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Can you actually drink too much water?


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I was flipping radio channels on the way to work this morning and caught the tail end of an interview with a diet "expert."  He was adamant that people can drink too much water during the course of the day.  Has anyone heard this before?
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Yes.  There was a radio contest somewhere to see who could drink the most water and the "winner" died.  Now that is going to extremes, but I think you can have too much of anything.  Keep it in moderation.  I drink around 80-100 oz of water each day and haven't had a problem.
Yes, it can happen and can even lead to death. Recently a woman who was at a contest held by a radio station in a water drinking contest to win a game for kids, a nurse even told the station that it could happen. Needless to say the woman died from drinking too much water, it can lead to Water Intoxication & Hyponatremia..
There was a bike cop where I live who drank 3 gallons (384 oz) of water in an afternoon and died from it.  In general, I would avoid going over a gallon (128 oz), unless your doctor tells you otherwise...a gallon is still A LOT of water.
Well, I drink 2.6 gallons, but it's over the course of the day. The main concern here is drinking too much at one time, I believe. I'll know when I start to get hyponatremic (sodium levels low) because I'll get a headache and dizzy.
Hi All!  According to the Mayo Clinic "though uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood).  In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet" 

The institute of Medicines advises that men consume roughly 3.0 liters of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters a day.  You may need to modify your intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health and if you're breast feeding or pregant.

Good luck!
The kidneys of a healthy adult can process fifteen liters of water a day! You are unlikely to suffer from water intoxication, even if you drink a lot of water, as long as you drink over time as opposed to intaking an enormous volume at one time. As a general guideline, most adults need about three quarts of fluid each day. Much of that water comes from food, so 8-12 eight ounce glasses a day is a common recommended intake. You may need more water if the weather is very warm or very dry, if you are exercising, or if you are taking certain medications. The bottom line is this: it's possible to drink too much water, but unless you are running a marathon or an infant, water intoxication is a very uncommon condition.

http://chemistry.about.com/cs/5/f/blwaterinto x.htm
#7  
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Thanks for the responses.  I'm currently 260 lbs (down 20!) and live in Arizona.  I've been drinking 12-14 8 oz. glasses per day for the past six weeks.  I exercise five days a week.  I figured with the Arizona heat, the exercise, and my size, the amount was about right.  I just heard that guy on the radio and freaked out.
I drink 3L a day but sometimes go up to 4L and I will feel dizzy and generally unwell. Less so now that I am really used to water intake but a month ago it was sort of bad. Needless to say I keep it to 3L generally.
yay fellow Arizonan :D
it seems here, there's NO such thing as too much water.
there's been a lot of media focus on this the last few years because of ecstacy-related deaths.  club kids know about the dangers of dehydration and hyperthermia when on E, so they drink gallons and gallons of water, and a few kids drink too much.  the result is that the brain is starved of oxygen.

i think it's very rare, apart from this.
Every so often in a marathon, someone dies from drinking too much water. It's usually a rather slow runner who has enough time to drink too much water. It's not the water itself, but it puts your potassium and whatnot out of balance. So make sure you are getting enough salt, as well as enough nutrients all around.
Just wanted to throw in that the radio contestant who died wasn't allowed to use the restroom either. The contest was "hold your wee for a wii" playing for a new Nintendo system. She drank, I think, 2 or 3 gallons of water and then wasn't allowed to use the bathroom.

I know I drink 130 oz just at work and use the restroom every 30-45 minutes. I think it's ok as long as you don't drink gallons and gallons and make sure you use the bathroom regularly.
Water is like oxygen, salt, vitamins, and many other things:  too much and you die, not enough and you die.  Hyponatremia is real and a few people do die but in our society people are much more likely to be dehydrated then hyponatremic.  All things in moderation.
tootles519:  Here's the actual numbers from the IOM website.  Pretty incredible (emphasis added):

The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water -- from all beverages and foods -- each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.

See: http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3788/3969/18495.aspx
YES you can get very sick and even die from drinking to much water, my mom ended up in the hospital for almost a week from this exact thing a couple years back, she was drinking 8-10 12oz glasses of water a day plus whatever else she drank because that is what they used to tell you (8 12oz glasses or 12 8oz glasses). she found out that you are anly supposed to drink about 2 liters of fluid total a day because you also get water from food you eat.
There was a radio contest in California - the prize was a Nintendo Wii system.  A woman had drank about 2 gallons (or something) in a short period of time and immediately said she felt sick.  The DJ's did nothing but laugh it off.

That woman won the Wii system but DIED 4 HOURS LATER of water intoxication.

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16614865/

another link: http://health.howstuffworks.com/water-intoxic ation.htm
#17  
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Yeah, you can. Like people have said, you can get water intoxication. And your sodium levels will drop drastically. Also, you can drown your organs from drinking too much. But this usually only happens, if you drink a lot of water, over a short period of time. Just don't drink too much, and spread out how much you drink over a long period of time, and you should be okay.
Yes it can, though as stated above it is not very common. Usually in involves somebody consuming a large amount of water all at once, not over the course of a day.

2 gallons over the course of a day with apporopriate bathroom trips and food your body can adjust and keep you wehre you need to be. If you chug the whole thing at once your body doesn't have time to eliminate any of it or adjust you electrolytes and you can wind up in trouble. Most of us have a built in fail safe that usually tells us to stop drinking. When we ignore our body's signals we get into trouble.
Uh...like I said. I worked myself up to 2.6, sometimes 3 gallons a day, and I just monitor it. Your body is more resilient than you think. I don't even eat that much sodium (~1000mg), so...yeah. I'm alive and well. Haha.

It's VERY difficult, unless you consume it within a short span of time. But right, over the course of the day, going to the bathroom and everything, you're fine.
#20  
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I once drank 12 litres (3 gallons) within 3 hours tops - I can't really remember that night - and I was VERY ill. I couldn't see very well, I was crawling around because I couldn't stand up. I passed out 15 times in 15 minutes and my friends had to eventually get an adult at that point.

I was wheeled to the medical centre on a computer chair and I was sick all night, sweated the whole night through. I was delirious, crying and moaning.

They wouldn't believe me that it was all because of water, they drug tested me but even when they showed up negative they still wouldn't believe it because the urine was so diluted. In the night I couldn't sleep - it was partly because I was scared that I was going to die. I was crying so another patient had to see if I was ok.

Christ knows if I ever do take ecs or anything! Drinking water is VERY dangerous, trust me. I'm afraid now to drink over 2 glasses per meal!
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