myFM: Is drinking too much water risky?

by Lianne Phillipson January 13, 2021

myFM: Is drinking too much water risky?

Inspired by a listener question (thank you, Myrtle!): Is drinking too much water risky? She has heard of doctors telling people that they are drinking too much. 

First, this goes around every now again with the story that someone died from drinking too much water. What we don’t hear is the rest of the story. That perhaps the person being talked about had run a marathon and didn’t balance electrolytes, namely sodium. Or it was a soldier in training and in a similar situation: over drinking water without balancing electrolytes. The third common situation is inpeople with schizophrenia, more from a compulsive behaviour situation. So, if none of these are you, it’s unlikely that you’re going to drink too much. 

Side note: And beforeyou go and add more salt to dinner, it’s needed in balance with potassium and chloride. More so if you’re sweating profusely while running a marathon. 

So, for us every day, health issues associated with dehydration are much more common. Constipation is the number one issue of dehydration that I see that people don’t know about. Dry lips, dry skin, dry mouth and bad breath are fast-to-notice symptoms you need more water. Not peeing 4 times a day and when you do, seeing dark urine that can even smell are also signs that you need to go and have a big glass of water. Or two. Even if you’re low in energy, go drink a glass and see how you feel. 

Drinking 2 litres of filtered water each day, to the point of your urine being a light straw colour, is ideal. 

Don’t like water? I hear it all the time. Coconut water is the most hydrating drink that I’ve come across. Herb teas count, as does black coffee. Dilute juice by ½ or less with water works too. I had a colleague share with me the other day that she’s drinking those lightly flavoured soda waters from a can – about 5 a day. She thought she was doing great. Welllll, not exactly. The phosphoric acid that makes the bubbles fights with calcium and can create brittle bones and contribute to osteoporosis. 

So in a nutshell, Myrtle, water intoxication or overload is rare, and it is very difficult to consume too much water by accident.

Listen to the segment

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