Has this ever happened to you? You drink what you’ve been told is the “right” amount of water each day (maybe 8 glasses), but you still experience symptoms of dehydration, such as dry skin, reduced skin elasticity, sunken eyes, muscle cramps, or dry mouth. You’re not alone! Many people who drink a lot of water daily essentially still suffer from varying degrees of dehydration. Of course, there could be many reasons for this, but the problem could be in the quality of the water itself. In this article, we’ll discuss water quality, and how to get optimal cellular hydration out of your drinking water.


Water drops on leaf

What is cellular hydration and why is it important?

Simply stated, cellular hydration is a cell’s ability to hold water within itself, and “is stored in either intracellular fluid (ICF) or extracellular fluid (ECF) compartments. The ICF accounts for about 65% of the body water while the ECF (35%) is the blood plasma and lymph, which serve as the medium of transport for wastes and nutrients throughout the body. Minerals such as chloride, potassium and sodium participate in the maintenance of the ICF and ECF levels; a process governed by hormonal messages from the brain and the kidneys.” 

Water is absorbed through the function of osmosis which allows the water to be used in the cell. In order for the tissues to absorb it, water needs to contain electrolytes and minerals. 

Every cell in the body requires cellular hydration in order to function properly. This means that the foundational function of human energy relies on its level of hydration. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced in the mitochondria of the cell. It is the by-product of hydrogen (water) in the cell being used to create energy. All cells function using ATP. In other words, there is no energy output for all bodily functions without proper hydration. All tissues, organs, etc need hydration to function optimally because without the production of  ATP there is no energy by which the body systems can work properly. 

Imagine ATP like a cup of coffee. When you drink coffee, you then have a certain degree of energy to perform. The cells need to have the energy to perform all biological tasks. When the mitochondria have the proper hydration they then produce the “coffee” (ATP) that the cells need to perform their functions. 


splashing water in a glass by the sea

All water is not created equal. 

The value of the water you drink matters in terms of actual cell hydration. The bioavailability of water in your cells and tissues depends on the minerals and electrolytes present. Absorbability is the key factor. You may be simply excreting your water without absorbing enough into your body. 

Water today is not as mineral-rich as it used to be. Studies have shown a decrease in minerals in our food supply, as the soil is not being replenished due to monocropping and other modern farming methods that sacrifice nutrient density in favor of greater crop yields. 

This uptake of minerals and lack of replenishment has trickled down into the minerals present in our water. Therefore we need to supplement these minerals for true cellular hydration and overall health. 

Electrolytes are charged minerals that are attracted by electrical currents inside the cells. When the water we consume lacks this charge absorbability is low. 

Water quality matters. If you have well water, then you likely do have minerals present. This is a good start, yet increasing your mineral intake will lead to more optimal results. Adding electrolytes can also help. If you have city or town water, it is likely filtered and has had chemicals added which is not ideal. 


Mountain water spring

How to improve your water quality for optimal cellular hydration

Reverse osmosis filters effectively purify chemicals out of tap water, but the downside is that it also removes the minerals from the water–so adding them back in is necessary. 

Choose spring water sources when buying bottled, as spring water will generally have a higher mineral content, but you can still add electrolytes here as well to optimize. 

Adding salt to your water and food offers mineral balance as well, but the type of salt you choose is essential. “Table salt” or white iodized salt is deficient in minerals and not recommended. Instead, choose natural Himalayan or Celtic salt, or other natural salt sources. These contain the necessary minerals for optimizing hydration.  

One way to safely add salt to your drinking water is by making Sole water. Sole water can be made inexpensively and give you an endless supply of nourishing electrolytes. You can find the recipe here


Smiling woman with firm skin

What results can be expected from increasing cellular hydration?

When the state of cellular hydration is achieved, you will notice a positive change in the skin, because the vascular system is pumping more efficiently, bringing healthy nourishment to the face. 

You can expect to experience brighter, smoother, firmer-looking skin. You might also experience less fatigue, less muscle and joint pain, less thirst throughout the day, and less dry mouth. Your energy levels will increase, which also has a lot to do with your overall skin health and how you look.  

As with any diet or lifestyle change, it takes time to see these changes in the skin, as the body will prioritize where to utilize the increased hydration first. But when you make cellular hydration a part of your healthy lifestyle, it will go a long way in your overall health which results in lowered inflammation and vibrant skin. 


About the author:

Tara M. SwaggerOur Education Specialist, Tara M. Swagger, is a Nationally Certified and Licensed Esthetician, and a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®. She is the owner of Taresthetics located in Putnam CT and has been practicing skin health for 25 years.

Her years of study have also included Massage Therapy, Reflexology, Ayurvedic sciences, and yoga therapy. While she services clients for facial treatments and skin health, her practice also includes lifestyle wellness support. She is a Certified in Intermittent Fasting and as a Ketogenic Health coach.

Tara also teaches classes on holistic living including Circadian Biology practices and how to redefine daily life for long-term vitality and anti-aging. She is Certified in Circadian Biology and Quantum Health with the Quantum Collective and is also a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

Additional References:

Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2021  Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls  Publishing; 2021 January. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173 

Sim, M., Kim, CS., Shon, WJ. et al. Hydrogen-rich water reduces inflammatory responses and prevents apoptosis of peripheral blood cells in healthy adults: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Sci Rep 10,  12130 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68930-2 

“Water Molecules and Their Interaction with Salt.” Water Molecules and Their Interaction with Salt | U.S. Geological Survey, US Geological Survey, https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/water-molecules-and-their-interaction-salt. 

**Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for medical advice. For personal advice on this topic, please consult with your licensed healthcare provider.