Q. I drink at least eight large glasses of water every day to maintain good health. When I play soccer or tennis I force myself to drink a lot more.
I recently heard that you can drink too much water. What are the consequences?
A. People have been led to believe that they need to drink a lot of water to stay healthy, especially if they are exercising vigorously. But new research suggests that there are hazards to overdosing on fluids.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 14, 2005) revealed that marathon runners who drank more than three liters during a race were more likely to develop a complication called hyponatremia (water intoxication).
If sodium levels drop through sweating and excessive water intake, a person can experience dizziness, confusion, seizures or coma. This can even be fatal. The same complication can occur when parents force fluids on children with fevers from colds or the flu.
Drinking to quench thirst is usually a good guide to preventing dehydration. But don’t force yourself to drink more than you want. And don’t count on sports drinks to prevent hyponatremia.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.