These days, everyone is concerned about drinking enough water. Our doctors keep on asking us to drink enough water, as our busy lifestyle keeps most of us dehydrated. So, we try to regulate our water intake by buying smart reminder water bottles, and by installing water drinking reminder apps on our phone. Consequently, do we end up drinking too much water?
So, how much water should we drink?
Recommendations of total fluid intake differ according to sources. In fact, there is no specific number set on stone. Moreover, it depends on a variety of factors like age, sex, environment, fitness-level, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status.
The adequate intakes recommended for total water from all sources each day for most adults between 19 and 30 years of age are:
- 3.7 liters for men
- 2.7 liters for women
Typically, food provides about 20% of total water intake. Many fruits and veggies, watermelon and tomatoes, for instance, are 90% water by weight. Apart from food, the tea and coffee we drink on a daily basis contribute to our fluid intake. Many people forget to factor in the fluids we receive from food.
Many people on a weight loss regime make it a point to drink lots of water, as it helps to accelerate metabolism. Herbal weight loss supplements can also help to burn fat fast without any side effects. In their enthusiasm to lose weight fat and suppress hunger, most weight-watchers end up drinking too much water over a period of time.
So, how much water should you drink?
According to the Centre for Disease Control, your water intake should be guided by your thirst and not a specific number.
So, what happens if you end up overhydrating yourself frequently?
Here are 5 dangers of drinking too much water
Drinking too much water can reduce the sodium levels of the body
This condition is called hyponatremia and is very dangerous. Reduced sodium levels in the body can lead to organ failure, seizures, and even death. Symptoms of overhydration are quite similar to that of dehydration – headaches, nausea, confusion, and bloating.
Too much water can swell up your cells
Decreased sodium in the body will cause water to enter into your cells by the principle of osmosis. This will result in the swelling of cells. The same is applicable to your brain cells. Too much water will cause your brain to swell and push against the skull producing a headache.
Overhydration can cause hypokalemia
Hypokalemia is a condition in which the level of blood potassium is too low. Potassium is very important in regulating muscle cell functioning, especially that of heart muscle cells. Consuming excessive water can hamper the potassium ion distribution in the body leading to weakening of muscles. If you are experiencing symptoms like muscle cramps and spasms, may be go easy on the water.
Overburden your kidneys and heart
The excess water you drink can overwhelm your kidneys. It puts too much pressure on your kidney to flush that out as urine and may also spark chronic kidney diseases. Too much water will increase the volume of blood in your body. This can put unnecessary pressure on your blood vessels and heart. Beyond that, it can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
It can cause fatigue and lethargy
Your kidneys may be small, but every 30 minutes they filter every drop of blood in your body. Even though they are as good as workhorses, if you overwork them constantly, it will create a stressful reaction from hormones. This can make you feel fatigued. If you inexplicably feel lethargic all the time, water intoxication could be a reason.