Staying Properly Hydrated Can Actually Extend Your Life, According to New Research

Are you consuming the right amount of water? A new study shows that hydration is linked to your risk of developing chronic diseases.

woman drinking water after a workout
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It may seem like a no-brainer, but a key way to boost your hydration starts with drinking water. As it turns out, having your daily dose of H20 does more than just quench your thirst. According to a new study published in the journal eBioMedicine, consuming enough water each day can decrease your chance of developing chronic diseases, dying early, and being biologically older than your chronological age.

To reach these findings, the research team gathered 30 years of data from 11,255 Black and White adult participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. From there, they discovered that the adults with serum sodium levels up to 146 milliequivalents per liter (high on the end of the spectrum), were more likely to have declining health than those who had lower sodium levels.

The team also found that the people who had over 142 milliequivalents per liter of sodium in their systems had 10 to 15 percent more chance of being biologically older than their chronological age, as opposed to those who rested between the 138 and 140 milliequivalents per liter sodium range (they had the lowest chance of developing a chronic disease). People with above 144 milliequivalents per liter of sodium had a 50 percent higher likelihood of being biologically older and a 21 percent increased risk of dying early. Those who aged the fastest also posed a higher risk of experiencing a chronic disease, such as dementia, diabetes, and heart failure.

As for what this means in connection to drinking water? The results illustrate how adequate hydration can help slow down the aging process and allow for a disease-free life, says Natalia Dmitrieva, study author and a researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of NIH, in a news release. "Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, which is why the results suggest that staying well hydrated may slow down the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease," says Dmitrieva.

Women should aim to drink about 91 ounces of water each day, and men should have about 125 ounces, which comes out to about 9 and 12.5 cups respectively, according to the National Academy of Medicine. You can consult with a doctor for further assessment on your hydration regimen, says Manfred Boehm, MD, study coauthor and director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine, in the news release. "The goal is to ensure patients are taking in enough fluids, while assessing factors, like medications, that may lead to fluid loss," says Dr. Boehm. "Doctors may also need to defer to a patient's current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure."

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