Can you drink too much water? A hydration scientist explains the myth

The class was 2007 and Jennifer Strange was competing in a local anesthetic California radio station contest to win a Wii for her children. The challenge ? Drink as much body of water as possible without peeing your pants. This “ Hold Your Wee for a Wii ” challenge seemed like harmless fun as Strange and other contestants drink at first 8 ounce glasses of water every 15 minutes and then larger glasses as the contest continued. Strange came in moment space after drinking more than 1.5 gallons of water. But as she returned to her Sacramento home Strange called friends to complain of an intense headache after completing the contest. When her beget checked on her by and by that day, she found Strange all in from what a coroner subsequently confirmed as water drunkenness or dilutional hyponatremia. competitive urine drink may be an uncommon habit, but drinking gallons of water a day as prescribed by health influencers on TikTok and Instagram isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. These influencers and their motivationally labeled jugs of water seem to lead by the premise that there ’ s no such thing as besides much water. But is that truly true ?

Male hand serving water of a water cooler in plastic cup.
For many people, drinking enough water per day can be a challenge. But for a rare few, it ’ s excessively much urine that poses a risk.Shutterstock Stavros Kavouras is a professor of nutriment at Arizona State University and director of ASU ’ s Hydration Science Lab. Water poisoning is very substantial, although Kavouras says it ‘s highly rare in the general population. Because of this, Kavouras says that union guidelines for water consumption don ’ triiodothyronine tend to include an upper limit. ultimately, the answer is complicated, Kavouras tells Inverse — specially because the science of hydration is in its infancy. “ I like to call water the disregarded food, ” Kavouras says. “ We are merely scratching the coat of the crisphead lettuce right now. I would say during the last 10 years we have learned more than what we knew during the end 100 years. ”

Can you really drink too much water?

“ practically speaking, there is no limit, ” Kavouras says. While water poisoning is a possibility, you would have to “ go above and beyond anything a normal homo might do. ” Where hyponatremia is slightly more coarse, however, is among endurance athletes like marathon or ultramarathoners. While not a rampant trouble, there are a count of report cases of competitors drinking excessively many fluids in their recovery or through their races at a rate faster than they can excrete through perspiration. There are even attested incidences of runners gaining seven to twelve pounds of water system of weights in a single race, Kavouras says. Influencers much swear by hydration .

What are the symptoms of too much water?

In accession to retaining the water they consume, early symptoms of hyponatremia besides include :

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion

much more than just the discomfort of a full bladder, these symptoms occur when the total of water in the body begins to dilute the salt capacity of the blood itself. As a result, cells in the body become boggy and swell — much like a raisin dropped in water, Kavouras says.

For brain cells that are encased in a non-flexible skull, this swelling can result in dangerous pressure on the brain .

How much water in a day is too much?

But how can you know if the sum you ’ re toast is excessively much ? The rule of finger is to observe whether or not you ’ ra experiencing any of the above symptoms or if you ’ ra peeing besides frequently. “ If you catch yourself going to the toilet every 15 to 20 minutes, you ’ rhenium overdoing it, ” Kavouras says. Another way to think about this biological restrict is to consider how fast your kidney — your body ’ south natural Brita filter — can process water. Kavouras says that, on average, our kidneys can handle filtering below half a gallon per hour. Anything above that rate, however, might spell worry. This means that if you ’ rhenium drinking a gallon of water a day to meet your hydration goals, that should be no trouble for your kidney. alternatively, whatever overindulgence your body doesn ’ t want for its biological processes ( like keeping your organs operating smoothly ) will fair be excreted .

How much water should you drink per day?

even though cases of hyponatremia can be alarming to read about, Kavouras says that the biggest health issue by and far when it comes to hydration is still dehydration. This is specially true for older adults, whose crave cues can weaken, and young children. How much water you individually need could vary based on your activeness horizontal surface and torso size. For exercise, a linebacker likely needs more water than a less active voice position worker, Kavouras says .Close up Asian elderly drink water after exercise In the morning. health lifestyle and exercise Conc... As you get older, your consistency ’ randomness natural hydration cues ( like feeling athirst ) might be harder to recognize.Shutterstock On median though, dietary guidelines say optimum hydration can be achieved by drinking between 2.7 and 3.7 liters of water per day, with the lower bind being ascribed to women and the amphetamine to men. crucially, about twenty percentage of this metric function besides includes the water you consume via foods, like watermelon or even bread. This works out to a drinking necessitate per day of approximately eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses, Kavouras says : the alleged “ 8×8 ” rule. This might besides look like peeing 6 to 7 times per day and visual perception diluted, lemonade-colored urine. ultimately, whether you ’ ra water trees on a hydration tracking app or crushing your gallon jug by bedtime, hydration in its many forms will have a positive affect on your health, from cognition to kidney health. Just don ’ thymine overdo it.

CHECK, PLEASE is an Inverse series that uses biology, chemistry, and physics to debunk the biggest food myths and assumptions. Now read this: Scientists reveal the true danger of eating too many carrots

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