Want to Know How to Stay Productive During the Dog Days of Summer? We’ve Got the Answer!

Just like every season of the year, summer is unique. The days are long, the fruit is ripe, temperatures are getting higher, and we are spending more and more time outdoors. But it’s not just the season that’s changing, it’s our bodies. They adapt in a number of ways to atmospheric fluctuations that take place during summer, which has a huge impact on our health and overall productivity. Are you interested in what these adaptations are and how you can stay healthy and productive in the face of them? Keep reading to find out how fascinating our physiology really is.

When the conditions around us change, our cells notice and take appropriate measures. It’s almost unreal what our bodies can do when duty calls. 

Take body temperature, for example. 98.6 °F is optimal for organ function and enzymatic processes. So, whether a snowstorm is raging around us or we’re stuck in a wave of heat, our bodies do their best to maintain this temperature through homeostasis (the system of regulatory mechanisms that maintain the balance of our internal environment).

How do our bodies adapt to stress and temperature increases?

The human body will use every tool it has to survive high temperatures. Sweat, which cools us down when it evaporates, is only one of them.

The body employs a number of other processes to maintain optimal internal temperature and prevent overheating. These processes are controlled by a small part of our brain called the hypothalamus—a thermoregulatory center which contains receptors sensitive to blood temperature.

When you go hiking in the mountains in summer, for example, and your body heats up in response to higher temperatures and increased exertion, the blood vessels under your skin expand, allowing more blood to flow from your muscles to the surface layers of the skin, where it’s cooler. 

However, due to reduced supply of oxygenated blood, your muscles then become tired and the heart has to work harder to ensure proper blood circulation. In order for your body to have enough strength for these biological processes, it must limit the expenditure of energy on other biological processes. For instance, it must slow down metabolic processes. This is exactly why we tend to be more lethargic in summer; our bodies don’t want to move any more than is necessary!

Fortunately, there are ways that you can effectively regulate your body during summer months, not just to avoid overheating, but to keep your productivity up, and to avoid the headaches and muscle cramps that result from stress. 

How can you effectively regulate your body during summer months?

As you may already know, humans are mostly water—around 60%, with the heart and brain being around 73%. Optimal hydration is thus absolutely key to proper body function. It not only helps us absorb nutrients from the food we eat, but it helps flush out waste. 

Illustration of water molecules under a microscope

Even mild dehydration can reduce mental and physical performance. Studies conducted by the School of Public Health in Beijing found that not drinking water for 36 hours increased fatigue and decreased attention span, concentration, reaction time, and short-term memory.

What fluid intake is optimal varies from person to person (by age, sex, physical disposition, and level of physical activity), as well as according to season and climate. But the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that adult males need around 3.7 liters of fluid per day, while adult females need about 2.7.

Yet we don’t just get water from drinking liquids, we get it from the food we eat, which on average is about 20% water. (Nevertheless, aside from fruits and vegetables with high water content, food should not be considered a source of fluids.)

Under more strenuous conditions (whether thermal or physical), we lose important electrolytes together with water. Electrolytes are the basic minerals that are found in our blood, sweat, urine, and cells, such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, chlorides, and especially potassium.

When these minerals are dissolved in water, positively and negatively charged ions (electrolytes) are formed, which play a role in many metabolic and enzymatic reactions essential to maintenance of proper nervous system and muscle function, as well as internal balance (e.g. to maintenance of a blood pH of 7.35-7.45).

Electrolyte imbalance has many negative effects on the body, starting with heavy fatigue, lethargy, mood swings, water retention, muscle cramps, headaches, and more. Electrolytes also contribute to heart health, bone strength, brain and nervous system activity, and the appearance and volume of muscle mass due to water retention. 

Athletes and those who are active in hot or humid environments have an increased need for electrolytes.

The rate of electrolyte loss usually exceeds our rate of replenishment. That’s why it’s important to increase intake, ideally in combination with a carefully balanced diet (learn more about the importance of nutrients for our mental health here).

The table below shows the optimal intake of some of the most common electrolytes, as well as how much of each is in Mana.

Electrolyte

Symptoms of deficiency

Reference daily intake for the average adult
(according to the World Health Organization)

Amount in 1 serving of ManaPowder*
86 g/3 oz/400 Cal

Amount in a daily portion of ManaPowder (5 servings)*
430 g/15 oz/2 000 Cal

Sodium

Muscle cramps, loss of appetite, dizziness

2 300 mg

354 mg

1 770 mg

Potassium

Muscle fatigue and paralysis, confusion

4 700 mg

700 mg

3 500 mg

Calcium

Osteoporosis, muscle cramps, tooth decay

1 300 mg

200 mg

1 000 mg

Magnesium

Headaches, muscle cramps, nausea 

420 mg

75 mg

375 mg

Chlorides

Irregular heartbeat, changes in pH

2 300 mg

370 mg

1 850 mg

* Standard portioning of ManaPowder for the average adult. Portions may be adapted to individual needs.

Mana is an ideal source of energy for summer activity. Not only will it give you all the nutrients you need for proper body function and muscle regeneration (especially carbohydrates, which are depleted during hydration, leading to hypoglycemia), but much-needed electrolytes. Additionally, ManaPowder can be portioned according to your individual needs and makes it very easy to keep track of energy value. See our complete preparation guide here

Mana is an effective food that doesn’t burden your body, and therefore eliminates the need for it to spend extra energy on digestion. In fact, it’s the perfect food to accommodate the biological processes that take place in your body during summer!

The human body is a genius organism that needs just one thing—proper fuel for all its processes. It will take care of the rest!

 

Sources:

[1] L. Lee Hamm, N. Nakhoul, K. S. Hering-Smith (2015) Acid-Base Homeostasis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4670772/

[2] Na Zhang, Song M. Du, J. F. Zhang, Guan S. Ma (2019) Effects of Dehydration and Rehydration on Cognitive Performance and Mood among Male College Students in Cangzhou, China: A Self-Controlled Trial.
https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/11/1891

[3] Pam Daniels (2018) Regulating your body temperature during summer heat.
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/regulating_your_body_temperature_during_summer_heat

[4] Healthline.com (2018) Electrolytes: Definition, Functions, Imbalance and Sources.
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/electrolytes#functions

[5] BBC.co.uk. Homeostasis in humans.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zwj4xfr/revision/5

[6] Shawn. H. Dolan. Electrolytes: Understanding Replacement Options.
https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/715/electrolytes-understanding-replacement-options/

[7] U.S. Geological Survey. The Water in You: Water and the Human Body.
https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

[8] Medicalnewstoday.com (2017) Everything you need to know about electrolytes.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188

[9] Healthline.com (2020) How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day#how-much-you-need

[10] Mayo Clinic (2020) Water: How much should you drink every day?
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

[11] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Frequently Asked Questions for Industry on Nutrition Facts Labeling Requirements.
https://www.fda.gov/media/99069/download

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