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A recent study published on the biomedicine website shows that not drinking enough water can be associated with many health problems, and scientists also believe that dehydration could contribute to premature aging of the body in adults. While it is recommended to drink between 2 liters and 2.5 liters of water daily depending on one’s lifestyle, a team of researchers from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the United States believe that hypohydration would prematurely age the human body and conversely drinking enough water would have an anti-aging effect.
This hypothesis emerged after observations made on mice in which prolonged dehydration decreased the lifespan by six months or fifteen human years. To confirm this hypothesis, the researchers analyzed data collected from 15,000 people aged 45 to 66 years. The study did not track daily water consumption but serum sodium concentration, a biological parameter that depends on water intake. Average values, measured in millimoles, a counting unit for molecules or atoms, should be between 135 and 146 mmol/liter, with too high a serum sodium concentration being a sign of dehydration.
When dehydration occurs, two mechanisms appear to restore the balance, the first is a sensation of thirst and the second is the secretion of vasopressin by the hypothalamus, also called antidiuretic hormone, to promote the reabsorption of water by the kidneys. The serum sodium concentration was monitored for 25 years in the participants of the study and the scientists observed that those who had a serum concentration higher than 142 mmol/liter, had 10 to 15% more risk of being biologically older than the others, the risk rising to 50% for people whose concentration was higher than 144 mmol/liter.
Biological age is calculated by taking into account fifteen different biological indicators such as blood pressure and blood sugar. A serum sodium concentration between 144 and 146 mmol/liter increases the risk of premature death by 21% and the risk of developing a chronic disease by 64%.
The study does not formally demonstrate a causal link between serum sodium, biological age and health, but for Natalia I. Dmitrieva, first author of the study, this research suggests that sufficient hydration may slow aging and extend the period of disease-free life. With a blood test to monitor sodium levels in the blood, Natalia I. Dmitrieva recommends drinking more if the concentration is above 142 mmol/liter, whether it is water or other liquids, and increasing consumption of water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.