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Can you drink too much water?

English: Swimmer to the left

Image via Wikipedia

Before I started the detox, I never thought it could be possible. Especially with three quarters of North Americans suffering from dehydration. However, the answer can be yes. But it’s very dependent on factors other than the actual amount. For example, I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, Pacing your water intake? There’s an App for that about a woman in the UK who basically drowned herself. In her case, it was too much water too fast, not just too much water. So in her case, the answer was NO, she didn’t drink too much water, she just drank it too fast.

When someone drinks too much water the process called water intoxication and is the result of over dilution of the sodium in the body, called hyponatremia. Basically, what is going on is that your cells are trying to deal with all the excess water in your system. To do this, they use sodium to maintain the balance, but eventually they will run out. Theoretically, your cells could continue to swell until they burst…ew. So, from the cell’s point of view, you are basically drowning. The way that a doctor would rebalance the body is to administer a special type of saline solution. That would help the cells to regain the concentrations they need to function.

Now, since the adult human kidneys can process up to 15 litres of water a day (that’s 60 eight oz. glasses of water, in case you were wondering) you’d be hard pressed to drink too much water if you were taking your time. Dr. Batmanghelidj suggests, “the body needs no less than two quarts of water and a half teaspoon of salt every day.” in his his book “You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty: Water for Health, for Healing, for Life” In case you were wondering, two quarts is about 1.89 L which is a little over seven 8 oz. glasses. (Don’t feel bad, I had to look it up!) He does also mention that this all needs to be balanced with potassium and iodine to work properly.

The 15 litres a day of course, only applies to HEALTHY adult individuals and I would NEVER suggest that anyone put that to the test. Especially, for example, people who suffer from kidney problems or suffered from congestive heart failure. And of course, if you’ve already managed to suffer from hyponatremia, which is incredibly rare. These people really have to watch their fluid intakes. I would always check with your doctor, no matter what you’re suffering from, what your goal water intake should be.

Basically, if you drink your water throughout the day and you don’t suffer from any of the aforementioned medical issues, you should be fine. The people most at risk of water intoxication are athletes and infants under 6 months. The athletes lose their electrolytes and sodium too fast sometimes. The infants are the ones fed watered down formula their body can’t process well yet. I’m assuming my readers are not of the latter category :p but if you are a mommy, keep that in mind. I’m going to assume that most athletes already know about these dangers, but if you’re ramping up in 2012 to get fit, I’ve placed it on your radar.

Do you think that you, personally, could ever drink too much water? I know I’d be hard pressed to!

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About msjenniferwalker

I'm a Jenn of all trades, as long as they are creative and fulfilling. I'm an actress, writer, photographer and all around social person. I love to learn, travel, meet new people and have new experiences.

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Information and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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