Thirst: Survival instinct or sensitive fluid balance homeostatic mechanism?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Water is the most abundant molecule in the human body, and thirst is the key survival instinct in body fluid homeostasis. Osmolality and plasma volume are the main thirst-regulating factors, which also stimulate kidney water conservation via arginine vasopressin hormone secretion from the posterior pituitary. Other factors such as mouth dryness, food consumption (especially dry), and even efforts to relieve discomfort due to spicy food consumption also stimulate thirst. Interestingly, following dehydrationinduced thirst, it appears that humans stop drinking after having free access to water, well before body fluid restoration is achieved, probably because of oropharyngeal receptor activation. For instance, in sports, measures of urine concentration showthat athletes tend to start training and/or competition in a suboptimal hydration state. Moreover, during exercise, athletes rarely drink more than two-thirds of their sweat losses, thus experiencing involuntary hypohydration. All of the above findings suggest that thirst (a) gets activated when significant hypohydration occurs and (b) may not be the most effective signal for maintaining optimal hydration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S7-S9
JournalNutrition Today
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Instinct
Thirst
Water-Electrolyte Balance
Survival
Body Fluids
Athletes
Water Wells
Posterior Pituitary Hormones
Food
Xerostomia
Water
Sweat
Plasma Volume
Arginine Vasopressin
Human Body
Osmolar Concentration
Drinking
Sports
Homeostasis
Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Thirst : Survival instinct or sensitive fluid balance homeostatic mechanism? / Kavouras, Stavros A.

In: Nutrition Today, Vol. 48, No. 4, 01.07.2013, p. S7-S9.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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