Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Drinking Too Much Water Bad For You?



Short answer

Although very rare, drinking too much water can be dangerous. More specifically, it isn't drinking too much water that's bad, but the imbalance of water to electrolytes in your body after consuming large amounts.



Long answer

Water is one of the six essential nutrients to life. You need it to live and maintain a properly functioning body. So, should drinking too much water be a concern?

When your body loses water (from sweating, excreting waste, and breathing), it also loses electrolytes. This creates an imbalance of water to sodium known as hyponatremia. When you are at this state of imbalance, drinking a lot of water will simply dilute the already low levels of electrolytes causing the sodium levels in your body to also become dangerously low. Most commonly, this will cause your cells to swell and symptoms such as lightheadedness and nausea to arise. In the rarest case, you can actually die.

The over consumption of water is mostly seen in athletes, as their intense workouts cause tons of electrolytes to be lost. It is said that there are 14 known cases of athletes dying due to too much water (and not enough electrolytes) during physical activity.

How much is too much? The American Chemistry Society claims 6 liters (around 25 cups) can kill a 165-pound human. So, try not to drink that much water in one sitting. If you have been engaging in physical activity and are concerned about overconsuming water, simply mix in a half teaspoon of salt to ensure the proper balance between your sodium and water levels.

Possible short-term side effects

  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • puffiness
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • vomiting
  • delirium
  • death

Big is drinking to much water bad for you.

Healthier alternatives

  • add salt to your water (will help balance sodium levels)

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Written by Rachel Adams | 12-28-2015

Written by Rachel Adams
Suggest improvement or correction

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