Sunday, March 15, 2009

Can Drinking Water Make You Sick?

Too much of a good thing can spell disaster for athletes, dieters, and health nuts alike. Read on to find out how. By Seth Czarnecki You’ve read it on health blogs, diet websites, and fitness magazines: Drink eight glasses a day—every day. For the majority of us, we struggle just to make this mark, let alone exceed it. But could you actually ingest too much water? The answer is simply: Yes. Hyperhydration —also known as water intoxication—can cause sufferers’ brain to swell ultimately leading to fatigue, coma, or even death. Although relatively unknown, water intoxication has serious and real consequences. In 2007, Jennifer Strange died of over hydration when she partook in a water drinking competition. A local radio station hosted a contest entitled “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” in which contestants were asked to drink as much water as possible without using the restroom. Attempting to win the Nintendo Wii game system for her children, Strange complained of severe headaches. Though is it not known exactly how much water she consumed, the Coroner conducting the preliminary investigation stated her death was consistent with water intoxication. How Water Intoxication Works? According to researchers at the National Institute for Health (NIH), disturbs the body’s electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are required to maintain normal body functions such as blood pH, nerve and muscle function. Overhydration, as well as dehydration, upsets the electrolyte balance resulting in a rapid decrease in the body’s sodium levels. This is a condition known as hyperatremia. The kidneys cannot cope with an excess amount of liquid resulting in the minerals in the blood being diluted and a dangerous decrease in the body’s sodium levels. As the sodium concentration falls, water moves into the brain cells, which can result in a feeling of lethargy, coma, and death. How Much is Too Much? Water is essential to the body’s proper function. We are comprised of approximately 60 percent water, and when we are dehydrated—under 60 percent—our body cannot perform vital functions. Although the “eight cup a day” rule is a good benchmark to strive for, the answer to your water query is not so cut and dry. Depending on your weight, sex, the climate in which you live, one could get by on as little as 6 cups a day or as many as 13. However, one thing remains true: too much water is a dangerous prospect. As a general rule, a human should not consume more than 1.5 gallons of water per hour. Drink for Health Aside from the obvious benefits of drinking the recommended amount of water per day, the liquid of life can also be looked at as the fluid of fat loss. In a recent study conducted by the Oakland Research Institute in California, dieters who replaced all sugary drinks with an 8oz. glass of water averaged a net weight loss of 5 pound per year. What’s more, a 12 oz bottle of water results in an average of 25 calories burnt. Essentially, if you drink the recommended eight glasses a day, you can burn off your favorite candy bar and then some! Courtesy of Quality Health

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