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You may know that getting enough fluids is important for daily bodily functions. aspect regulates temperature and protects skin health.
But drinking enough water is also associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic disease, a lower risk of dying prematurely, or being biologically lower than your chronological age, according to a National Institutes of Health study published Monday in the journal eBioMedicine.
“The results show that proper hydration can slow aging and prolong a disease-free life,” said Natalia Dmitrieva, a researcher at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, a division of the NIH. in a newsletter.
In the study, the authors said that learning which preventive measures can slow the aging process is “a major challenge in preventive medicine.” The reason for this is the emergence of an epidemic of “age-related chronic diseases” as the world population is aging rapidly. And prolonging a healthy lifespan can help improve quality of life and lower health care costs more than simply curing diseases.
Based on previous similar research in mice, the authors thought that optimal hydration could slow the aging process. In these studies, lifelong water restriction increased the mice’s serum sodium by 5 millimoles per liter and shortened their lifespan by six months, the equivalent of about 15 years of human lifespan, according to new research. Serum sodium can be measured in the blood and increases as we drink less fluid.
Using more than 30 years of health data collected from the Risk of Atherosclerosis in Communities study, or ARIC, from 11,255 Black and White adults, the research team found that adults’ serum sodium levels were at the higher end of the normal range — the equivalent of 135 to 146 milliliters per liter. (mEq/L) — had worse health outcomes than those at the lower end of the range. Data collection began in 1987, when participants were in their 40s or 50s, and the average age of participants at the final assessment during the study period was 76 years.
Compared with participants in the 137 to 142 mEq/L range, adults with levels above 142 mEq/L had a 10% to 15% higher chance of being biologically chronological. participants with higher The risk of aging faster also increased the risk of chronic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes and dementia by 64%.
People with levels above 144 mEq/L had a 50% higher risk of being biologically older and a 21% higher risk of dying prematurely. Adults with serum sodium levels between 138 and 140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic disease. The study did not include information on how much water the participants drank.
A professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant epidemiologist at Brigham, Dr. “This study adds to observational evidence that reinforces the potential long-term benefits of improved hydration on reductions in long-term health outcomes, including death,” said Howard Sesso. and via email to the Women’s Hospital in Boston. Sesso was not involved in the study.
However, Sesso added, “It would be nice to combine hydration definitions based on serum sodium levels alone with actual fluid intake data from the ARIC cohort.”
Biological age was determined with biomarkers that measure the performance of different organ systems and processes, including cardiovascular, renal (kidney), respiratory, metabolic, immune and inflammatory biomarkers.
High serum sodium levels weren’t the only factors associated with the risk of disease, premature death, and faster aging—people with low serum sodium levels also had a higher risk.
The authors said this finding is consistent with previous reports of increased mortality and cardiovascular disease in people with low regular sodium levels attributed to diseases that cause electrolyte problems.
The authors said the study analyzed participants over a long period of time, but the findings did not prove a causal relationship between serum sodium levels and these health outcomes. They added that further studies are needed, but that the findings could help doctors identify and guide patients at risk.
“People with serum sodium of 142 mEq/L or higher will benefit from an evaluation of their fluid intake,” said Dmitrieva.
Sesso noted that the study did not strongly address rapid aging, “a complex concept we are only just beginning to understand.”
“There are two main reasons for this,” Sesso said. The study authors relied on “a combination of 15 measures for accelerated aging, but this is one of many definitions with no consensus. Second, its data on hydration and accelerated aging were a ‘snapshot’ of time, so we have no way of understanding cause and effect.
According to several studies cited by the authors of the new study, about half of people worldwide do not meet the recommended daily intake of water.
“At a global level this could have a huge impact,” Dmitrieva said in a news release. “Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, so the results suggest that drinking good water may slow the aging process and prevent or delay chronic diseases.”
Our serum sodium levels are affected by fluid intake from water, other fluids, and fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
A professor at the university, Dr. “The most impressive finding is that this risk (for chronic disease and aging) is evident even in people whose serum sodium levels are at the upper end of the ‘normal range’,” said Richard Johnson. via e-mail from Colorado School of Medicine. He was not included in the study.
“This challenges the question of what is really normal and supports the notion that as a population we are probably not drinking enough water.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, more than 50% of your body is made up of water, and this water is also essential for many functions, such as digesting food, creating hormones and neurotransmitters, and delivering oxygen throughout your body.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommends that women consume 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of fluid per day and men consume 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of fluid per day. This recommendation includes all liquid and water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups. Since the average water intake ratio of liquids to food is about 80:20, this means 9 glasses per day for women and 12 ½ glasses for men.
People with health problems should talk to their doctor about how much fluid is right for them.
Director of the Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. “The goal is to ensure that patients are getting adequate fluids while evaluating factors that can lead to fluid loss, such as medications,” Manfred Boehm said in a news release. “Doctors may also need to delay a patient’s current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure.”
If you’re having trouble staying hydrated, you may need help getting the habit into your regular routine. Try leaving a glass of water by your bedside to drink when you wake up, or drink water while your morning coffee is brewing. Behavioral scientist, founder and director of the Stanford University Behavioral Design Laboratory, Dr. Fix your hydration habit in a place where you’ve been several times a day, BJ Fogg previously told CNN.