Never in the history of me have I seen such a focus on drinking so much water. There are currently THREE online groups that I follow that are focusing on drinking MASSIVE quantities of water on a daily basis. We’re talking GALLONS here, people, not just 10-12 glasses per day.
Sure, most of us can stand to drink more water every day. Really, we can. And no, coffee/tea/soda/slushies/slurpees DO NOT COUNT. I don’t care what research you show me. Just drink some water.
BUT OMG, people, GALLONS? Especially if you are not sweating, and even MORE importantly if you are not keeping up with your electrolytes (STOP WITH THE GATORADE/POWERADE. SERIOUSLY. STOP.), you can set yourself up for HYPONATREMIA, or ‘water toxicity.’ Basically too much water, not enough electrolytes. How can you tell?
Glad you asked. Interestingly, the early symptoms of TOO MUCH water are pretty much the same as the early symptoms for TOO LITTLE water. Go figure. How did I learn this? Well, “there I was……
My national guard unit was training at Ft. Undisclosedlocation during a particularly hot summer. My guys had been instructed to drink lots of water. So they were. Then this one guy comes into our aid station (where the medics hang out and wait for cool things to happen). He was confused, clammy, not sweating, weak pulse, low BP. Naturally, we hooked him up to an IV bag and let that sucker flow into him as fast as his body would take it. We put ice bags in his nooks and cranny’s to help bring down his temp. Our PA finally arrives (an hour and 2L of fluid later) and starts getting a history from the groggy soldier. Turns out he’s had nearly 3 gallons of water to drink, but hasn’t eaten anything all day. BOOM! The PA tells us to stop the IV fluid and to go get some salty broth from the cooks. We do. Soldier drinks it, and after a while he starts to come back into his own. Turns out, too much water, not enough sodium (and potassium, magnesium, etc.). After we restored his balance, he was ok.
For all of you who are on a drink-a-shit-ton-of-water-and-brag-about-it challenge, PLEASE BE CAREFUL. Have some chips, crackers, broth….something with sodium in it to help keep balanced. My personal GO-TO? Cocogo powder packets. (not an add. I really drink this stuff. you can get a discount. see? off to the right side of the page. I DO NOT get a kick-back if you order it. Honest!) They mix great, no stomach issues, and are wikkid convenient. Code BIGZIGFITNESS nabs you a 20% discount. BAM.
Here, too, is some information that I found on the web.
Authority Nutrition: (source)
Not drinking enough water can cause symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and muscle cramps.
Conversely, drinking way too much water can also cause a serious condition called water intoxication.
Water intoxication results from drinking too much water. The excess water dilutes blood sodium levels and causes fluids to move inside cells, which then swell.
Mayo Clinic (source)
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Drinking too much water. Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can dilute the sodium content of your blood. Drinking too much water at other times can also cause low sodium.
Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Water (source)
-If you carry around your water bottle all day and immediately refill it when it depletes, you may be drinking too much water. Constantly adding water to your body can result in low sodium levels in your blood, which can cause all of cells in your body to swell.
-Headaches are both a sign of overhydration and dehydration, similar to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. When you drink too much water, the salt concentration in your blood reduces, causing the cells in the organs throughout your body to swell. When your salt concentration is low, your cells grow. When you drink too much water, your brain actually grows in size and presses against the skull.
-If you’re drinking a healthy amount of water, the color of your urine should be straw-colored to transparent yellow. Though most people believe clear urine is the healthiest sign of hydration, however, having urine with no pigmentation at all may be a sign that you’re drinking too much water. For most people, eight to 10 glasses a water of day is considered a normal amount.
-You may be drinking too much water if you find yourself often waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Most people urinate between six and eight times a day. If you find yourself urinating move than 10 times a day, you may be drinking more water than your body needs.