How much water do we really drink a day?

If you have recently spent some time on social networks or have been in a sporting event lately, they have surely bombarded you with messages of encouragement to drink more water.

Influential celebrities carry water bottles of almost 4 liters as if it were the new fashion accessory.Twitter bots constantly remind us that we must spend more time hydrating.Some reusable water bottles even come with motivating phrases to encourage us to drink more water throughout the day.

The supposed benefits of excessive water consumption are apparently endless, from the improvement of memory and mental health to the increase in energy and the improvement of complexion."Stay hydrated" has become a new version of the old greeting "Take care".

But what exactly does it "stay hydrated"?"When the profane talk about dehydration, they refer to the loss of any liquid," says Dr. Joel Topf, nephrologist and attached clinical professor of Medicine at the University of Oakland, in the state of Michigan.

But that interpretation "has been completely disproportionate," said Kelly Anne Hyndman, a researcher at renal function at the University of Alabama, in Birmingham.

Staying hydrated is definitely important, he said, but the idea that simply drinking more water will make people healthier is not true.Notr is it correct that most people are chronically dehydrated, or that we should drink water all day.

From the medical point of view, Topf said, the most important measure of hydration is the balance between electrolytes such as sodium and water in the body.And it is not necessary to drink a glass after another of water throughout the day to keep it.

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The amount of water needed in one day will also depend on health.A person with a disease such as heart failure or renal calculations may need a different amount from someone who takes diuretic medications, for example.Or you may have to modify your intake if you were sick, with vomiting or diarrhea.

¿Cuánta agua necesitamos beber al día realmente?

For most young and healthy people, the best way to stay hydrated is simply drink when you are thirsty, says Topf.On the other hand, the elderly, between 70 and 80 years old, perhaps must pay more attention to the intake of sufficient liquids, because the feeling of thirst can decrease with age.

And, despite popular belief, you should not trust the color of urine to accurately indicate your hydration state, said Hew-Boutler.Yes, it is possible that dark yellow or amber urine may mean that you are dehydrated, but there is no solid evidence that suggests that the color, by itself, should incite drinking.

Do I have to drink water to keep me hydrated?

Nott necessarily.From a purely nutritional point of view, water is a better option than less healthy alternatives such as sugary drinks or fruit juices.But when it comes to hydration, any drink can add water to your system, hew-butler pointed out.

A popular belief is to drink drinks with caffeine or alcohol dehydrate.If that's true, the impact is insignificant, Topf said.A 2016 random controlled study with 72 men, for example, concluded that water, beer, coffee and tea impacts were almost identical.

You can also get water from what you eat.Foods and foods rich in liquids, such as fruits, vegetables, soups and sauces contribute to water intake.In addition, the chemical process of food metabolization produces water as a byproduct, which also contributes to intake, according to Topf.

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When one becomes dehydrated, the concentration of electrolytes in the blood rises and the body gives the signal to release the vasopressin hormone, which ultimately reduces the amount of water released in the urine so that it can be reabsorbed again in thebody and recover balance, Hyndman explained.

Unless you are in an unusual circumstance - making a very intense exercise very hot or losing many liquids due to vomiting or diarrhea - it is not necessary to replenish electrolytes with sports drinks or other products loaded with them.Most people get enough food electrolytes, says Hew-Butler.

But drink more water, even when I am not thirsty, will improve my health, right?

Not.Of course, people with certain conditions, such as renal calculations or autosomal dominant, more rare, can benefit from making an effort to drink a little more water than their thirst would indicate, Topf clarified.

But in reality, most healthy people who blame their discomfort to dehydration can feel bad because they are drinking too much water, Hyndman speculated."Maybe they hurt their heads or feel bad; they think: 'I am dehydrated, I need to drink more', and they keep drinking more and more and more water, and they continue to feel worse and worse".

If you drink at a higher rate than your kidneys can excrete, your blood electrolytes can be diluted too much and, in the slightest case, it could make you feel "off".

In the most extreme case, drinking too much water in a short period of time could lead to a condition called hyponatremia, or "water poisoning"."This is very scary and bad," said Hyndman.If blood sodium levels fall too much, it can cause cerebral inflammation and neurological problems such as seizures, coma or even death.

In 2007, a 28 -year -old woman died of Hyponatremia after drunk.In this contest the participants were challenged to drink water and then spend as long as possible without urinating.

In 2014, a 17 -year -old football player, from the High School in Georgia, died from this condition after having drunk almost 4 liters of water and a similar amount of sports drink.

This condition has become very common among those who exercise, that when someone collapses during a race, lifeguards are trained to consider hyponatremia, Topf said, although developing severe hyponatremia is rare for most people.

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How can I know if I am sufficiently hydrated?

Your body will tell you.The notion that staying hydrated requires complex calculations and instantaneous adjustments to avoid dire health consequences is simply nonsense, experts said.And one of the best things that can be done is stop thinking about that.

Instead, the best advice to stay hydrated, according to Topf, is also the simplest: baby when you are thirsty.It is that easy.