Hydration, Dehydration, and Hyponatremia

I played sports all throughout my youth and if there was one thing that I took away from all that time it was that I had to be sure to hydrate. If I didn’t, something bad would happen to me. What exactly? No one knew but it was just something we constantly heard. “Be sure to hydrate.” It was something that we heard even when we weren’t playing sports. Just count the Gatorade or water ads next time you’re watching TV. I bet it’s roughly 10 ads about hydration per hour.

The fact of the matter is all the things we’ve heard about hydration for the last 40 years is really…a lie…OR at least has never been proven.

Myth number 1: Hydrating properly means drinking 8 glasses that are each 8 oz. of water per day.
This “study” has actually NEVER been proven in any scientific study ever.

Myth number 2: Water prevents cramps.
This has also never been proven scientifically. It’s much more likely that your diet plays a role in whether your muscles cramp or not, because that’s where most of your minerals and electrolytes should be absorbed from, not sports drinks that don’t actually have a ton of electrolytes the way they claim to.

Myth number 3: There’s no such thing as too much water.
Yes, there is. More people die from something called hyponatremia each year than from dehydration. Exercise induced hyponatremia is when you consume too much water during exercise. Your body tends to conserve water during exercise and if you drink too much that water has nowhere to go. It begins to over saturate your kidneys/blood which needs a certain amount of sodium in it at all times to sustain proper pH balance. Essentially, you drown yourself with too much water.

Hydration is really simple and it’s actually damn near impossible to get dehydrated in today’s day and age. You should drink when you’re thirsty and don’t when you aren’t. If you’re drinking ANYTHING, you are hydrated. Even coffee or beer. Is it the best source of hydration? No, but you can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be dehydrated if you’ve had some kind of liquid in the last 6-8 hours.

I was going to post cited papers with all this but I found something better. Watch this YouTube video that cites all the studies showing dehydration is not nearly the problem we think it is.


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