Adults who stay well-hydrated appear to live longer and develop fewer chronic health conditions, a study suggested today.
US researchers found that drinking more water ‘may slow down ageing’ and encouraged people to ensure they drink the recommended eight glasses a day.
The study of more than 11,000 over-30s tracked sodium levels in the blood, which increase when you drink less fluid.
They found adults with higher levels were 64 per cent more likely to get chronic diseases like heart failure and stroke than those in the medium ranges.
Adults with higher levels were also more likely to die younger, they said.
Adults who stay well-hydrated appear to live longer and develop fewer chronic conditions, a study suggested today
Researchers suggested restricting water leads to DNA damage and inflammation, speeding up the ageing process.
Lead author Dr Natalia Dmitrieva, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said ‘The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down ageing and prolong a disease-free life.’
She said most people can safely increase their fluid intake to meet recommended levels, which can be done with water as well as other fluids, like juices, or vegetables and fruits with a high water content.
The study did not specify how much water is needed exactly to slow down the effects of ageing.
But the NHS Eatwell Guide recommends adults drink between six to eight cups of fluid a day. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
Dehydration causes a variety of short-term problems, including dizziness, tiredness and headaches.
Drinking less fluids over the long-term can also raise the risk of other issues, including constipation, kidney stones and poor skin.
In the most serious cases, out-of-balance electrolytes — such as potassium or sodium — caused by dehydration can cause seizures and muscles spasms.
And a sharp fall in blood pressure caused by reduced blood volume can cause the body to go in shock from a drop in oxygen supply.
But drinking too much water can also be dangerous, causing cells to swell in a condition known as hyponatraemia. Kung fu legend Bruce Lee is believed to have died from it.
The latest peer-reviewed findings were published in the eBioMedicine journal.
In March, the scientists published a study which found links between higher ranges of normal serum sodium levels and increased risk of heart failure.
For the new study, researchers assessed information participants shared during five medical visits — the first two when they were in their 50s and the last when they were between 70 and 90.
They excluded adults who had high levels of serum sodium at baseline check-ins or with underlying conditions, like obesity, which could affect serum sodium levels.
The team then evaluated how serum sodium levels correlated with biological ageing, which was assessed through 15 health markers.
They included blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, which showed how well each person’s cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, kidneys and immune system was functioning.
They also adjusted for factors including age, race, biological sex, smoking status and hypertension.
Results showed adults with higher levels of normal serum sodium — with normal ranges falling between 135-146 milliequivalents per litre (mEq/L) — were more likely to show signs of faster biological ageing.
This was based on indictors like metabolic and cardiovascular health, lung function and inflammation, they said.
Adults with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L had up to a 64 per cent increased associated risk for developing chronic diseases like heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and peripheral artery disease, as well as chronic lung disease, diabetes and dementia, they added.
But adults with serum sodium levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic disease, they said.
The researchers said the findings do not prove a causal effect because they were purely observational.
Results from previous studies suggest having lower hydration levels than normal can cause a variety of factors known to speed up ageing.
Writing in the study, they said: ‘Increased sodium in cell culture models as well as water restriction in mouse model triggered the same changes that have been identified as underlying factors for accelerated aging and are currently considered as targets for anti-aging interventions.
‘These processes include pro-inflammatory and pro-coagulation changes within vascular endothelial cells, DNA damage, protein oxidation, increased energy expenditure due to metabolic remodeling towards metabolic water production and cellular scenescence.’
They said randomised, controlled trials are needed to see if ideal hydration can promote healthy ageing, prevent disease and lead to a longer life.
In other health news…
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Ditching meat and animal products for ‘Veganuary’ this New Year can make you depressed, cause higher risk of broken bones and miscarriages, experts warn… As one in eight Britons aged 18 to 24 plan to take up the diet
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Odell Beckham Jr, wide receiver for the New York Giants, said he doesn’t like water.
Water accounts for about 60 percent of the human body, including 90 percent of our blood.
That’s why it is essential for almost every bodily function to work effectively and smoothly.
There is no consensus on how much water a day you should drink, but it is generally agreed that eight glasses of water a day is sensible.
A FEW REASONS WHY WATER IS ESSENTIAL
1. For clear eyes and full hearts
Water lubricates the eyes to keep them moist and help vision. It also pumps oxygen through the body, which is key for heart health.
2. To stay limber
Cartilage is 80 percent water. Those who swap out water for soda have a higher risk of joint pain and injuries.
3. For clarity of thought
The brain is used to a certain amount of water, and when it’s dehydrated we get dizzy, slow of thought, with slower reactions.
4. To digest food
Water is like gasoline for our bowels. Without it, stool doesn’t break down properly, the stomach can fill with acid, increasing the risks of stomach ulcers, colon cancer, heartburn, constipation, and metabolism disorders.
5. Keeping blood pressure in check
When the blood lacks water, it thickens, increasing blood pressure.
WHAT IF YOU ONLY DRINK SODA?
1. Tooth decay
Water is essential for flushing bacteria out of your mouth. Soda does a great job at loading up teeth with plaque.
Most soda has caffeine in it, which is a diuretic and dehydrating.
Because it’s a diuretic, it means you need the toilet more than if you were drinking water, which also increases dehydration.
3. Poorer athletic performance
A recent study showed dehydration and fluid loss worsens performance in any physical activity that lasts longer than 30 minutes.
4. Weight gain
Even low-calorie sodas are no match for water when it comes to calories. Two Cokes, for example, will add 300 calories to your daily total. Even Diet Coke, with zero calories, affects your weight because the replacement sweetener, aspartame, has been shown to derail metabolism.
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