Body moisture slows down aging and reduces the risk of dying young
A new study has concluded that proper fluid intake can slow down aging by halving the risk of dying young.
Adults who drink about two liters of water a day have fewer life-threatening diseases such as heart and lung disease. They also live longer than those who may not be getting enough fluids.
The results, published in the journal eBioMedicine, are based on 11,255 people who were followed up for 30 years. This may lead to a screening program for older patients.
Known as the “8×8 rule,” the recommendation recommends drinking eight 8-ounce glasses a day—about two liters—in addition to any other beverages.
“The results show that adequate hydration can slow down aging and prolong disease-free life,” said co-author Dr. Natalya Dmitrieva of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Maryland.
The research team analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Community Study (ARIC), which included participants from all over the United States.
And blood samples have shown that people with higher sodium levels, which rise with less fluid intake, are more likely to have chronic disease and accelerated biological aging.
They were also more likely to die at a younger age than their peers, whose levels were in the middle range.
The researchers assessed the information participants shared during five visits to the doctor: the first two when they were in their 50s and the last two when they were in their 70s and 90s.
Biological aging was measured by 15 markers, including blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
It emphasizes the health of the cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, renal and immune systems.
Other factors were taken into account, such as age, race, gender, smoking history, and high blood pressure.
And adults with sodium levels above the normal range, defined as 135–146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L), are more likely to show signs of decline.
This was based on indicators such as metabolism, cardiovascular health, lung function, and inflammation.
For example, people with readings above 144 mEq/L are 50% more likely to be biologically older than their chronological age.
This was compared to a range of 137 to 142 mEq/L. Levels around 143 mEq/L are associated with an increased risk of up to 15%.
Chronic diseases rose by two-thirds (64%) in those with sodium levels above 142 mEq/L and included heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease, lung disease, diabetes and dementia.
Conversely, peers with sodium levels between 138 and 140 µmol/L had the lowest risk of developing these diseases.
“People with a serum sodium level of 142 mEq/L or higher would benefit from assessing fluid intake,” Dr. Dmitrieva said.
Most people can safely increase their fluid intake to the recommended level, which can be done with water as well as other fluids such as juices or high water vegetables and fruits.
The National Academy of Medicine, for example, suggests that women consume 6 to 9 cups (1.5 to 2.2 liters) of fluid per day, while men consume 8 to 12 cups (2 to 3 liters).
Others may need medical attention due to underlying medical conditions.
Co-author Dr. Manfred Behm, director of the Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at NHLBI, said: “The goal is to ensure that patients are drinking enough fluids, and to evaluate factors, such as medications, that can lead to fluid loss. Physicians may also need to adhere to the patient’s current treatment plan. For example, limiting fluid intake in heart failure.” About half of the world’s people do not meet recommendations for total daily water intake, which often starts with six cups (1.5 liters).
“On a global level, this can have a significant impact,” says Dr. Dmitrieva. “Low body water is the most common factor leading to excess sodium in the blood.”