Drinking Too Much Water Is Dangerous For Your Health

From: Letters to my patients —

Please read these articles about drinking too much water and kidney and heart disease and sudden or slow death. The cause? Kidney damage, with findings of increased proteinuria ( increase in protein in the urine) The reason is not spoken of here, but due to too much water, the cells cannot absorb protein (and other nutrients), and protein gets flushed out in the urine, which can lead to our muscles (the Heart is a muscle) being in a catabolic state. Not too healthy for us, and worse for athletes. This can cause sudden death or a slow decline. Also, when there is too much water in the stomach while eating food does not get broken down by enzymes and prepared for absorption by digestion in the duodenum, small and large bowel, because the water interferes with the stomach wall’s contact with the food, which signals the release of enzymes. Excess water also dilutes the amount of enzymes that are present in the stomach.
We’ll talk more about this at your next visit. Thanks, Emi

Strange but True: Drinking Too Much Water Can Kill
In a hydration-obsessed culture, people can and do drink themselves to death.
By Coco Ballantyne | June 21, 2007

Going overboard in attempts to rehydrate is also common among endurance athletes. A 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to one sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of hyponatremia, or dilution of the blood caused by drinking too much water.
Where did people get the idea that guzzling enormous quantities of water is healthful? A few years ago Heinz Valtin, a kidney specialist from Dartmouth Medical School, decided to determine if the common advice to drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day could hold up to scientific scrutiny. After scouring the peer-reviewed literature, Valtin concluded that no scientific studies support the “eight x eight” dictum (for healthy adults living in temperate climates and doing mild exercise). In fact, drinking this much or more “could be harmful, both in precipitating potentially dangerous hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants, and also in making many people feel guilty for not drinking enough,” he wrote in his 2002 review for the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. And since he published his findings, Valtin says, “not a single scientific report published in a peer-reviewed publication has proven the contrary.”

Every hour, a healthy kidney at rest can excrete 800 to 1,000 milliliters, or 0.21 to 0.26 gallon, of water and therefore a person can drink water at a rate of 800 to 1,000 milliliters per hour without experiencing a net gain in water, Verbalis explains. If that same person is running a marathon, however, the stress of the situation will increase vasopressin levels, reducing the kidney’s excretion capacity to as low as 100 milliliters per hour. Drinking 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water per hour under these conditions can potentially lead a net gain in water, even with considerable sweating, he says.

Can Drinking Too Much Water Hurt Your Kidneys?
Brain Swelling
While drinking too much water is hard on your kidneys, one of the biggest dangers is to your brain. Drinking more water than your kidneys can process means that water is soaked up by other cells in your body. Most cells are able to stretch to accommodate the extra water, but brain cells aren’t as forgiving because they’re packed tightly in your skull along with blood and cerebrospinal fluid, explains Wolfgang Liedtke, a Duke University Medical Center neuroscientist, in an article for “Scientific American.” If your brain cells swell with too much water, you may experience seizures, respiratory problems, coma or even death.
How Much Water
A common “rule” often discussed when it comes to water consumption is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. While some people, such as athletes and those who live in hot climates, may need that much water, most people do not need to drink 64 ounces or more per day, according to Dr. Heinz Valtin, a physician at Dartmouth Medical School, in a 2002 article for “DMS News.” While the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommends about 1 milliliter of water for each calorie of food, most of that water comes from prepared foods. Valtin also rejects the idea that people are dehydrated by the time they feel thirsty, and suggests thirst is a good regulator of fluid intake.

A 2013 study published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” offers further support for drinking only when you’re thirsty instead of following specific hydration guidelines. The study assessed dehydrated cyclists’ performances after they were given either no water, just enough to bring them to 2 percent dehydration or enough water to fully rehydrate them. Researchers administered the water intravenously so the cyclists were unaware of how much, if any, water they received. The study found virtually no difference in performance levels between groups when they participated in a 25-kilometer time trial in the heat and wind.

Proteinuria found in many people with polyuria.

LONDON, Ont.—Drinking two liters of water per day may not benefit most individuals and even could be harmful, investigators say.

At the Canadian Society of Nephrology annual meeting here, re-searchers from the University of Western Ontario, also in London, presented a study showing a significant correlation between excess urine production—which is usually caused by excess fluid intake—and proteinuria.

The large population-based study un-covered a fivefold higher risk of proteinuria among people with polyuria than among those with normal urine volume, even after taking into account such factors as age, sex, and estimated glomerular filtration rate.

If investigators replicate this finding, further research should be conducted to determine the renal consequences of drinking two liters of water per day, said lead investigator Jessica Sontrop, PhD, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics.

“Such a finding would have important implications, given the silent nature of kidney disease and the widespread, but unsubstantiated, belief that drinking eight glasses of water per day is healthy.”

The finding of proteinuria in people with polyuria was first made by W.F. Clark, MD, a nephrologist and chair of the Walkerton (Ontario) Health Study Operations and Research Committee. During routine screening, he observed proteinuria and polyuria in 100 adults with no medical history, medication use, or renal testing abnormality to explain their condition.

Proteinuria was reduced in these subjects after restricting fluid intake, indicating the cause was voluntary fluid intake (CMAJ. 2008;178:173-175). Dr. Sontrop and five investigators affiliated with the Walkerton Health Study subsequently conducted an analysis of all 3,098 participants. Of these subjects, 490 had proteinuria; in all but 23, the condition was mild.

When managing patients with polyuria and proteinuria, nephrologists may want to obtain a series of 24-hour urine collections after a period of moderate fluid-intake restriction, Dr. Sontrop suggests. This should indicate whether the proteinuria is tied to excess fluid intake or to some other factor.

Nephrologist Stanley Goldfarb, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a specialist in renal electrolytes and hypertension, suggests caution before al-tering clinical practice based on this observational study.

“It is not clear why drinking more fluid would lead to increased protein excretion,” Dr. Goldfarb said. “It may be that measuring very small amounts of protein in large volumes of urine introduces some systematic error; it is also unclear why [the individuals involved] drank so much fluid. Do they have a history of kidney problems, or do they have an occupation which exposes them to some factor that provokes proteinuria? But the results are worthy of further study.”


About Emi Miller

Emi Miller has practiced Integrative Holistic Medicine for thirty years. She is a Registered Nurse, Nationally Certified Holistic Nurse, NCCAOM Certified Asian Bodywork Therapist, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, and an Interfaith, Stephen Minister. Emi is also a meditation teacher and Pastoral Care Counselor. She has been a student of the world's Spiritual traditions for more than fifty years, and blessed to receive wisdom from many Masters and Saints. She is dedicated to helping bring forth unity of the world's religious Ideals, and the reality of the One Creator of All. Besides her writing and studying the sacred religious traditions, Emi enjoys long walks by the ocean, music and theatre, taking journeys and discovering beauty in natural places, and visiting with good friends and family.
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