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New Study Links Poor Hydration To Increased Mortality Risk & Chronic Disease

Hannah Frye
Author:
January 9, 2023
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Image by Elena Kharichkina / Stocksy
January 9, 2023

How many times have you pledged to start drinking more water? If it winds up on your New Year's resolutions list year after year, you're not alone. For many, it seems like no matter how many new and improved reusable water bottles you purchase, the habit just never sticks.

To make that habit more of a priority, you might want to zero in on your intention—have you ever asked yourself why you want to drink more water? There are plenty of reasons to start, whether it's dewy skin, increased energy, or reduced brain fog. However, recent research presents a much more convincing argument. 

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The link between dehydration & mortality.

Not entirely surprisingly, new research published in the journal 1eBioMedicine1 reveals drinking enough water is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases and a lower risk of premature death. What's more, a lack of proper hydration is now linked to an older biological age, the study notes. 

And this wasn't just a small study: Over 25 years, around 15,000 people ages 45 to 65 participated in regular clinical exams to measure their serum sodium levels (which can reflect internal hydration). When serum sodium levels are higher, that demonstrates less water intake. 

According to the study, "People whose middle-age serum sodium exceeds 142 mmol/l have increased risk to be biologically older, develop chronic diseases, and die at younger age." In fact, those participants with a higher biological age had a 64% higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and dementia.

While the study did not include exactly how much water the participants drank, the thesis is clear: The more hydrated you are, the more likely you are to live a longer, healthier life overall. 

How to actually get enough hydration.

All of this to say: If you've needed another reason to drink more water, living longer provides pretty good grounds.

In terms of how much water you need, well, it's impossible to give everyone the exact same rule of thumb. But in general, experts recommend drinking half of your weight in ounces. (So, for example, someone who weighs 150 pounds would want to drink around 75 ounces of water, which is about 9 cups.)

But even if you're already filling your cup every day, there's more you can do to increase internal hydration: You could also try hyaluronic acid supplements. See, as you age, your natural reserve of HA diminishes2 over time. As naturopathic doctor Nigma Talib, N.D., previously explained, by the time you reach your 40s, you have around 50% of the HA you had during your younger years.

While 50% of the body's total amount of hyaluronic acid resides in the skin3, it's also present in tissues, joints, and blood vessels; specifically, it plays a key role in helping joints feel lubricated4, supporting joint health as we age.

Think of it as one way to keep your body healthy and hydrated, in addition to increasing water intake. If you're interested, here's our curated list of the best 13 hyaluronic acid supplements on the market to guide your search. 

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The takeaway. 

It's no secret that drinking water is a very good thing, but now research backs up the dramatic influence adequate hydration has on the whole body. According to the study discussed above, optimal hydration can decrease your risk for chronic diseases and shrink the gap between your biological and chronological age. Need even more motivation? Here are 10 more reasons hydration is always a worthwhile investment

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Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.