How much water should i drink a day? Everywhere I go, I hear the same balderdash. People think water is the answer to all of your health problems. While it may be true, it is more untrue.
Makes me wonder how much we fall for things we hear. Are we naturally and effortlessly gullible? Have we ever paused for a second and wondered whether the information poured over us is authentic and scientifically-backed?
Now, I am sure, all of you have heard that drinking 8-10 glasses of water is vital for your kidneys, skin, weight, colon and what not. In fact, a vast majority of us not only believes but vehemently touts the idea. It is these people who do not miss the opportunity of grabbing us at every family gathering, questioning and insisting we increase our water intake. Their tenacity is marvelously irksome.
Water is good. Scratch that, it is excellent. It is critical for survival. It is very important but do you know that too much water intake can actually be dangerous for you? And of course, we know that too little leads to dehydration. Hello, has anyone ever heard of a thing called moderation?
You need to equip yourself with scientifically-proven knowledge about what water actually does to your body and how much water you should drink in a day. Here you will get the most reliable and genuine information on how much water you need to drink every day.
Experts’ Take On The Question ‘How Much Water Should I Drink A Day?’
Trust your thirst! Also, trust experts! Let’s begin with basics.
What is Hydration And How Does Water Enter Into Your Body Cells?
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to survive and function properly. Water makes up for more than half of your body weight. You lose water every day when you sweat (if the sun is burning with a rage), urinate (or would you prefer the word – pee?) or have fever.
Understandably, your body needs replacement of the water it loses every day. Hydration, in simplest of the words, means supplying water/fluid to your body so that it will function correctly and maintain good health.
So how does water enter into your cell? Let’s check the science behind the molecular mechanism of water transport across the cell membrane.
Molecular Physiology Of Water
Water enters the cell through diffusion and osmosis – two simplest of the phenomena in which liquid and gas move from the region of higher concentration to the lower concentration, except in the case of osmosis where molecules have to cross a membrane barrier.
Different cells in your body have different water permeability depending upon the composition of their outer lipid layer – called lipid bilayer – and the number of water channels – called aquaporins.
Aquaporins have several isoforms, one that permits water entry is called aquaporin-1 (AQP1). The cell’s lipid bilayer has two layers: one is hydrophobic, the other hydrophilic. It is the hydrophilic layer that permits entry of small molecules and water by diffusion and osmosis.
How Much Water Per Day: Clinical Physiology Of Water Metabolism
Do you know a remarkable thing about your body? Despite having variations in water intake and loss, it maintains total body water? This phenomenon is called homeostasis.
In simple words, every kilogram of body water contains 285-290 milli-moles (mmol) of salts – sodium outside of and potassium inside of the cell. Solutes are minor solid components in a liquid (called solvent). This creates a perfect mineral balance in your body.
Have you understood this much? Let’s move forward a bit and see how our body’s hydration requirements vary and what factors affect it.
Do Our Body’s Hydration Requirements Vary?
Several factors affect hydration and your daily water requirements, and this will answer the popular question, “how much water should I drink in a day”?.
Your body loses water depending upon the climate and your physical activity (whether you are an athlete, moderately active or a couch-potato like me).
The minimum amount of fluid loss from the body is called obligatory water loss and this happens when you sweat and urinate. An average man of 60 kg who has a sedentary lifestyle, loses about 2,227 – 3,205 ml of water every day, out of which about 1,149 – 2,132 ml is expelled in the form of urine.
You also lose a small amount of fluid through feces (about 100 ml/day) and respiratory tract. This is called insensible fluid loss. Two researchers, Holliday and Segar, proposed that an average man has about 50 ml/kcal of insensible water loss everyday.
Several factors can affect obligatory water loss and insensible water loss such as:
- Temperature, humidity, and air currents
- Volume of air breathed in
- Blood circulation through skin
- Lifestyle – both active and sedentary
- Diseases, such as diarrhea can lead to dehydration, edema leads to water retention in the body, kidney disease, and lymphatic obstruction etc.
- Medicines, such as NSAIDs, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), steroids and diabetes drugs can lead to edema.
