A study recently released in the journal, eBioMedicine, concludes that optimal hydration is linked with better longevity and overall long term health. The study used data from over 11,255 adults over a 30 year period. Starting in 1987 when participants were in their 40s and 50s, researchers analyzed links between levels of salt in the blood, which go up when fluid intake goes down and various indicators of health. The average age of the participants at the end of the study was 76.
Researchers found that adults with salt levels above 142 milliequivalents/liter (mEq/L) had a 64% increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, chronic lung disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia Iand show signs of biological aging than those adults with salt levels within normal range. Additionally, adults with higher-than-average salt levels were more likely to die at a younger age. In contrast, adults with salt levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic conditions. In a press release, study author and researcher Natalia Dmitrieve, Ph.D. explains, “The results suggest that proper hydration may slow aging and prolong a disease-free life.”
Researchers also noted that these findings do not prove causation. What does this mean? It means that hydration alone is not proven to be the sole factor in affecting health outcomes. There are many factors that affect health outcomes including genetics, diet, activity levels, stress management, environmental factors and more which paints a more complicated picture of health. However, water is still essential to our survival and good health – it may be the single biggest factor. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and when we do not consume enough, our bodies struggle to perform necessary functions. Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA recommends paying attention to signs of dehydration and asking yourself the following questions on a regular basis, “Are you thirsty? Are you not sweating when you are hot? Is your pee getting darker?”
Grace at the Greenlight takes hydration seriously. We distribute bottles of water to the unhoused community 365 days a year. Through our Hydrate NOLA initiative, we installed 11 hydration stations throughout the city of New Orleans with the goal of providing 24/7 access to water to the unhoused in order to prevent unnecessary deaths.