The effect of supplementary water consumption on the cognitive performance of young adults aged 18-25.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background- While the effect of dehydration on cognitive function in adults has been extensively studied, there is little research on the effect of supplementary water consumption on cognitive performance. Methods- 29 young adults aged 18-25 (13 Male and 16 Female) were randomly allocated to a group that received additional water or a group that did not. Each participant completed a set of tasks to determine baseline and then repeated them after an interval of 30 minutes. Improvements from baseline to retest were calculated for each participant. 24 hour-recalls were used to assess fluid intake and to get an idea of hydration status at baseline. Results- Supplementary water consumption has a positive effect on the cognitive performance of young adults. Participants in the intervention group showed significant improvements in results after fluid intake for the single letter cancellation task (p=0.008) and the auditory span number recall (p=0.009) when compared to participants in the control group. It was also shown that the volume of water consumed between tests had an effect on the level of improvement from baseline to retest. The 24 hour-recall showed that 72% of the participants were drinking less fluid throughout the day then is recommended by the European Food Safety Authority. Conclusions- As a group overall fluid consumption was below recommendations. Supplementary water consumption improved the performance of individuals on tests of attention and short term memory. The volume of fluid consumed may have had an effect on the level of improvement between tests.
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