- Hormonal disorder – antidiuretic or vasopressin hormone deficiency can cause frequent urination and excessive water loss. Vasopressin is a hormone produced and released by your pituitary gland that prevents excessive loss of water from urine.
How Much Water Should I Drink A Day? Facts About Water Intake
Okay, we have gone a bit too serious up there. Let us loosen up, drink a glass or two of water and have a quick look at some of the interesting facts about water intake.
- You may think your body gets fluid only from the water you drink daily. Incorrect! Your body also sucks water out of food to make up for its needs. Non-water fluid also meets your body’s hydration needs
- How much water should I drink a day? Saying you should drink 8 or 10 glasses of water in a day is nothing but, to put it mildly, a highly misplaced claim and gross generalization. In fact, some doctors venture ahead and bluntly dub it “non-sense”.
Fluid requirements are highly individualistic and can vary on day-to-day basis. No scientific study has ever supported or recommended this number. Next time an overly-worrying stranger nags you, you know how to give them a befitting shut up call, right?
- As opposed to the popular belief, drinking bottled water does not cause tooth decay.
- Men have a higher body water content than women.
- Drinking large amount of water in a short period of time overburdens your kidneys and can even lead to death
How Much Water Should I Drink A Day? Your Daily Water Intake Requirements
Since we have established that water is the most essential nutrient for our body, err, wait a minute, it’s already an established fact, we just discussed it. Apologies. Let us now answer the question how much water should you drink a day and how much water is best to maintain your body homeostasis.
For starters, it is absolutely impossible to predict and establish general water intake requirements. That you need water for survival is an incontrovertible fact but to say that everybody, be it children or elderly, should drink at least two liters of water (8-10 glasses) per day is not only an easy way out, it is also a gross generalization. The matter at hand is far more complicated.
To bring most reliable information for you, I had to dig deep down into recommendations from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization and other medical and nutritional societies. Here is what they say:
Daily Water Intake Recommendations
The US Food and Nutrition Board has established an Adequate Intake (AI) as the reference value for water intake that is age and gender specific. It makes life remarkably easy by underscoring daily water intake requirements for everyone – be it an infant or an elderly.
Here is the chart on how much water should you drink a day:
The minimum amount of water your body needs equals the amount you lose every day. The amount should be sufficient to prevent dehydration. If you haven’t yet understood what I am talking about, let me simplify it for you. You need to drink water but the amount is what is required to replace the fluids lost every day. This fluid can come from water, beverages, soups, smoothies, foods such as meat, and moisture-rich fruits such as watermelons.
The UK Government’s Eat Well Guide, 2016, however, sticks to 6-8 glass of water per day routine. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Health Service (NHS) both endorse the recommendation but add that low-fat milk, low-sugar or sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee all account for fluid and water intake.
Easy to understand now, isn’t it? You do not need to fuss over the count; neither is 8-10 glasses per day the absolute number. Just ensure you take sufficient levels of fluid every day to keep your body hydrated. The count can go up and down. Now that we know you no longer have to gulp down 8-10 glasses of water every day to stay at the top of your game, let us not be complacent and rashly cut down on water. The key is to have moderation.
Our younglings though are oblivious of the significance of water and effortlessly swap water with sodas. This is a worrying trend.
Children are naïve, but you are not. Their fondness for comfort food and sweetened beverages should alarm you as a parent. You can and should encourage them to drink water and eat healthy food because the onset and prime of youth makes one negligent of health and opt for risky behavior.
So how can you inculcate the healthy lifestyle in your children, particularly that of drinking water? Here are a few strategies:
How Much Water Should My Child Drink: Strategies To Improve Water Intake In Children
The widespread brouhaha coercing us into drinking more water does not seem to affect our children and adolescents – who complacently ignore the importance of consuming enough water. They are instead opting for sodas, caffeinated drinks, sports drinks and sugar-rich flavored drinks.
Drinking sufficient amount of water is not only vital for life, it is also proven to regulate weight, abate bad breath, reduce risk of dental caries, and improve cognition among children and adolescents.
It’s imperative to instill healthy eating and drinking habits into our children right from the outset. Parents are crucial role models and the onus of healthy lifestyle rests with them. Parents’ food preferences will be their children’s food preferences. As a parent, it is your duty to encourage healthy dietary, hydration and hygiene habits in your children.
