How Much Water Do You Really Need?
- By: Laura Bogh
- March 6, 2021
- 9 Min read
Consider the humble kidneys. They are not fancy “celebrity” organs that get a lot of press, unlike the heart, which has Valentine’s Day dedicated it. They do not control our actions like the brain, and they’re not clamoring for attention all the time, like the stomach. In fact, if your kidneys are suffering, you might not know about it immediately. Yet they are incredibly vital to your good health and taking care of them is essential. Fortunately, it is easy to do. Staying hydrated is the best way to make sure your kidneys operate at peak condition and continue doing so for the entire length of your life.
Your kidneys are super-efficient organic filters that remove waste and toxins from your blood, passing them out of the body through urination. The kidneys are one of the most efficient and effective filters known. Although conventional wisdom says we should drink eight glasses of water a day to guarantee the best kidney health, the reality is somewhat different. We all have different requirements for water intake based on our unique health status.
To work at peak performance, your kidneys need a steady daily intake of water, but how much water you need varies. For example, a 30-year-old pregnant woman has a different water requirement than a 50-year-old sedentary office worker. Our good health and the working of our tissues and organs are reliant on drinking water.
The human body is about 60 percent composed of water. Water makes up 90 percent of our blood. Being a little over-hydrated is better than being even slightly dehydrated, for people in good overall health. Even mild dehydration causes fatigue and prevents bodily functions from working efficiently. Becoming more than mildly dehydrated is harmful to the health of a person’s kidneys.
Facts about the kidneys
Your kidneys play a large role in many processes throughout your body. Here are some ways they keep your body functioning:
- Filter waste and detoxify the blood
- Balance the vital electrolytes of the body by responding to complex hormones
- Recycle chemicals like vitamins, hormones, and proteins
- Ensure that levels of sodium and potassium stay in balance
- Keep the amount of water in the body steady
- Keep the body’s pH levels balanced so our blood doesn’t become too acidic or basic
- Manage blood pressure levels
- Regulate the production of red blood cells
- Concentrate waste fluids into urine, which they then pass from the body
- Secrete hormones
Simple things to keep your kidneys in shape:
The number one thing you can do for your kidneys is to drink enough water. The amount of water needed varies between people. It is recommended to a
Drinking enough water prevents many problems, including urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Urinary tract infections and kidney stones are common, painful conditions that can lead to permanent harm. Kidney stones develop when crystals of minerals form in the kidneys. Getting enough water helps the body flush those small seed-stones before they can ever develop into true stones. Likewise, getting plenty of water helps the body flush out bacteria to keep the urinary tract infection free. Good water intake may also prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD). There’s some evidence that high water intake may protect the kidneys from chronic kidney disease.
It is also important to follow water intake instructions on medications. When your medicine says “drink with a glass of water,” pay attention. Some medications require extra water to work correctly or to prevent putting extra stress on your body.
One way you can gage if you are getting enough water is to pay attention to the color of your urine. Urine color lets you know your hydration levels. For example, normal, healthy levels of hydration produce urine that is light yellow, straw-colored, or colorless. Dehydration leads to darker-colored urine.
If you’re concerned about getting enough water, talk to your doctor, or health coach, especially if you have chronic health conditions or are pregnant or nursing. They can help fine-tune your hydration regimen.