I talk a lot about kids and hydration. It’s a topic that deserves more attention, for three reasons:
- Most kids are dehydrated (more than 60%, according to a 2022 study)
- Dehydration has especially negative effects on young people, in terms of both behavior and long-term development
- Keeping your kids hydrated is an easy fix (though it’s slightly more complicated than just drinking water)
Here’s why hydration is so important for your kids, how it affects their long-term development, why dehydration often gets overlooked, and how the right minerals can keep your kids well-hydrated and thriving.
More Than 60% of Kids Are Dehydrated
That statistic comes from a 2022 study of dehydration in children. It’s not a new problem, though: a 2015 study found that 55% of children were dehydrated, and that 25% of kids didn’t drink any water at all.
It’s Geometry: Part of the issue is geometrical. Children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because they have a greater surface area to volume ratio (more skin relative to their body weight), which means they can store less water and it evaporates off them more quickly. In other words, your kid gets dehydrated faster than you do.
It’s Biological: Kids also have different kidney function than adults do. Children’s kidneys aren’t developed yet, which means they lose fluids more quickly and expel more minerals, creating much faster dehydration.
It’s Foundational: Finally, kids often don’t drink much on their own during the day. They don’t remember to do so, or they don’t particularly like water, and even if you’re giving your kids water when you’re with them—before and after school, for example—that may not be enough.
This is a good time to mention that dehydration is not just a lack of water. It’s a lack of minerals, especially electrolytes (but other minerals as well). Children lose minerals especially quickly, and they often don’t replenish mineral stores from their diet. Just ask yourself how many veggies, liver, and other mineral-rich foods does your kid eat?
This is a big part of the reason so many children are dehydrated and mineral deficient. Unless your kids drink a lot of water throughout the day and eat a particularly mineral-rich diet, there’s a good chance they’re experiencing depletion symptoms.
Dehydration Can Have Lifelong Consequences for Children
It’s not just that dehydration and mineral deficiency is more common in kids, they are also particularly hard on your child.
Kids need a lot of water and minerals for their development—and when they don’t get enough of either, the repercussions can last a lifetime.
- Kidney Function. A 2022 study of schoolchildren found that 62% were dehydrated, and that dehydrated kids had significantly impaired kidney function. Over time, that dehydration-related kidney impairment was associated with tubular abnormalities, which can cause long-term kidney problems.
- Academic Performance. Brain tissue is 75% water, and the brain is one of the organs hit hardest by dehydration. Research has found that dehydration causes significant cognitive impairment in children, as well as lethargy, trouble concentrating, irritability, and confusion.
- Brain Development. A 2011 study in teens found that dehydration caused participants to exert more mental energy to complete tasks, compared to well-hydrated peers. The authors concluded that consistent dehydration over time could cause the brain to use up precious resources unnecessarily, impairing visuo-spatial and executive development.
Then there are the milder, but still important consequences of dehydration and mineral depletion:
- Cramping. If your child plays sports, this is an important one. Muscle cramping is the result of mineral deficiency, and kids are particularly susceptible to it, especially if they exercise on a regular basis. Cramps can put your kid on a sideline during a big game. They’re also common at night, which can mess with your child’s sleep. Replenishing minerals can help reduce cramping.
- Headaches and Fatigue. Dehydration can make your kids tired, as well. A 2019 study of young adults found that dehydration almost doubled reported headaches and fatigue.
- Mood & Behavior. The same 2019 study found that dehydration caused significantly greater mood disturbance and emotional instability, particularly when it came to irritability.
- Digestion. Research shows that dehydration makes children especially prone to diarrhea and stomach issues—which, in turn, can lead to even greater dehydration.
Dehydration mineral depletion cause a wide variety of problems for kids, some of which can have lifelong consequences.
The good news is that, once you’re aware of it, there is a great solution for providing optimal hydration and mineral replenishment for your kids.
Plant-Based Minerals Can Keep Your Child Hydrated
I mentioned above that dehydration is not just a lack of water. The fluid in the human body is full of potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and many other minerals, all of which your cells use to produce energy and maintain physiological processes.
When your body loses fluid (when you’re dehydrated, for example), you also lose a lot of those minerals. Replace that fluid with water (especially filtered or bottled water) dilutes your mineral stores, which can lead to cramping, cognitive impairment, fatigue, and more.
Rehydration is about more than water
Replenishing minerals and electrolytes is equally, if not more important ,than just adding liquid. That’s why sports drinks and electrolyte supplements exist—they claim they can rapidly rehydrate you (or your kids).
The trouble is that most sports drinks don’t actually have enough minerals to make a difference in the body, and the minerals they do contain are difficult for your body to absorb. Plus, most of sports drinks are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, artificial dyes, and other ingredients that aren’t doing your child any favors.
In addition, most mineral supplements in pill or powder form, have very low bioavailability – as little as 10% bioavailability in fact, so even if you take them every day, you won’t experience much benefit.
Next Generation Hydration
That’s why we created BEAM Minerals. Our all-in-one, complete electrolyte and mineral supplements can replace sports drinks and a cabinet of pill bottles.
BEAM Minerals products are derived from plant-based substances called humic and fulvic, which provide the full-spectrum of minerals and electrolytes your developing kid needs. Because the products are “ionized” liquid (don’t worry, they taste like water) they require no digestion, which means that their mineral content gets transported (immediately) straight into the cells. This enables depletion symptoms to resolve quickly so your child will start feeling better fast.
If you think your kids might be dehydrated or mineral deficient, you are probably right! Consider giving them BEAM Minerals with breakfast every morning, and send them to school with a water bottle to sip throughout the day. I’m willing to bet you’ll notice a big difference in your kids’ behavior, academic and physical performance, mood, and more.