Even studies have proven that home interventions i.e., giving education, providing awareness and accessibility to water increase fluid intake frequency on children’s part.
Studies have also shown that consumption of sugary drinks increases risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children. The food and beverage industry is selfish and wants to make money, even if it is at the expense of your child’s health. Parents need to be vigilant about what their children should and shouldn’t eat.
Here is how both the government and we can promote youth water intake.
- Improving quality of tap water
- Providing free water bottles at schools and parks
- Implementing policies that promote free drinking water access
- Educating students about benefits of tap water
- Reducing marketing and sale of beverages
Special Conditions In Which Water Intake Requirements Increase Or Decrease
There are days when we feel thirstier and there are days when we go with scant. Because water intake requirements vary from one individual to another, you should know how much water is too much. Here is what the experts say based on updated scientific evidence:
How Much Water Should You Drink While Exercising?
Hydration is critical in athletes but Timothy David Noakes, Discovery Health chair of exercise and sports science, advises against water intoxication because it can lead to hyponatremic encephalopathy — a condition that can develop as a result of excessive water consumption in which blood sodium level is dropped to dangerous levels and water enters brain cells and elicits neurological responses.
A female marathon athlete died of this condition because she used to drink excessive amounts of water during games – more than 100 cups or about 15 liters during 5-6 hours of exercise. In order to avoid complications, David advises that athletes should drink as much as is necessary but safe. Do not overdo it.
The safe range is 400-800 ml per hour for most forms of athletic exercises; less for slower and smaller exercising in mild climatic and environmental conditions; more for strenuous exercising in high-intensity environment.
How Much Water Should I Drink? When In Extreme Temperatures
Extreme hot temperatures can make you lose plenty of water in the form of sweat and urine. Extreme cold, on the other hand, tends to conserve water minimizing your needs of fluid intake. Water intake requirements for temperate environments are different. They also differ with your lifestyle and routine – be it sedentary or laborious.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its report “Domestic Water Quantity, Service Level and Health” has outlined the estimated water intake requirements for an average adult male weighing 70kgs and female weighing 58kgs. Here it is:
When You Have A Disease
Hydration requirements vary with diseases and health conditions. A study found out that a medium consumption of water (5 or more in men, and 3-4 cups in women) reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease. The researchers concluded their study by recommending a minimum of 1.25 liters per day for men and 0.75 liters per day for women.
Another study suggests that ingestion of water improves cognitive performance in people.
Kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may require you to limit your water intake. But you should increase your water intake when you have diarrhea, vomiting and fever to prevent the risk of dehydration.
Pregnant women and lactating mothers need to increase their fluid intake to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (10 cups) of fluids daily, while lactating mothers drink about 3.1 liters (13 cups) of fluids per day.
Currently, scientists are investigating the relationship between drinking water and incidence of cancer. Nothing is out as yet though.
Difference Between Mineral And Distilled Water
The debate about which type of water is better – mineral or distilled water – is an endless one. Moreover, it doesn’t have a conclusion or consensus. Even health experts are divided on the issue. Some swear by the superiority of mineral water, while others find distilled water effective. There is scant evidence on the efficacy or superiority of either type.
Without siding with anyone or jumping to the conclusion, we will give you a precise description of both types and leave the judgement and preference with you.
- Distilled Water – is a type of purified water that is virtually free of all contaminants and minerals. It is basically sea water that is purified by distillation – a process in which water is first evaporated into steam and later condensed back into water. This process leaves salt and minerals behind as impurities. Distillation also kills bacteria and other pathogens present in raw water.
- Mineral Water – as the name depicts contains mineral such as calcium, magnesium, sulphur and sodium. This water is directly collected from fresh springs and wells. Mineral water does not undergo any chemical treatment; it is only subjected to filtration at plants to ensure maximum purity.
There are more than 3,000 brands of mineral water commercially available. There have been no well-organized studies to compare the two sources of processed waters to put an end to the debate. Besides, the scientific community most probably does not want to suffocate the water bottling industry by supporting either type. So, you are on our own.
