T Nation

Too Much Water Bad? WTF?


Fellow T-Nation Members, you may not have heard about this yet:


Essentially, these researchers are saying that over-consumption of water is really bad for your kidneys - they even mention that 16 glasses a day is 'extreme'.

Now, the vast majority of us on this site drink more than this and many of our coaches explicitely recommend up to a gallon (or more) a day of the clear stuff - so, what do we make of this latest research?

I like to follow the recommendation that if my urine isn't clear, I need water to keep fully hydrated...which leads me to drinking enough water to give these guys fits.

Would really love some insight from the members, specifically anything the nutritional & research gurus around here can offer (i.e. Berardi, Marion, Shugart, Cressey, Barr, Lowery, Mohr, etc.).


I never drank a gallon. I always thought it was stupid to drink so much that you are pissing every 15 minutes. I drink a couple pots of herbal tea a day and that is enough for me.


I think a lot of people go overboard with the amount of water they drink.

Fore the most part, I just drink when I'm thirsty.

I've gone through periods of drinking more, but never noted any benefit.


I drink water until I start pissing it out right after consumption. After that, I take it easy.


I tend to not put too much thought into studies down on regular(read sedentary) people and compare it to a protein eating heavy weight training individual, that's my policy.

Bodybuilding(I'm using my hobby here as an example) in itself is not the safest healthiest thing, you are forcing your body to do something it doesn't want. With the inreased protein intake for building muscles comes a responsibility in my opinion to hydrate yourself adequately. Does the average couch potato need a ton of water a day? Probably not. Do I? I'm pretty sure I do.


Couldn't have said it better myself


I was once in that "drink gallons of water a day" phase. I decided that I dont live in a very hot climate and as long as im eating somewhat healthy and drinking when im thirsty that that will be sufficient. It has been working for me. Just remember that too much of anything is toxic.


It is possible to drink too much water.

I believe it has something to do with your electrolytes becoming too diluted.

People have died from it, in fact, a radio station I know of got sued for having a water drinking contest in which one of the participants died from drinking too much water. She left 2 kids behind. Very sad.

So, yes it is possible to drink to much water. But as long as you follow what your body is telling you, you will be fine. If you feel like you are about to be sick, have trouble standing, or anything else like that, then STOP.

Otherwise you are good.


one thing i was taught in the military is if your drinking because your thirsty, you are already dehydrated....

just drinkt he required 2 litres a day jobby... if your lifting, then drink 3 litres like your micronised german creatine tub says...


I remember that, "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16614865/ )

Drinking too much water can eventually cause your brain to swell, stopping it regulating vital functions such as breathing and causing death. Aside from such stupid contests, I'd say it's highly unlikely for a healthy individual to consume enough water to be at risk, though.


I haven't suffered any negative consequences yet, and really doubt that I will, by letting my thirst dictate when I drink. The only time I vary from this is when exercising, when I'll drink on a regular basis to prevent dehydration.


Personally when I wake up I feel very dehydrated and don't feel right until I have replenished my water levels. I'd guess that if my fluid levels were taken pre-sleep and post-sleep, this would be confirmed and therefore it must be right to increase them. I'm also convinced that drinking lots of water is vital for recovery.

The issue regarding electrolyte balance is valid....so just put in pinch of 'real mineral salt' for every liter.....ohh there's a comment that the 'experts' won't like. I bet the researchers have bog guts and therefore I can't take them seriously.


Off the top of my head, I would think that the post-water-consumption swelling would result from the fact that the brain has creatine in it. Given what creatine does, is it not feasible for this to happen?

(I'm just throwing that out there, that is not made to be a scientific statement. It was just a thought.)


Hyponatremia is the term for the electrolyte imbalance.

I used to do a lot of long distance cycling so this was discussed a lot.

Since not drinking water wasn't an option, I would do two things. One was to eat regularly and eat foods that were not salt free. I would eat at least every hour while on the bike. The other option and the one I always did was to never drink straight water and always drink some sort of during workout mix followed by a recovery drink when I was finished.



Yah, I have read a lot of people on this site pretend liek they are elite for drinking 1/2 gallon of water at dinner time. I have never been able to figure out why somebody thinks diluting your stomach acid this much is good for your digestive process.




I drink 4-5 liters of water a day and if I'm training I go to around 7 and I feel fine.


if you drink too much water too quickly you can drown yourself lol!

I drink my water until I'm satisfied most people on this site eat and drink a lot more then normal people but we do abnormal activity.


"Hydrations" isn't just an instantaneous effect. If you routinely drink more water your body will store less of if, and you'll be a able to tolerate larger fluxes. If a couch potato that drinks 5 Diet Cokes a day as their "hydration" decides one morning to try drinking a gallon in an hour of course he's going to piss non-stop - his body isn't used to it.

I keep an old McDonald's cup handy (27oz). I drink about 6 - 8 day.

I routinely drink 2 liters of water on a Cleveland-Pittsburgh commute, and only on occasion arrive in an uncomfortable state...


To my understanding, it works along these lines: If you drink "too much" water, the blood becomes more dilute as the kidneys are unable to work fast enough to preserve homeostasis. The concentration of salt in the blood becomes lower than in the cells. The water moves from the dilute blood to the cells and organs, e.g., the brain. The brain swells and is pressed against the skull, making it unable to control vital functions such as breathing, eventually leading to death.