Is there such thing as TOO MUCH water? (Hint: YES)


by Jennifer Tetrick August 23, 2016

Just because something is good doesn't always mean that more is better. Yes, most of us could use more water in our daily lives. But too much of a good thing isn't so good. In fact, it can be dangerous.

An excess of water in the system dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood, causing hyponatremia. Endurance athletes are particularly at risk for over-hydration, known as exercise-associated hyponatremia, as extreme thirst can result in drinking too much at once, shocking the system and putting the body in a perilous imbalance. The kidneys get overwhelmed with too much liquid to process at once. And the body's naturally occurring sodium can't keep up with the amount of water, leading to low blood volume and swelling in the cells. (Yes, this could be what makes you feel bloated and - literally - waterlogged).

In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, an alarming 13% of runners in the 2002 Boston Marathon were suffering from hyponatremia at the finish of the race. Being over-hydrated is not the way to feel or perform your best - and in very severe cases can be deadly.

Warning Signs

Athletes should watch out for the following symptoms that are associated with hyponatremia:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Bloating and feeling puffy 
  • Muscle weakness or cramping 
  • Changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)

     

    Prevention

    Sip, don't chug. As a rule of thumb, your body can't process more than a liter of liquid per hour. Sip your way through your race or workout and avoid trying to play "catch up" by downing a bottle at once.

    Add electrolytes. Adding electrolyte mix to your water (like GQ6 3:2:1 Hydration and/or Endurance) can help prevent hyponatremia.

    Do the math. This hydration calculator can help determine the right amount of hydration for you.

    Weigh yourself. You can also weigh yourself before and after a workout to make sure you replenish exactly what your body lost through sweat throughout the effort.

    Related: What's happening when you're dehydrated, Hydration 101: Tips

     




    Jennifer Tetrick
    Jennifer Tetrick

    Author



    Leave a comment


    Also in News & Blog

    When Innovation Hits a Wall
    When Innovation Hits a Wall

    by Richard Hiraga January 07, 2019 16 Comments

    When I state that innovation hits a wall, I am speaking mainly from a nutritional point of view, and I don't mean it as a bad thing. I just wanted to offer my thoughts on a few current "trends" that have caught my eye and how I believe that less is sometimes more and innovation is being confused with some great marketing.

    Read More

    Sleep: It Does a Body Good
    Sleep: It Does a Body Good

    by Richard Hiraga December 24, 2018

    If you are like me, the statistics and the health risks from lack of sleep are alarming but not surprising. Based on the many athletes, friends, and consumers who have written us thanking GQ-6 for developing RĒKÜVR Nite Time, there are a lot more people not sleeping than I had initially imagined and the recent studies confirmed it. As I review all of the supplements and pharmaceuticals currently on the market for sleep, it becomes mind-boggling and disheartening at the same time.

    Read More

    Fall Back: Sleep Survival Guide
    Fall Back: Sleep Survival Guide

    by Jennifer Tetrick November 06, 2017

    Daylight Savings Time affects our natural sleep cycle. "Falling Back" can disrupt our sleep for up to a week. Learn how to get better sleep and feel great - even when the days are short, and it's dark before we leave the office.

    Read More