This is a very simple question with a complex answer. We’re not going to be the first to tell you that staying hydrated is crucial for normal body function.
Your body weight consists of 50-70% water. Throughout the day you constantly lose water through sweat, urine and breathing. Studies show that even slight dehydration (loss of 1-2% of water) may lead to memory impairment, decreased concentration, headaches and even anxiety. But have no fear, these losses are compensated by liquids and food that you consume throughout the day.
Your body regulates your water balance through special mechanisms – ADH (antidiuretic hormone) plays a key role. When water levels decrease, the osmotic concentration of blood plasma increases and because of this ADH begins to work. It signals the kidneys to increase water absorption and urine becomes more concentrated.
Dehydration usually occurs in hot weather, in people who actively engage in athletic activities, and with individuals with certain medical conditions.
Studies show that increasing water intake is an effective way to prevent bladder stones and urinary tract infections (UTI’s). This is because high water intake dilutes the concentration of substances in urine along with the increase of urine volume itself. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 2.7-3.7 liters of fluid intake per day to keep your body in balance. This amount includes water from drinks and food (vegetables, fruit, soups, juices etc.)
Am I drinking enough water?
You’re probably drinking enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow. Your health professional can help you figure out the right amount of fluids that you need.
Can I drink too much water?
In very rare cases, drinking too much water can cause a decrease in sodium concentration in the blood. Overall feelings of fatigue, nausea and a heavy feeling in your stomach may also appear. This is because the kidneys and stomach cannot cope with large amounts of fluid. It’s important to always listen to your body and the signals that it sends you. There is no single formula that fits everyone.
Always remember to seek qualified medical opinions if you have any health issues or questions. Be sure to consult with a specialist about your individual drinking regimen, taking into consideration your needs and contraindications.