Nearly half of people worldwide do not meet the recommended total daily water intake, a new report shows
But drinking enough water can delay the aging process for many.
A new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in eBioMedicine suggests as much – although there are caveats to be aware of.
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“These results show that proper hydration can slow aging and prolong disease-free life,” said Natalia Dmitrieva, PhD, study author and researcher at the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, in news release.
The researchers studied the relationship between sodium levels in the blood and certain health markers – and explained that blood sodium levels increased when fluid intake decreased.
Adults with serum sodium levels at the higher end of the normal range are more likely to die at a younger age.
They are also more likely to have chronic conditions and show more advanced signs of biological aging, compared with those in the medium range, the NIH report said.
The study authors explained that hydration plays a role in serum sodium levels.
The normal serum sodium range should be between 135-146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L), according to the NIH release.
The study authors explained that hydration plays a role in serum sodium levels.
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“Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, so these results show that staying well hydrated can slow the aging process and prevent or delay chronic diseases,” he said.
The team collected data from 11,255 participants over a 30-year period.
The NIH release shows that the team found that serum sodium of more than 142 mmol/l for middle-aged people is associated with a 39% increased risk of developing chronic diseases – and up to a 64% increased risk of dementia and chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke , atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease.
Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether an optimal amount of fluid intake can help prevent disease and promote healthy aging.
Staying hydrated is also linked to better health, fewer chronic conditions and longer life, the study said.
The researchers also found that participants with serum sodium levels above 144 mEq/L had a 50% increased risk of being “biologically older” than their actual age – while those around 142 mEq/L had a 15% increased risk. compared to those with a range between 137 and 142 mEq/L
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Adults with levels between 144.5 and 146 mEq/L presented a 21% risk of premature death compared to those between 137-142 mEq/L, the NIH report also said.
The study authors found that adults with serum sodium levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic diseases.
The NIH release, however, notes that the researchers’ findings do not prove a causal effect – and randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether an optimal amount of fluid intake can help prevent disease and promote healthy aging.
The researchers say that the correlation found in the study can help guide the behavior of individuals and be informative for doctors.
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“People whose serum sodium is 142 mEq/L or higher will benefit [an] assess fluid intake,” Dmitrieva said in an NIH release.
It is important for people to discuss with their doctor the amount of water that is right for them and their individual situation.
People can increase their fluid intake with water as well as juices, vegetables and fruits with a high water content, the release said.
Health experts say that certain medical conditions can also affect fluid intake or require fluid restriction – so it’s important for people to discuss with their doctor how much water intake is right for them and their individual circumstances.
“The goal is to make sure the patient is getting enough fluid, while evaluating factors, such as medications, that may cause fluid loss,” said Manfred Boehm, MD, study author and director of the Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, at the NIH. discharge.
Boehm also said in the release, “Physicians should also suspend the patient’s current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure.”
Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, is director of the Mount Sinai Heart Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. He wasn’t involved in the study, but he told Fox News Digital that the findings were interesting and provocative.
“The authors’ findings are in line with the advice we get from mothers – drink six to eight glasses of water a day,” he said.
“Staying hydrated is probably a good idea, although for the average healthy person, I wouldn’t say drink more water unless you’re thirsty.”
“More recently, the conventional wisdom has been challenged, with experts instead of recommending drinking water only when really thirsty and not on a schedule.”
Bhatt warns, “Elderly people or people with dementia … may lose their sense of thirst — and in that situation, more scheduled water consumption may be beneficial.”
Bhatt, who is also a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System, pointed out that the researchers looked at sodium levels — and did not directly study the amount of daily water intake.
“To prove that drinking more water can improve health requires randomized trials with the gold standard,” he said.
“The bottom line: Staying hydrated is probably a good idea, although for the average healthy person, I wouldn’t say drink more water unless you’re thirsty,” he says.
“Maybe, in this peri-pandemic era, some people can work from home and stick to the computer, it’s more important not to lose time and make sure you get enough water to stay hydrated.”
Dr. Marzena Gieniusz, internist and geriatrician in the Department of Medicine and Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Northwell Health in New York, told Fox News Digital, “One important thing to take away from this study is that more research needs to be done to understand the dynamics between hydration and aging, and how best to optimize hydration in different situations, and on an individual level to improve health and outcomes.
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He added, “The findings of this study do not prove a causal effect – and more hydration is not synonymous with better hydration, healthier aging and better outcomes for everyone. This is important to understand.”
Dr. Gieniusz, also an assistant professor at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, also said, “Optimal hydration depends on the individual and the body’s needs, which are affected by various factors including, but not limited to, activity level. , medical conditions , weather, etc.”
He noted, “When it comes to recommendations on how much water or fluids to drink, it depends on the individual. The standard 6-8 cups a day doesn’t apply to everyone.”
“The body is designed to regulate and maintain balance – although self-regulation and maintaining balance become more challenging as we age.”
Added Gieniusz, “The human body is very complex – and we’re still learning how the various systems work independently and interact, including the systems that use and balance salt and fluids in the body.”
He said: “We know that the body is well designed to regulate and maintain balance – although self-regulation and maintaining balance become more challenging as we age.”
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For example, he said, “as we get older, we often experience thirst, so the elderly can drink. [fewer] Fluids, which can increase the risk of dehydration or dehydration – and can sometimes lead to complications. But sometimes that can be a good thing.”
He added, “Certain medical conditions (e.g. heart failure), which are more common in the elderly, may benefit from limiting fluid and/or salt intake, and some patients even take medication to remove water from the body in order to manage it better. . a medical condition.”
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Current guidelines from the National Academy of Medicine recommend women should drink 6-9 cups (1.5-2.2 liters) per day and men should drink 8-12 cups (2-3 liters) per day, according to the release.