How Much Water Is Too Much Water To Drink?

Americans are often inundated with the idea that they should be drinking plenty of fluids, namely a lot of water. It’s essential to drink plenty of liquids, but it is actually possible to go above the healthy limit.



There is such thing as water intoxication, and it occurs when there is a dilution of sodium (a component of salt) in the body’s system, known as hyponatremia. Water intoxication takes place in most cases with infants typically under six months of age, or among athletes, compelled to keep hydrated. When a baby deals with water intoxication, he or she has typically drunk more than three water bottles, or perhaps had too much infant formula that may have been diluted. Athletes often lose a lot of water and electrolytes through exercise, so if a dehydrated person tries to overcompensate by drinking too much water, without the necessary electrolytes, they run the risk of water intoxication.

How Water Intoxication Occurs:   

When the cells of the body deal with too much water, the tissues then distend with a surplus amount of fluids. Basically, the cells manage a particular concentration gradient, and then excess water outside of the cells tends to draw sodium internally into the serum, at which point, the necessary concentration is attained. When even more water is present, the serum drops, and then hyponatremia occurs. There are many ways in which cells regain their electrolyte balance, e.g., the water on the outside of the cells will penetrate the cells through osmosis. Even though electrolytes are concentrated within the cells instead of externally, the water that exists outside of the cells is in fact more concentrated because they have less electrolytes. Both of the water and electrolytes move through the membrane of the cell in an attempt to balance the levels of concentration. In extreme circumstances, if the action is followed, cells might distend to the point that they could burst.

Water Intoxication Effects:  

From the perspective of the cell itself, water intoxication creates roughly the same effects that might result from drowning in fresh water. An electrolyte imbalance and swelling of the tissues might produce a syncopated (weak and irregular) heartbeat, which could then perhaps cause fluids to enter into the lungs, in addition to the eyelids fluttering. Moreover, swelling can often put unnecessary pressure on the nerves and the brain, which can cause behaviors that mimic alcohol intoxication. When the brain tissues begin to swell, seizures, stroke, coma, and death might occur unless fluid intake is halted and a saline salt concoction is administered or ingested. In the cases that treatment is administered before tissue swelling causes too much cellular damage, then a full recovery can more than likely be expected within only a few days.

Healthy Water Intake:   

In most cases, an adult’s healthy kidneys will process up to fifteen liters of water each and every day. It is highly unlikely to suffer from water intoxication even when it appears that too many fluids have been taken in, but it’s essential to space out the intake throughout the day, instead of taking in many fluids at once. A general guideline to follow is that adults need about three quarts of fluids on a given day. A lot of water, interestingly enough, can be found in many commonly consumed foods, so 8-12 (eight-ounce) glasses is recommended on a daily basis. Often when the weather is very warm, when a person is exercising a lot, or happens to be taking medications, then that number may fluctuate a bit. It’s important to remember that too much of what is normally good thing can be harmful, and that too many fluids can be consumed. However, unless you’re training for a marathon or engaged in other highly taxing exercises, water intoxication is a pretty unlikely condition and actually quite difficult to achieve.

What Is Your Daily Water Consumption?   

How many glasses of water you consume on an average daily? Though it’s necessary to keep yourself properly hydrated, but you need to keep a check so that you might not be over doing it. Share your thoughts below.

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7 comments on “How Much Water Is Too Much Water To Drink?
  1. Bryan says:

    Oohh so even water can be too much.I never really thought of that. For me, I use a 1.5L container of a soft drink for my water and I consume up to 3 of those.

    • RJS KOCHHAR says:

      Drink sufficient amount of water to keep yourself properly hydrated, but avoid over drinking. Though conditions like water intoxication are rare and are reported under certain conditions, it is always better to be within safe limits.

    • Grace @ Personal Trainer Chicago says:

      Hi Bryan, there’s some kind of a proper measurement of how much water you should take. You just divide your weight (in pounds) into two,the resulting half should be the amount of water you should take in (in ounces).

      This is a very informative post and anyone who might bump into this post can learn something 🙂

  2. Gordon says:

    Anything is bad in excess it’s all about balance. Yes every reaction in your body starts with water but everyone has different amounts of water they need depending on how much sun they get and how heavy they are. It’s like asking somebody how much water do I give this flower in order to grow. It’s all individualized.

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