Water may be the purest symbol of life. Indeed, science seems to agree. Nearly two thirds of of our body is made up of water and almost 90% of the biological processes we go through everyday use water. We are always losing this precious fluid when we breathe, run ,walk, sweat or urinate. In a nutshell, we lose too much water every waking second of our lives, which is why it is so important to replenish our stocks from time to time.
Yet there is a little snag. apparently, drinking too much water can pose a serious risk to health. There now exists evidence that points to the fact that we do not need every single drop we lay our hands on; we need just enough. You’ve probably seen those infomercials that tell you that drinking as much water as your system can hold is great for your body. Well, they are wrong.
Water is one of the regulators of osmotic balance in the body. When you drink too much of it over a short span of time, the kidneys have to work hard retaining what the body needs and expelling what it does not. As a result, the blood becomes a little waterlogged-literally. The water has to be accommodated at some point, so it leaves the bloodstream and makes its way into cells, which will now swell in a bid to acclimatize to the new roles they find themselves tasked with. Some parts of the body can soak up this pressure but others cannot. The results in extreme cases are arrests, comma, brain stem herniation and ultimately, death.
If this does not surprise you, then the next fact will: in 2007, Jennifer Strange from California entered a water-drinking contest healthy, hydrated and fit as a fiddle. In the competition, she downed six liters of water. It was a case of drinking more than you can stomach, because the aftermath of this contest was vomiting, nausea and death.
Two years earlier, a 21 year-old man had died of water intoxication at the University of California in Chico. Apparently, he had been forced to take too much water in between exercises.
According to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, a sixth of all marathon athletes suffer from over-consumption of water, a condition known as hyponatremia. This problem is also prevalent among other people in occupations that demand a lot of physical exertion.
Doctors advise us to drink water only when we are thirsty, and add that 3 liters a day for males and 2.5 for women is good enough. We should be happy to take just what the doctor ordered and no more!