs, and other flavorful ingredients to a pitcher or bottle of water. Water doesn’t have to be bland or boring.
  3. Add some sparkle! Adding bubbles to your water with a little carbonation makes a quick, zero-calorie treat.
  4. Buy a fun, brightly colored bottle to make hydration more enjoyable. It can also serve as an eye-catching reminder to drink.
  5. Sip your way through the day. Keep a bottle nearby and keep your hydration goal in mind.
  6. Set up reminders. Stick notes around your home or office and add "water time" reminders in your phone. Soon, drinking water will become part of your routine.

Reflect on your daily hydration and lifestyle practices. Come up with a hydration plan that works for you and make it a habit. Your increased energy, decreased appetite, and improved gut health and digestion will be worth it!

About the Author

Photo: Shelby Burns, MS, RD/LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Shelby Burns has been in the fitness and nutrition industries for more than ten years. Shelby, who has personally struggled with gut issues, believes that exceptional wellness starts from within. Her passion for helping people prioritize their health shines through as she assists Ixcela clients in making diet and lifestyle shifts that result in renewed energy, better sleep, and improved digestion. 

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Interested in learning more about Ixcela? Check out Ixcela’s test, to receive personalized nutrition, supplement, mindfulness, and fitness fitness recommendations based on the metabolites we test to improve energy, GI health, mood, and overall wellbeing.