Water is often compared to life, and not without reason. According to a recent study by scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), how much water you consume is crucial to your longevity. It demonstrates that middle-aged individuals with higher blood serum sodium levels are more susceptible to ill health and a higher risk of early mortality. When a person does not drink enough fluids or water, their serum sodium levels increase. The range of normal serum sodium concentrations is 135–145 milliequivalents per litre (mEq/L).
The risk of being older than one’s chronological age was also found to be up to 50% higher in participants with low serum sodium levels (less than 142 mEq/L). Dr. Natalia I. Dmitrieva, the study’s primary author and an NIH researcher in Bethesda, Maryland, said the study demonstrated that mice with restricted access to water lived six months shorter lives than mice that were adequately hydrated. This is roughly equivalent to reducing a human lifespan by 15 years.
While there are many other controlling factors, such as kidney function, Dr. Dhiraj Bhattad, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, explains the study as follows: “Sodium level served as a proxy for water consumption since high levels closely align with hypohydration or water insufficiency.”
So, how much water ought one to actually consume? The field of modern medicine also lacks a conclusive solution. Few societies advocate drinking six to eight glasses, or roughly two litres, of water per day. Nevertheless, it is not a general advice. Usual guidelines for water intake come from our thirst centre. It might not be as sensitive in older people, or they might avoid drinking water to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom, especially if they are incontinent. Well-hydrated older adults have been shown to experience fewer falls, fewer constipation issues, and a lower risk of urinary tract infections. People who engage in more strenuous physical activity or competitive sports, who live in hotter climates, or who consume more salt or protein should drink more water. Contrarily, patients with heart and kidney problems should limit their water intake. Dr. Bhattad continues, “Unnecessary water intake may increase the risk of hyponatremia.
Approximately 50% of people, including children, do not consume the recommended amounts of alcohol, according to a population survey, the speaker mentions. In order to help us live healthier and longer lives, it is crucial for everyone to drink enough water. If you don’t eat well-balanced meals, exercise, and take good care of any illnesses you may have, only hydration by itself will be sufficient, he claims.
As part of the “Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study,” scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s Laboratory of Cardiovascular Medicine performed a cohort analysis on data from 1985 to 2021. (ARIC). ” Participants in ARIC ranged in age from 45 to 66 at the time of enrollment. The 15,752 study participants were monitored over a 25-year period. According to Dr. Dmitrieva’s research, chronic habitual hypohydration raises the risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life and of dying at a younger age.
The average amount of water consumed by young adults and middle-aged people varies by age, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC recommends an average of 51 ounces per day for people aged 20 to 39. 43 ounces of water per day is the standard for people aged 40 to 59. Some people with higher body mass indices (BMIs) might require more water.
Dr. Dmitrieva added that while electrolyte drinks, coffee, and tea can help you reach your hydration goals, they shouldn’t typically be your primary source of fluids. It is best to choose plain water as your primary source of hydration or to flavour it with cucumber, lemon, or lime for best heart health. She continued by saying that foods high in water, with at least 90% of their composition being water, are also beneficial. Foods that are hydrating include strawberries, cucumbers, and watermelon.