How much water does your body need? Does excess harm? 4 answers from 2 experts

drinking water bottle and glass

No doubt, drinking water is essential for the proper functioning of all of your body organs. Nutritionists and health experts keep on advising all their patients and the public to drink plenty of water or fluids to remain healthy and fit.

But, how much water should one drink a day is a difficult question. What if one drinks too much water?  Is it dangerous or beneficial?

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Here are some answers from an expert.

1. It differs from person to person

Prof Dr Rishi Kumar Kafle, a senior nephrologist at Sumeru Hospital, informs that different body types living in different geographical, climatic, and working conditions require different amounts of water intake in a day. For example, the requirements of a person living in warmer places differ significantly from a person living in other areas. Likewise, age, sex, and the amount of physical work that a person does play vital roles in determining the water requirements of a person. It is always better to consume everything including water in balance. 

2. But, there is a standard

However, it is generally accepted that drinking two to three litres of water a day is necessary and adequate for an adult individual.

Kafle says, “One needs to drink as much water as they need to urinate about two to three litres a day.”

3. Drinking enough water is important

Meanwhile, Dr  Akhilesh Kumar Kashyap, a consultant gastroenterologist, and hepatologist at Grande International Hospital, informs, “Drinking water a little more than the body requires does not have any harm in the body parts related to gastroenterology, mainly stomach and liver.”

Further, he says that it will aid in preventing constipation.

4. But, too much drinking can lead to grave consequences

Dr Kashyap also warns that intaking way too much water is definitely not good for health.

A lot of foods that one consumes have water in them. For instance, milk, rice, lentils soup, curry, juice, and other foods in the form of fluids contain water. One needs to balance the water intake accordingly, informs Kafle.

If one drinks too much water, all the organs, mainly kidneys and heart, have to work a lot, which could bring some complications in the health of a person.

“When one consumes a lot of water and if the kidneys cannot turn all of the liquid into the urine, there will be an excess amount of water in the body”,  says Kafle, “If this happens, electrolytes are diluted in the blood. Therefore, the heart cannot pump the blood causing the body parts to swell.”

Drinking excessive amounts of water can lead to water intoxication (hyponatremia). This will decrease the sodium levels in one’s blood causing cells to swell. It happens when fluids enter the inside of cells from the outside due to drinking too much water.

And, if brain cells happen to swell, it can become lethal, suggests the expert.

The excessive consumption of water can cause ailments like headaches, vomiting, nausea as well as severe symptoms like muscle cramping, drowsiness, difficulty in breathing, increased blood pressure, and others.

Therefore, drinking too much water is not beneficial for the health of one’s body, informs  Kafle.

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