According to research published in eBioMedicine by the National Institutes of Health, those who drink enough fluids had a lower risk of developing chronic diseases like heart and lung illness and a longer life expectancy than those who don’t.
Serum salt levels, which rise with decreased fluid consumption, were studied in relation to a number of health markers using data collected on 11,255 people over a 30-year period. The researchers discovered that persons whose blood sodium levels were over the upper limit of the normal range were more likely to acquire chronic diseases and exhibit evidence of advanced biological aging compared to those whose serum sodium values were in the middle of the normal range. Higher concentrations were associated with an increased risk of premature death in adults.
Results from the current study build on those of a previous study by the same team of researchers, published in March 2022, which linked higher-than-normal blood sodium levels to an elevated risk of heart failure. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) research, which included thousands of Black and white individuals throughout the United States, found both of these things. Since its inception in 1987, the ARIC sub-study has contributed significantly to the understanding of cardiovascular disease risk factors and the development of therapeutic recommendations for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
The current study drew on data collected from five medical appointments spread out throughout the course of the participants’ lives, beginning with two in their fifties and concluding when they were between the ages of 70 and 90.
Adults with high blood sodium levels at baseline or with underlying disorders like obesity that potentially impact serum sodium levels were not included in the analysis of hydration’s association with health outcomes.
Sodium levels & aging
Following that, they looked at the relationship between serum sodium levels and biological aging, as measured by 15 different health indicators. This included things like cholesterol, and blood sugar, all of which gave information on the health of the heart, lungs, kidneys, metabolism, and immune system.
Scientists discovered that people whose blood sodium levels were over the usual range of 135 to 146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) showed symptoms of biological aging at a quicker rate. Measures of metabolic and heart health, lung capacity, and inflammatory levels were used to draw this conclusion.
The risk of developing multiple diseases was up to 64% higher in persons whose blood salt levels were more than 142 mEq/L. The risk of having a chronic condition was lowest among persons whose blood sodium levels were between 138 and 140 mEq/L.
The researchers stressed that their results do not indicate a causal relationship. If optimum hydration really can encourage healthy aging, avoid illness, and lead to a longer life, then we need randomized, controlled experiments to prove it. However, clinical treatment and individual health behavior may still benefit from the correlations.
The majority of individuals are able to safely raise their fluid consumption to the recommended amounts, and this may be accomplished with water or other fluids such juices or foods with a high percentage of water. The National Academies of Medicine, for instance, recommend that women drink between 6 and 9 cups of water per day while males drink between 8 and 12 cups.
They also referenced studies showing that over half of the global population falls short of the daily total water consumption requirements, which typically begin at 6 cups (1.5 liters).
The objective is to make sure individuals are taking in adequate fluids while considering variables, including medicines, that might contribute to fluid loss; others may require medical assistance owing to underlying health issues.
This may have significant repercussions on a worldwide scale. Because dehydration is the most prevalent cause of elevated blood sodium, these findings imply that maintaining a healthy water intake could slow down the process of aging and prevent or postpone the onset of chronic illness.