We all hear about how important it is to be hydrated, to stay hydrated … HYDRATE! All day! But how much is enough and how does your body know?
Here’s a great article in the New York Times Science section by Veronique Greenwood, 28 February called You Get Thirsty and Drink. How Does Your Brain Signal You’ve Had Enough?
If you think about being thirsty at all, it seems like a fairly simple thought process: Find water. Drink it. Move on. But in fact there is something rather profound going on as you take that long, refreshing d look for water.
Then, once you take a drink, you feel almost instantly satisfied. But if that is obvious, it is also mysterious. You aren’t pouring water directly into your bloodstream, after all. It will take at least 10 or 15 minutes, maybe longer, for the water in your stomach to make its way into the blood. And yet somehow, the brain knows.
As neuroscientists ponder how and why we thirst, a group of researchers at the California Institute of Technology has shed light on one small corner of the problem. Interested in how the brain keeps track of what the body is drinking, they have identified a set of neurons that receive messages as thirsty mice gulp down water. Passed around in the brain’s thirst centers, these messages seem to be behind the sensation of swift satisfaction that comes after a drink, and also suggest that it’s not just what is drunk, but how it is slurped down, that affects the brain. If the circuits work the same way in people, it may be key to understanding the neuroscience of what happens as we feel thirsty.
Isn’t this fascinating? Read more: You Get Thirsty and Drink. How Does Your Brain Signal You’ve Had Enough?
My sense is that these same or similar neurons will tell us how much food is enough, or how much noise is too much. This research might cross many brain signal areas.