Although adequate hydration is essential for health, little attention has been paid to the effects of hydration among the generally healthy population. This narrative review presents the state of the science on the role of hydration in health in the general population, specifically in skin health, neurological function (i.e., cognition, mood, and headache), gastrointestinal and renal functions, and body weight and composition. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the importance of adequate hydration in maintaining proper health, especially with regard to cognition, kidney stone risk, and weight management. However, the evidence is largely associative and lacks consistency, and the number of randomized trials is limited. Additionally, there are major gaps in knowledge related to health outcomes due to small variations in hydration status, the influence of sex and sex hormones, and age, especially in older adults and children.
Keywords: body weight; cognition; constipation; dehydration; fluid; headache; kidney; mood; skin; systematic review; water.