Can More Water Increase Energy Level And Brain Function?
To say that water ingestion improves your brain function and 8-10 glasses will make you Einstein will be an overstatement. Research on this topic, again, is limited and merits further investigation.
But what is known for sure is that dehydration – mild, moderate and severe– can affect how your brain functions. The medical term for brain performance encompassing memory, mood concentration, focus, and alertness is “cognition”, so this is what we will use.
Mild to moderate dehydration can disrupt your mood and cognitive functions which are a serious concern in very young, very old, pregnant and athletes. However, effects are short-lived and reversible when water in required amount is ingested.
In a study conducted by Cian and colleagues, the participants were dehydrated for a certain period of time after intense exhaustion to see whether it had any effect on their cognition. Performance was impaired in all participants and they exhibited compromised short-term memory and psychomotor ability.
The researchers are curious people, unlike most of us who are complacent about our mundane lives, they wanted to know whether water consumption increased alertness and cognition. And what’s a better place to conduct the study other than a school – the chief source of learning for the littl’uns?
The researchers selected a group of students for a cognitive test; half of the students were provided drinks 20-45 minutes before the test, the other half went without water. Those who were given water showed improved visual attention, but effects on memory were not so pronounced. Another study showed a significant improvement in memory after water intake in school-going children.
So to end your curiosity about whether water boosts your brain, the answer is yes. You need optimum amount of water every day to sustain your memory, focus, attention, concentration and performance. A lack or shortage of water intake affects your cognition.
Is Thirst A Signal For Water Intake?
Thirst is a sensation that signals your body’s need for water. It’s a normal feeling that we get multiple times in a day. Thirst varies from day to day; some days you are thirstier, on other days you can get by with a few sips of water.
But you cannot survive without water beyond a week (this is a generous estimate, three to four days or 100 hours are the best guess), lesser in harsher environment, such as broiling heat. Some people have even survived 8-10 days without water but this is an exception.
Feeling persistently thirsty can herald a number of medical conditions, such as diabetes, dehydration, exhaustion or a mental disorder. A lack of thirst, on the other hand, ensues head injuries, liver disease, stroke and some types of cancers. If the thirst is unquenchable, you need to immediately see a doctor for a thorough investigation and diagnosis.
Water Intake Recommendations – Myths vs Facts
Let us now discuss everybody’s favorite part where we will discuss, err no, bust myths about water that have contentedly snaked their way into our lives. Let’s begin with the most popular one and where it emanated from:
Everyone Should Drink Eight Glasses of Water Daily
No one knows where this myth originated from but congratulations to whoever coined it because it sold like hot cakes. In his book “Your Guide to Good Nutrition”, published in 1974, Dr Frederick Stare, professor of nutrition at Harvard University, blames the bottled water companies for the widespread recommendation.
A study conducted at University of Pennsylvania some years ago tested the validity of the claim and found it to be a total “nonsense”.
Bottled Water Causes Tooth Decay
Bottled water cannot cause tooth decay. It may accelerate the process though since it lacks fluoride which is important for the mineralization of your bones and teeth. Fluoride is added to tap water.
“Fluoride is an important element in the mineralization of bone and teeth. With the increased consumption of bottled water, which is not fluoridated, there has been an increase in dental caries [cavities], says Constance Brown-Riggs, author of the African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes and a nutritionist.
Drinking Plenty Of Water Makes You Skin Radiant And Younger
This may sound believable but sad news is there is no scientific evidence to back this claim, as Dr Ronni Wolf writes in his review “Nutrition and water: drinking eight glasses of water a day ensures proper skin hydration—myth or reality?”. However, by drinking a good amount of water your skin cells become turgid and this gives you a younger looking appearance.
Lactating Mothers Need To Drink More Water
This is true. Milk is 87% of water and it is important that breastfeeding mothers keep the level maintained to ensure the baby’s nutrition. The National Research Council recommends that all breastfeeding mums drink about 12-13 cups (2,950-3,200 ml) of water per day.
Sports Drinks Are An Alternative To Water For Athletes
Sports drinks may have a fancy appeal to them, it’s water you need to stay hydrated and meet your body’s fluid needs during exercise and athletics. Water is important to transport nutrients and energy in the body as well as dissipate heat from the body in the form of sweat. A vitamin beverage may taste better, but it doesn’t fulfill your body’s need for hydration.
