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Physical mechanism: 2 liter rule not relevant when drinking
Water is vital for the human body. If we take in too little of it, the metabolism is disturbed and our physical and mental performance decreases. But how much water should we drink? Experts have been arguing about this for a long time. According to the latest findings, you should not rely on recommendations that recommend two or three liters a day.
Insufficient fluid intake is unhealthy
If a person drinks too little, the fluid balance becomes unbalanced. That endangers health. It is known, for example, that fluid loss can lead to physical and mental complaints. Affected people develop, among other things, difficulty concentrating, dry mouth, tiredness, loss of appetite or constipation. So there is no question that the human body needs enough fluid to stay healthy. However, it is controversial how much water is really healthy per day. The results of a new study make the answer to the question fairly simple.
Always drink enough
Health experts are happy to point out that you should always drink enough, especially in the heat. However, many doctors do not agree on what is sufficient. Sometimes it means at least two liters a day, then again three or more. Australian scientists have now come to the conclusion that quantity recommendations do not help much anyway. According to researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, you should just drink when you are thirsty.
Automatic weakening of the swallowing reflex
In their study, the team was able to show that the human body has a reliable mechanism that prevents us from drinking too little or too much. According to the study, the results of which were published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS), regulates the feeling of thirst that we do not drink too little and a weakening of the swallowing reflex prevents people from drinking too much.
"The swallowing reflex is weakened automatically if enough water is drunk," said co-author Michael Farrell in a message from the university.
Deaths due to excessive fluid intake
As shown by examinations using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the whole thing is controlled by certain areas of the brain. It is tiring to drink too much without thirst. And that's just as well. Because just like drinking too little, drinking too much can be hazardous to your health.
Excessive fluid intake can cause nausea and cramps, among other things. It can even be fatal. "There have been cases where marathon runners were told to fill up with water and then died because they slavishly followed the recommendations and drank well beyond need," said Farrell.
The rule does not apply to all people
Farrell concluded: "It is right to do what the body asks us to do - just drink it depending on your thirst and not set a time-consuming schedule." But this “rule” also has its pitfalls and does not apply to everyone. There are also people who do not develop a real feeling of thirst, such as the elderly, children or some chronically ill. On the other hand, kidney problems or diabetes are often accompanied by increased thirst.
Furthermore, slightly excessive fluid intake can sometimes prevent health problems. For example, people who are prone to gout should drink at least two liters of water a day to reduce the risk of painful gout attacks.
Since only a few subjects were involved in the current study, larger studies would first have to prove the new findings. Among other things, blood tests are necessary for this. (ad)