According to a study, well-hydrated individuals are generally healthier, less susceptible to chronic illnesses, which include lung and heart disease, and live longer compared to individuals who are not getting enough fluids.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104404
Making use of health data obtained from 11,255 individuals over 30 years, associations between serum sodium levels, which increase when fluid consumption decreases, and a variety of indicators of health were analyzed.
The researchers observed that individuals with higher serum sodium levels were more likely to get chronic illnesses and exhibit signs of advanced biological aging compared to individuals with medium serum sodium levels. Individuals with higher levels also had a higher risk of dying younger.
The researchers evaluated information shared over 5 medical visits by the individuals participating in the study, the first 2 visits when they were in their 50s, and the last visits when they were between 70 and 90 years of age.
Participants were excluded who had high serum sodium levels at baseline check-ins or with underlying conditions, such as obesity, that could have an effect on levels of serum sodium.
The researchers then looked at how levels of serum sodium correlated with biological aging, which was evaluated by way of 15 health markers. This included factors like blood sugar, cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure which provided insight into how well each individual’s renal, metabolic, respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune system was functioning. Other factors were also adjusted for, such as high blood pressure, smoking status, biological sex, race, and age.
They observed that individuals having higher serum sodium levels, with normal ranges ranging between 135 and 146 milliequivalents (mEq) per liter, were more likely to exhibit signs of quicker biological aging. This was according to indicators such as cardiovascular and metabolic health, inflammation, and lung function.
As an example, individuals with levels of serum sodium higher than 142 mEq per liter had a 10 to 15% increase in probability of higher biological age in comparison to their chronological age, while levels higher than 144 mEq per liter were associated with a 50% increase. Similarly, ranges of 144.5 to 146 mEq per liter correlated with a 21% increase in risk of premature death in comparison to levels between 137 and 142 mEq per liter.
Likewise, individuals with levels of serum sodium higher than 142 mEq per liter had as much as a 64% increased chronic disease risk such as peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and heart failure, in addition to dementia, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. On the other hand, individuals with levels of serum sodium between 138 and 140 mEq per liter had the lowest chronic disease risk.
Individuals whose serum sodium level is 142 mEq per liter or more would benefit from a fluid intake assessment. The majority of individuals can safely increase fluid intake to satisfy recommended levels, which can be accomplished with water in addition to other fluids, such as juices, or high water-content fruits and vegetables.
The National Academies of Medicine recommends that the majority of women consume approximately 1.5 to 2.2 liters of fluids every day and men 2 to 3 liters.
The most common serum sodium increasing factor is reduced body water content, and that’s why the results indicate that being well hydrated could help slow down the aging process and delay or prevent chronic diseases.