What Is The Best Time to Drink Water?
“Drink water the first thing in the morning and you’ll be in shape in no time” is what we have heard innumerable times. This is true. Guess not everything we hear is inherently wrong.
A review published in European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research eulogized the benefits of consuming warm water right after waking up. It cleanses your digestive tract, prevents and relieves constipation, helps shed extra pounds and improves blood circulation.
May be it is time to replace your morning coffee with lukewarm water? But before you get convinced, we must inform you that we could not find any well-organized scientific data on it.
Water Intake With Meal
Health experts recommend that you drink a glass of water at least 30 minutes before meal to help aid in digestion, and at least one hour after meal to allow body to absorb food and nutrients.
A study found out drinking a glass or two of water right before meal quells your hunger and makes you eat less. This is because your stomach gets partially filled giving you a feeling of early satiety.
Healthcare experts call it “liquid preload” and it reduces hunger and food intake in both obese and non-obese individuals and helps prevent obesity. This is proven now.
Water for Weight Loss: How Much Water Should I Drink A Day?
For starters, water is not a magical potion that will magically transform you into zero-size overnight so calm your fat cells there! However, it can aid in, an in fact even speed, weight loss. Do you know how?
Water can be helpful for weight loss. It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals
Drinking water, at the right time, helps in weight control. But in order to lose weight, planning and calculating calorie intake is the prerequisite. All you need to do is to snugly fit adequate intake of water to your routine.
A US based study has shown that water consumption speeds up weight loss among middle-aged and older adults when they coupled the water intake with dietary interventions. The equation is simple — water intake reduces your meal energy intake (EI).
Weight Loss Plan – My Water Diet
Water diet is the new fad. It comprises drinking water only – in other words you go fasting, except for water. Of course, some water diets include eating fruits and vegetables but only when you’ve begun to lose weight. Other water diets allow you to have apples along with water.
The water diet helps your body detox. If you are healthy, a few days of water diet will be beneficial but don’t go fasting for an indefinite period of time – it is not only an unapproved way of losing weight, it is also unhealthy.
Prolonged water diet can rob your body of the essential nutrients and you will end up losing more muscle. And once you stop water diet, you are prone to gaining those extra pounds again. So, you need to be careful with your water diet.
Do drink plenty of water but not in lieu of healthy eating.
Are Fizzy Drinks Part Of Water Diet Plan?
Simply no! The diet sodas are marketed and sold on the premise that they contain zero calories but a lot of controversy shrouds their efficacy. Truth is, they actually make you thirstier for sugary drinks and end up making you fat and susceptible to adverse effects.
Besides you must have heard of Coca Cola and PepsiCo secretly funding researches backing diet coke and sugar-free frizzy drinks?
Need I say more?
Effects Of Other Liquids On Water Intake
Those who have always been skeptical or troubled by the insistence of drinking 8-10 glasses everyday, will be relieved to know that other drinks such as coffee, milk, shakes and smoothies do hydrate your body as well.
Yes, you won’t go dehydrated with a cup of mocha. Oh and see, we have busted another myth – coffee and tea could cause dehydration. Regular coffee intake does not affect your body’s hydration status – study proves.
How Much Water Should You Drink To Prevent Kidney Stones?
If you haven’t heard this before, let me break it for you – drinking sufficient water and fluid protects you from having kidney stones and kidney disease.
I am not the only one to say it, majority of the scientists agree with me. However, the situation is not that simple. Professor Goldfarb calls it all a “speculation” because evidence is mostly mixed, though partly tilted towards increased fluid intake and reduced risk of urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cysts and chronic kidney disease.
How Does Drinking Enough Water Prevent Diseases?
Water is holy. Besides thriving life, it is touted as a natural cure. Dr Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, an internationally renowned researcher and author, believes water is the ultimate medication of choice to cure disease and prevent a number of diseases. He has spent over 18 years in research before he came to the conclusion.
He believes the key lies in understanding hydration.
