Health A to Z Last updated on 2022-02-04 22:43:13
Water Intake: How Much Water Is Too Much Water?
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
- Fact Checked
What are the benefits of drinking water?All the cells in our body float in a fluid-filled matrix made of water. Not just this, water is a significant constituent inside the cell. Water helps in
(1) Excretion of waste products
(2) Maintains body temperature
(3) Maintains osmolarity of the body fluids and pH
(4) Forms base for the joint fluids, fluid in between the organs,
(5) Helps in digestion and prevention of constipation
(6) Electrolyte balance
How much water do you need per day?Water requirements vary from person to person. And it depends on many factors like,
(1) Where we live: The humidity in the environment influences water intake. Because this indirectly affects the invisible losses from the body. Water requirement in hot, humid areas is more than the counterparts.
(2) Diet: If the consumed diet contains more salts or high sugary foods, or more caffeinated beverages, this can lead to dehydration or more water loss, and indirectly, this can lead to more water intake.
(3) Temperature/Season: Summer temperatures mandate more water intake due to perspiration.
(4) Health conditions: Pregnancy and breastfeeding increase water requirement by the body since effectively two human bodies are dependent.
(5) Level of physical activity: Due to exercise and increased physical activity, water can be lost while breathing and sweating. As a result, it will increase the daily water requirement.Ideally speaking, there is no particular value for daily water intake. It depends on many factors, as mentioned above. One needs to talk to their doctor or dietitian if they are unsure about their requirement. According to the US National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, someone living in a temperate climate requires around 2.7 - 3.7 liters of fluids in a day. Fluids include water intake and other sources like foods and beverages. About 20% of fluid requirement comes from foods and beverages.
Why is excessive water intake dangerous for the body?As a general rule, one can drink approx. 2-3 cups of water per hr. A few nutrition experts also advise taking half an ounce of water per kg body weight. Our kidneys will be overburdened as the limiting capacity of water filtration is roughly around 800-1000 ml per hour again, which is dependent on several internal and external factors. Signs of adequate water intake include pale or light yellow pee color or rarely feeling thirsty. Water intoxication is a rare phenomenon but may occur and is dangerous for the body due to the electrolyte disturbances that it can lead to. Since there is too much water inside the body leading to less sodium effectively, the excess water can enter the cells, and cell swelling can happen. This will damage our brain as the area for expansion of brain cells is limited inside the fixed skull area. How much water intake is needed per day depends on many factors and not just one. Guidelines for most of the individuals, in simple terms, are
(1) Drink enough water to keep the urine pale and clear
(2) Drink when you feel thirsty and try to drink gradually
(3) In high-temperature conditions or excess exercise, make sure to increase your water intakeWhen in doubt, it's better to reach out to an expert and understand the requirements. Read more on keeping yourself hydrated during self quarantine.
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