Scientists have revealed a link between drinking enough water and aging

"Proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life.”
Nergis Firtina
A senior woman drinks water.
A senior woman drinks water.

Rawpixel/iStock 

It is an indisputable fact that drinking water is beneficial for our health. In addition to its contribution to metabolism, it also plays an important role in keeping the skin moist. According to the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) new study, drinking water also links people to age in a healthy way.

As stated in the release, researchers looked at the relationship between several health markers and blood salt levels, which rise when fluid intake declines. The study included health information acquired from 11,255 participants over a 30-year period. 

They discovered that, compared to adults with serum sodium levels in the middle of the normal range, those with serum sodium levels at the higher end of the range were more likely to acquire chronic illnesses and exhibit symptoms of advanced biological aging. Adults with higher levels had an increased risk of passing away earlier in life.

“The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life,” said Natalia Dmitrieva, Ph.D., a study author and researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH. 

Scientists have revealed a link between drinking enough water and aging
NIH findings may provide early clues about increased risks for advanced biological aging and premature death.

NIH 

The research builds on earlier work that was published in March 2022 and discovered associations between greater normal ranges of serum sodium levels and elevated risks for heart failure. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, which included substudies involving thousands of Black and White people from across the United States, is the source of both findings. Since the first ARIC sub-study began in 1987, clinical recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart disease have been developed.

Assessed through 15 health markers

Researchers evaluated how serum sodium levels correlated with biological aging, which was assessed through 15 health markers. They discovered that persons with normal serum sodium levels over 135 to 146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) were more likely to exhibit indications of biological aging at a faster rate.

“People whose serum sodium is 142 mEq/L or higher would benefit from evaluation of their fluid intake,” Dmitrieva said.

She pointed out that the majority of people could raise their fluid intake to the recommended amounts without risk and that this was possible with water as well as other fluids such as juices, vegetables, and fruits with high water content.

“The goal is to ensure patients are taking in enough fluids while assessing factors, like medications, that may lead to fluid loss,” said Manfred Boehm, M.D., a study author, and director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine. “Doctors may also need to defer to a patient’s current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure.”  

The study was published in eBioMedicine on January 2.

Study abstract:

It is known that some people age faster than others, some people live into old age disease-free, while others develop age-related chronic diseases. With a rapidly aging population and an emerging chronic disease epidemic, finding mechanisms and implementing preventive measures that could slow down the aging process has become a new challenge for biomedical research and public health. In mice, lifelong water restriction shortens the lifespan and promotes degenerative changes. Here, we test the hypothesis that optimal hydration may slow down the aging process in humans.

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