“Understanding dehydration will empower you to become much healthier and live longer. There is more to it than just drinking water. You will need to invest a little bit of your time and concentration and begin to understand the subject,” says Dr Batmanghelidj.
Water therapy, or hydrotherapy, is as old as mankind. Review of literature suggests that hydrotherapy is used for pain, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, COPD, fatigue, anxiety, and other disorders but scientists do not know its exact mechanism.
Another fad is detox water that we see getting heavily endorsed by celebrities like Kardashians.
Kardashians might sell, but they are not our most credible source of health information. Scientists, though, are. Researchers at Georgetown University found no scientific evidence in support of detoxifying colon with diet and water. In fact, they concluded that colon cleansing does more harm than good.
Doctors believe your kidneys, colon and liver are so good at cleansing themselves and the body that they do not need “juicing and cleansing”. There is no need to push them to extreme with liver detox, water therapy and Master Cleanse diet.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of hydrotherapy in cancer. Drinking adequate water will keep your skin hydrated and in the course, may prevent or treat acne. A study has shown that coffee also prevents acne.
What Happens When You Drink More Than Enough Water?
By the time you have come to this part of the feature, you are a changed man (or a woman). You now know that too much of water is not good for you. You also know that drinking an extreme amount of water in a short period of time can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Here is what happens when you drink too much of water and too fast.
Water poisoning seriously over-burdens your kidneys that normally expels about half a liter per hour. Normally people do not drink liters of water at once but when they do, they are literally drinking more than their kidneys can pee out.
And then sodium level in your body drops to dangerous levels – a condition called hyponatremia. Sodium’s job is to balance fluid in your body. Drinking too much alters the balance and water leaks from the blood vessels into the surrounding tissue leading to swelling – or edema. Swelling in the brain – called encephalopathy — is a medical emergency. Hyponatremic encephalopathy typically begins with headaches, nausea, vomiting leads to exhaustion, seizures, coma and even death.
Yes, too much water can kill you!
Additionally, when you drink more than enough water, you are also at an increased risk of gaining weight due to edema and water retention, increased blood volume – hypervolemia – which can lead to hypertension, and even bladder cancer.
The best way to prevent water poisoning or intoxication is to avoid drinking more than you can sweat or pee out.
Water Intake Crisis And Athletes
Athletes are the fittest people in the world, and one may think that because they are at the prime of their health and fitness, nothing can go wrong with them. This is both true and untrue.
The wish and struggle to stay fit and at the top of your game can sometimes come at a heavy price. We all know how athletes are prone to breaking their bones, and spraining their ankles and muscles. This is because they overdo – overstretch their muscles, overwork their bodies, and over-drink.
Athletes, particularly marathon racers, tend to consume a lot of water, way more than what their bodies require and can handle. This puts them at an increased risk of hyponatremia which can cause life-threatening diseases, and even death, in athletes.
Hyponatremia, literally means “low salt”, is a condition which develops when sodium level in your body drops to low levels. Sodium is an electrolyte that maintains blood pressure and water balance in your body. A normal sodium level is 135-145 mEq/L. Hyponatremia occurs when the level falls below 135 mEg/L.
Drinking too much water during endurance exercises dilutes sodium in your blood, as a result of which fluid balance in your body is badly affected and water enters into cells and tissues and results in swelling.
To estimate the incidence of hyponatremia among athletes and identify the risk, a study was carried out in 2005 that recruited runners from Boston Marathon. Of 766 runners enrolled, 13% had hyponatremia and 0.6% were critical.
Hyponatremia in runners occur due to long racing time, weight gain during race, extreme body mass indices and consumption of excessive fluids.
The researchers estimated that out of the cohort of 15,000 participants in the Boston marathon, 1900 had hyponatremia.
Long races make runners thirsty which results in them consuming large amounts of water. Too much water in your body is way beyond the capacity of your kidneys to flush out efficiently. As a result, water retention occurs which is strongly correlated with hyponatremia.
Also, the prevalence of hyponatremia is higher in female athletes.
Best defense against hyponatremia is to limit water intake and bring it down to normal level.
