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How Much Hydration Do We Really Need?


For many years, we have all been encouraged to drink eight glasses of water daily to ensure we are well hydrated.

Now scientists and researchers are having second thoughts on this long-held belief.

They are saying that the recommended eight glasses of water may actually be more than we need.

What research has been undertaken?

The University of Aberdeen in Scotland carried out research which has been published in the publication Science and this pointed to the recommended intake of “eight glasses or two litres of water per day” seldom matches our true needs.

The scientists found that given around half of our daily intake of water comes from food, they estimate that we only need six to seven glasses per day.

They point out that previous research depended on surveys applied to small samples of people. However, scientists have now collaborated across the world to measure water turnover - that is the use and replacement of water in the body.

What circumstances affect the amount of water we need?

There are several:

  • Those living in hot and humid climates.
  • Those living at high altitudes.
  • Those who are athletes as excessive sweating can come with prolonged exertion.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Those suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Those taking drugs that increase urine excretion

Energy expenditure is the biggest factor in water turnover with the highest values observed in men aged twenty to thirty five years who turned over an average of 4.2 litres per day.

For obvious reasons, energy expenditure decreased with age with half the amount per day for men in their nineties.

Women in the age group twenty to forty years averaged a turnover of 3.3 litres, declining to 2.5 litres by the time they reach ninety.

An important point to remember

Professor John Speakman, head of the research at the University of Aberdeen pointed out that water turnover is not equal to the requirement for drinking water.

And it does not have to always be just water.  We share some suggestions here for other ways to take in water.

There are many reasons why we need sufficient hydration

  1. To prevent and/or treat stretch marks during pregnancy.

2. To prevent the early appearance of wrinkles and fine lines in the skin.

3.  To prevent and/or treat uncomfortable cracked heels.

4.  To prevent and/or treat debilitating headaches.

5.  To prevent constipation which when it repeatedly occurs can cause painful hemorrhoids.