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Q: Drinking Water- How much is too much? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   11 Comments )
Subject: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: steph53-ga
List Price: $2.50
Posted: 08 Sep 2004 07:39 PDT
Expires: 08 Oct 2004 07:39 PDT
Question ID: 398342
Hi GA Community,

I've started to drink lots of water at work during the week. Sometimes
over a hundred ounces daily. A co-worker remarked that she had heard
that too much water can have a negative effect. Is this true?

Is too much water bad for a person?

Thanks bunches,

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
Answered By: tar_heel_v-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:02 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Interesting question and one would think that there could be no such
thing as too much water.  Well, think again.  There is a condition
known as hyponatremia, or water intoxication. It is the extreme
opposite of dehydration.  This condition occurs when the balance
between salt and water levels get out of balance.  It can lead to
swelling of the brain and leakage of fluids into the lungs.  It
normally occurs when athletes sweat heavily and lose both salt and
water, yet only replace the water.  In other words, it isn't the water
that cause the problem, it is the lack of salt.  However, being that
at you are at work (and assuming your job isn't as a marathon tour
guide) you should not have any problems.  You are drinking much more
water than your body needs, however, as long as you are urinating
regularly (which is a sign that your kidneys are functioning normally)
you should be fine.  However, a concern I would have would be
excessive thirst.  This can be a symptom of a more serious issue, such
as diabetes.  You should contact your doctor and discuss this with
him/her.  If you are experiencing any other symptoms, such as blurry
vision or fatigue or if you are passing more than 5 quarts of urine
per day, definitely contact your physician.  Bear in mind that I am
not a medical professional and my answer is not intended to substitute
professional advice.

Thanks for your question and if you need any additional clarification,
please let me know.



Search Strategy:
"too much water" bad health

The Straight Dope

Hyponatremia - Water: Can you drink too much?

Excessive Thirst
steph53-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks Tar heel v,

Your answer covered all the bases. I never knew that too much water
was not a good thing...sheesh :(

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: probonopublico-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:19 PDT
Hi, Steph

tar_heel_v-ga is absolutely correct, as always.

There was a case recently of some famous Britiah actor who was playing
the lead on the London stage and he overdosed.

He was taken to hospital and his condition was fairly serious but
happily he recovered.

Sorry but I can't remember his name.

I wouldn't know how much is too much but please be careful!

All the Best

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: steph53-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:37 PDT
Hi Bryan,

Thanks for your comment. Overdosing on water??? Who would have thought???

I'd much rather be having a glass of wine than a bottle of water but oh well....

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: potrod-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:41 PDT
Yeah, I remember reading an article some months ago about a new
college drinking game.  I was of course surprised that it was water
and not alcohol being consumed.  Fraternities would make pledges drink
a gallon of water in 5 minutes or something and it ended up resulting
in at least one death.  It was pretty interesting.
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: answerfinder-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:41 PDT
"Recently, the actor Anthony Andrews was rushed to hospital after he
had 'overdosed' on water - he'd drunk eight litres during a heavy
day's rehearsing, and collapsed. But most of us drink far less than
the recommended two litres, or eight glasses a day, and a lot of the
other stuff we drink - the coffee, the tea, the alcohol - has a
diuretic effect; it makes the body get rid of water.",9950,1013279,00.html

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: answerfinder-ga on 08 Sep 2004 08:48 PDT
Here's another report on it:
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: daytrader_7__6-ga on 08 Sep 2004 09:11 PDT
The US military is also discovering that it is counter-productive to
force-feed water to soldiers - they have also had a few deaths.

The best rule is, imo,
Drink when you're thirsty.
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: probonopublico-ga on 08 Sep 2004 09:48 PDT
Hi, Again, Steph

Answerfinder has got a fix on the actor that I couldn't name!

In the meantime, my daughter Samantha has just visited. She's a
student nurse and she tells me that there's no way of predetermining
how much is too much, it varies from person to person.

It's really hard to believe!

All the Best

Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: ulu-ga on 08 Sep 2004 13:03 PDT
As tar_heel_v answered, you also have to consider how much salt you
intake.  Most western (bad) diets have a lot of salt in them.  If you
had a salty snack or had meals recently, that would reverse much of
the likelyhood.

In the normal condition, renal handling of water is sufficient to
excrete as much as 15-20 L of free water per day. Further, in the
normal condition, the body's response to a decreased osmolality is
decreased thirst.
(15 L is over 500 ounces)
The lower and faster blood sodium falls, the greater the risk of
life-threatening consequences. A decrease in plasma sodium
concentration to 125-135 mmol/L usually results in little more than
gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and nausea. Below 125
mmol/L, the symptoms become more severe and include confusion,
throbbing headache, wheezy breathing, swollen hands and feet, unusual
fatigue, and incoordination. When plasma sodium concentration drops
below 120 mmol/L, seizure, coma, and death become more likely.
However, some athletes have survived hyponatremia of <115 mmol/L,
while others have died at >120 mmol/L.
Even in the absence of other physiological provocations, excessive
drinking alone can result in hyponatremia, as has occurred in people
who have ingested large volumes of fluid (e.g., 3 liters of fluid in
an hour) in attempts to hasten micturition for drug tests.
(3 L/hr is over 100 ounces in an hour)

I proved that chilled water was a significant boon to the fat-loss
process. I actually had some of my subjects progress up to two gallons
of fluid a day. Interestingly, the individuals in my programs who
consistently drank the most cold water tended to lose the most fat.

"Drink at least eight glasses of water a day" - Really? Is there
scientific evidence for "8 x 8"?
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: probonopublico-ga on 08 Sep 2004 23:30 PDT
I suggest we put warning notices on taps, bottles, carafes, etc.

        Health Warning:

Who's for starting a campaign?

And which Political Party would endorse?
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: neilzero-ga on 13 Sep 2004 18:20 PDT
All the answers and comments are good except probono. I would suggest
that you not exceed 100 ounces per day, even if you notice no ill
effects. If you are getting some possible symptoms, you likely should
cut back to 64 ounces per day.
 Drinking an ounce or two of Gatoraide occasionally or the recomended
amount of other mineral suppliment, may allow you to exceed 100 ounces
daily, at only moderate risk. Several other salts besides common table
salt, can be deficient as a result of drinking excessive water, but
excessive salt of all kinds are toxic, so don't push your luck with
large doses of mineral suppliment.  Neil
Subject: Re: Drinking Water- How much is too much?
From: ulu-ga on 14 Apr 2005 14:14 PDT
Some recent news about water consumption:

The article they refer to:

Hyponatremia among Runners in the Boston Marathon

Conclusions Hyponatremia occurs in a substantial fraction of nonelite
marathon runners and can be severe. Considerable weight gain while
running, a long racing time, and body-mass-index extremes were
associated with hyponatremia, whereas female sex, composition of
fluids ingested, and use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs were

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