Water Intake, Substance Abuse And Party drugs
Party drugs, particularly MDMA (popularly known as Molly or Ecstasy), have a number of problems associated with them. Surely they give you a rush, an intense euphoria and comfort of the experience, they do so at the expense of your physical exhaustion, hyperthermia and increased thirst, the last of which can lead to over-hydration and hyponatremia.
Let me make it simple for you. You know MDMA is extremely popular among party-goers at electronic dance clubs and rave parties, right? If you regularly pop the pill, you might have also experienced that it increases your body temperature – called hyperthermia – and gives you parched lips and increased thirst, right? To ward off the unpleasant effect, you have been instructed to keep yourself hydrated.
But in their attempt to play safe, some users actually overdo. They drink a lot of water without realizing the risk of over-hydration. Over-hydration is a risk factor for hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia in return can lead to diarrhea, over-salivation, swelling, stupor, vomiting, tremors, increased urination, brain edema, paralysis and even death.
The dangers of consuming enormous amounts of water, that too obsessively, when high, are real. You have to be careful, if you are a party-dude. Add some salts to water or drink sports drink to maintain your electrolyte and salt balance.
What Happens When You Drink Too Little Water?
As discussed earlier, mild to moderate dehydration in children and adults affects their physical and mental performance (remember the word we taught you for that – cognition?). As soon as you consume water and maintain a balance, your body achieves homeostasis and switches back to normal function.
So, trust your thirst – it’s there for a reason! Drink when you are thirsty, not because “OMG, it’s 4 PM and you haven’t had your eight cups of water yet.”
Avoid dehydrating yourself though. If dehydration is continued, it affects almost all of your body’s organs including:
Importance Of Water For Digestion And Absorption
When you drink too little of water, you get… you guessed it… constipation. Drinking water infrequently puts you twice at the risk of constipation.
“Water Wise” For Healthy Kidneys
Apart from passing out urine which you think is the main function of your kidneys, the it plays a major role in regulating your body’s water balance and blood pressure. Your kidneys require water for filtration of waste from the body. If deprived of water, the kidneys would not be able to efficiently remove “solute load” from the body.
How Much Water Should You Drink if You Have Congestive Heart Failure?
Blood volume is regulated by water intake. If you drink too little of water, or lose large volume of blood as in by donating or through a wound, your blood volume will be affected which in turn will decrease your blood pressure and increase heart rate – both of which are, of course, not good for your heart. You can even faint when your BP drops to dangerous levels.
A simple tip to prevent orthostatic hypotension, a drop in BP as soon as you stand up, is to drink 300-500 ml of water. Water intake instantly reduces heart rate and increases BP in hypotensive individuals. The effects appear as soon as 15-20 minutes after drinking water and last up to 60 minutes.
How Water Cures Headaches
Remember the times when you complained of a headache and your mom told you it’s because you don’t drink sufficient water? She was right. Dehydration can give you a headache. It can even trigger migraine. Drinking water soothes the throbbing head and provides calm in about 30 minutes to three hours.
However, if you are thinking that drinking a lot of water can prevent headaches in the first place, then hold on to your knickers. There is insufficient scientific data on it and we definitely do not recommend overdoing.
Does Drinking Water Really Give You Glowing Skin?
Your skin contains approximately 30% water. Water makes your skin plump and elastic. Dehydration can lead to reduced skin turgor and increased thickness.
However, drinking a lot of water neither improves your complexion nor prevents wrinkles – both of which are related to genetics, sun and environmental damage. There is a general lack of scientific evidence on what beauty magazines claim: “drinking 8–10 glasses of water a day will flush toxins from the skin and give a glowing complexion.” Fancy bosh-tosh!
Hydration In The Aging
how much water should i drink a day? To stop the aging. It can be devastating. Barring the pre-term babies and very young children, the elderly constitute the most vulnerable age group where anything and everything that would otherwise go unnoticed or have mild effects in healthy adults, can have dire consequences.
Research has proven that dehydration is a risk factor for delirium and dementia in older adults. Owing to advancing age where your body’s requirements change, older people have reduced thirst.
A reduced intake of water and failure to maintain water balance can complicate their health and trigger neurocognitive conditions. Dehydration affects other organs of the elderly in the same way it does in children and adults.