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Jul 26

Stay Hydrated, But Not Too Hydrated

Posted by: mallorygold in Nutrition

Tagged in: Water , liquid , kidney , intake , hydration , health , effects , drink , consumption


We’ve all heard the sayings, “its just water,” and people are constantly promoting drinking at least seven glasses of water, especially in the summer months.  But the truth is drinking too much water can be bad for your health.

Whenever you drink several glasses of water a day solely because you’re told it’s good for you, you are actually putting unnecessary strains on your body. Ingesting more water than you feel you need increases your overall blood volume. Your blood volume exists within your blood circulatory system. Ingesting vast amounts of water needlessly increases your blood volume and can put unnecessary burdens on your heart and blood vessels. In addition, there is a strain put on your kidneys. They must work extra to filter the excess water out of your blood circulatory system. Many people think that the kidneys are the equivalent of a pair of plumbing pipes in which the more water you run through your body and kidneys, the cleaner they become. However, this is not the case. This filtration system that’s established in your kidneys is composed by a series of specific capillary beds, which can get damaged from unnecessary wear and tear over time. Drowning your system with large amounts of water is one of the many potential causes of this damage.

Demanding your body to hold large amounts of water within a short period of time (about an hour or two) can also be fatally dangerous to your health.  Check it out:
-when you force large amount of water into your system over a short period of time, your kidneys struggle to eliminate enough water from your system to keep the liquids at a safe level
-When your blood circulatory system becomes diluted with excess water, the concentration of electrolytes in your blood will drop in comparison with the amount of electrolytes in your cells. In trying to maintain an equal balance of electrolytes between your blood and cells, water will seep into your cells causing your cells to swell.

If this swelling occurs in your brain, the bones that make up your skull won’t budge, they’re too strong.  Thus, your brain has no place to expand to and it gets squeezed. Depending on the amount of water ingested, you may experience a wide variety of symptoms from mild headache to impaired breathing. The most severe side effect of this is death, if enough water is taken in a short enough period of time.  This instance is commonly found in high school and college students who will drink large amount of liquids in a short period of time, from per say a certain card game.

The question that remains is, “How much water should you drink to support your health?” the answer is that it depends on the circumstances of each individual. These circumstances include your diet, exercise habits, environment and even weight.  If you eat foods rich in water like vegetables and fruits, you may not need to drink as much as someone who doesn’t or who adds substantial amounts of salt to their meals. If you sweat on a regular basis because of exercise or where you live, you will need to give your body more liquids.

The best way to go about it is to follow your thirst. You know your body better than anyone else, and if you think you’re thirsty or have a parched mouth, go get that glass of water.


Comments (4)Add Comment
written by BHalll, Monday, 08:04 PM, July 26, 2010
Really good to know. I always thought 7 glasses a day was excessive, especially since I'm not a workout fanatic.
written by bberte, Tuesday, 06:28 PM, July 27, 2010
now i'm thirsty!
written by jross713, Tuesday, 06:32 PM, July 27, 2010
this makes a lot of sense.
written by rpfaus, Wednesday, 06:12 PM, July 28, 2010
Very helpful, Like BHall said, I have always thought the recommended 8 glasses per day was too much. I drink maybe 2 water bottles a day and feel hydrated!

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