Sunday, February 24, 2013

Drinking too much water? - The facts

Are you worried that you are drinking too much water? Similar to this one, people have many questions and doubts. The most important among them are:

  • Drinking 4 to 5 liters – won’t it overload your kidneys?
  •  Won’t your body lose essential salts by passing more urine?
  • Is it harmful to drink more water than required?
  • What is the maximum amount of water you can drink at a time?
  • Who shouldn’t drink more water?
  • Drinking too much water can cause swelling of joints. Is it a fact?
Unless you have clarity on such important issues, you will not be able to get the full benefits of drinking water.

Kidneys get overloaded by drinking too much water – is it true?
Your body has two kidneys. Each kidney has about one million filters called nephrons. Two kidneys – two million filters. Together, they filter five liters of blood twice in an hour. This filtering activity is uninterrupted, whether you drink water or not.

Why blood needs filtering?

There is only one way the nutrients reach body cells – blood. There is only one way the toxins and dissolved waste reach the eliminating organs (skin, lungs and kidneys) – blood.

Since blood carries useful and waste matter, it needs filtering. Filtering does three things:

  1. The required amount of nutrients and salts are sent back into the blood.
  2.  Toxins and waste matter are removed from blood and retained in kidneys.
  3. Extra water is also removed from blood and retained in kidneys.
The retained toxins and waste matter are dissolved in the water and removed as urine.

The important point here is: In a normal healthy person, there is no chance of essential salts being removed through urine. If you pass more urine, only excess salts will come out. Kidneys have balancing mechanism.

Kidneys get overloaded by not drinking enough water.

What happens when there is not enough water in the body?
Since water is required to remove toxins, some minimum amount of water is taken away from blood to remove toxins. Blood is left with less water. When less water is available to dissolve so much waste, urine gets very thick and very toxic.

When body water is very low, it can’t be spared to remove toxins and toxins are sent back into the blood. Next time more toxins join the blood and again sent back into the blood in the next filtering process. This repeated process, because of water shortage, saturates blood with toxins and blood becomes thick.

Repeated filtering of thick blood saturated with toxins damage kidney filters. Such is the importance of drinking water.

So, overloading of kidneys is not because of drinking too much water. It is the opposite. Extra water won't stay in your body for long. If you drink two liters of water, it comes out as urine or sweat in three hours.

Maximum amount of water at a time:
As per the experts, you can drink maximum of two liters at a time. When you drink two liters on empty stomach, your body absorbs water very fast. When water enters blood (all the two liters won’t enter blood), its gets thinner only by 3%. This two liters of water can cause only a small amount of change in your body.

Do you feel it cumbersome to carry water around and remember when to drink? 

Do you want to avoid this problem by drinking all the required water at a time?

Please never do that. If you drink so much water at a time, your blood vessels get filled with water, huge pressure gets built up. It can cause giddiness, vomiting, coma etc. Drink only in the suggested way –

How much water to drink ?

When to drink water ?

– a maximum of 1.5 liters at a time.

Who shouldn’t drink more water?

If you have any of the following health problems, drink water as per your doctor’s advice.

  • Kidney problems
  •  Liver cirrhosis
  • Certain heart problems
  • Glaucoma
  • Water gathering in many body parts because of various other reasons
  • Problems related to thyroid

 Fluid gathering in joints
Many wrongly believe that drinking too much water causes swelling of joints and other body parts.

There are many reasons for accumulation of fluid in joints and other part of the body. One of the reasons is – shortage of water in your body. Surprising? You thought that by drinking too much water, the excess water gathers in the joints.
Not so.

Are you aware that salt attracts water? Deposition of excessive salt is not uniform through out the body. Its presence is more in joints. As salt attracts water, you find fluid gathering in joints.

The reason for excessive salt in the body is – either you are eating too much salt or you are not drinking enough water to flush out the salt…or both.

So, it is not ‘drinking too much water’ that causes fluid gathering, on the contrary, – ‘drinking less water’ is the cause.

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