T Nation

Die From Drinking Too Much Water?


#1

WTF?


#2

This is uncommon but not unbelievable.

in 2007, a woman died in a water drinking contest held by a radio station to win a Nintendo Wii.

Google Jennifer Lea Strange.

Also I've heard of people dying from drinking too much water in an effort to counter the effects of a drug they took (narcotics).


#3

Hyponatremia and hypernatremia are real, and possible. But you would have to be a fucking idiot to drink water (or don't) to the point that you die.


#4

Yeah, I remember this story.

Can't really blame the girl though. If you told me I could have $300(not interested in a wii) for drinking a gallon of water in under ten minutes I would do it in 5.


#5

Not when you also aren't allowed to pee.


#6

X2- hyponatremia can indeed be fatal

You actually start to get a feeling that has been compared to being drunk as your sodium gets lower, so I can see it going south fast if your judgment starts degrading if you are in some kind of speed drink bet.


#7

I believe what happens is drinking way too much water messes with your electrolytes, which can cause your heart to misfire and stop (arrhythmia). But I imagine that's not easy to do accidentally. Probably most people would get very uncomfortably full and even puke before they ever reached the danger zone.


#8

Yeah...it happens in Marathons where the slower, more unfit runners are out there running for 3 or 4 or 5 hours and keep drinking water and sweating and soon their hearts stop from lack of sodium.
At least that's how I think they die. I mean the sodium thing.


#9

this is also why you aren't supposed to drink distilled water.


#10

I had come across this a long time ago doing research for a class project on the safety of herbal supplements.

There was a great quote I wish I could remember.

It was something like, "anything can be toxic given a high enough dosage, the key is the spread between the effective dosage and the maximum safe dosage.


#11

Pretty sure a few college kids pledging have died this way too. They made them drink a 5 gallon jug and kept refilling it. Or that was a t.v. show....I can't actually remember now :X


#12

A lot of Australians walk the Kakoda trail, which was made famous in WW2 when soldiers had to endure the notorious trek in tropical Papua New Guinea.
Many tourists have died doing the trail and they are now finding this is the very reason. People are so worried about hydration they are drinking gallons and depleting their body of minerals, especially sodium.
They now recommend taking electrolytes with their water and at different check points I believe they may be having mineral levels checked.