Can You Drink Too Much Water?

Yes, it’s true: You can have too much of a good thing.


While your body needs water to contract muscles, digest your food, absorb supplements and live your best life, too much hydration can backfire and trigger serious health complications.


The Symptoms of Drinking Too Much Water


Your brain cells are predominantly water, and overhydration often shows up in your mood first. You may feel sluggish, irritable or experience other changes in your mood that aren’t normal.


But that’s not all! Additional risks and symptoms of drinking too much fluids include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps or spasms


If left untreated, overhydration can result in you passing out and even ending up in a coma.


How to Prevent Overhydration


“Drink more fluids” is preached day in and day out in many health circles, but that doesn’t mean you should be guzzling fluids every single minute.


The Institute of Medicine recommends that a healthy adult drinks approximately 100 ounces of fluids a day. However, factors like your age, gender, level of athletic fitness, and physical activity can have obvious implications on these guidelines.


If you’re working out today and want to avoid overhydration, one easy way to do reduce your risks is by weighing yourself before and after your workout. For every pound that you’ve lost (which signals fluid loss), drink 16 ounces of fluids.


Even better, the fluids you take in should include a bit of sugar and electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. These ensure your body is able to quickly recover, without exposing you to the problems of overhydration.


For more information on the benefits of water and how to measure how much you should be drinking, check out "How much water should you drink."

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