Staying hydrated is linked to a longer, healthier life, new study finds

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The secret to a longer and healthier life? At least part of the answer could be very simple: water.

A new peer-reviewed study published Monday in the journal eBioMedicine, part of The Lancet, suggests that people who hydrate well are less likely to show signs of aging and chronic disease. The researchers analyzed the health records of more than 15,700 adults ages 45 to 66 over more than 25 years, looking specifically at their serum sodium levels, or the amount of sodium in their blood. These levels are an indicator of their hydration habits, according to the researchers.

What they found was that people who had more than 142 millimoles of serum sodium — the upper limit of a normal range — had a 39% higher risk of developing chronic disease and up to 50% more likely to have biological age markers “older than their age.” chronological age.” Those with more than 144 millimoles of serum sodium also had a 21% increased risk of premature death.

“The results suggest that proper hydration can delay aging and extend a disease-free life,” study author Natalia Dmitrieva, a researcher at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said in a news release. . “…This can have a major impact worldwide. Decreased body water is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, so the results suggest that staying well hydrated may help slow the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”

The study doesn’t prove that drinking more water will reverse aging — such a determination would require further interventional studies — but it does suggest that people with high blood sodium levels are more likely to experience “biological aging, a chronic disease.” develop and die at a younger age”. age,” the study says, adding that dehydration is one of the main factors that increase these levels.

According to the researchers, the optimal serum sodium range for the lowest risk of chronic disease and/or premature death is between 138 and 142 millimoles. Those with a level of 142 or higher “would benefit from having their fluid intake assessed,” Dmitrieva said.

Checking your hydration may have other benefits. Proper hydration is essential to help your body regulate temperature, improve athletic performance and maintain proper organ function.

So how much water is enough?

According to the National Academies Institute of Medicine, adult women should have an average of 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day, while adult men should have about 3.7 liters (125 ounces). But it doesn’t all have to come from glasses of water; it also includes the water consumption of other drinks and foods.

These figures are based on the expected needs of healthy, relatively inactive people in temperate climates, so the actual amount of hydration a person needs may differ based on physical activity, exposure to heat, the amount of food you eat, and other variables .

There are also several ways to judge if you are not getting enough water. According to Kaiser Permanente, urine that is darker in color or noticeably less frequent may be an indicator, along with bad breath, dry mouth, fatigue, and sugar cravings. Bigger problems, such as confusion, dizziness, fainting, or palpitations, can also be a sign of dehydration.

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