What makes some people age faster than others? And why do some people live to a very old age perfectly healthy while others develop chronic diseases? Is it just genetics or is there some other explanation? Well, a very recent scientific research seems to have found the answer to these questions and it turns out to be a very good piece of news for us. In fact, as demonstrated by scientists, our current, but above all, our future health is largely determined by a modifiable factor, namely by how many liquids we introduce into our bodies. In short, drinking less seems to increase the risk of getting sick and aging prematurely. The results can be consulted online in the journal eBioMedicine, part of the prestigious group The Lancet. The work was published by a group of American scientists from the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of Bethesda (Dmitrieva et al, eBioMedicine, Jan 2023).
Lifestyle and longevity
Putting in place all the tools to slow down aging and prevent chronic diseases, it is precisely to achieve this goal that science is dedicating numerous researches trying to understand the link between lifestyle and longevity. A healthy and varied diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and low in refined foods is certainly a good choice to ensure future health. But what role does hydration play? Previous studies performed on animals had already shown that poor hydration promotes the development of degenerative diseases. To understand if the same also applies to human beings, American scientists have developed the research we are talking about today.
Those who drink less age faster, the study
The researchers collected information on the health of 11,255 adults, followed for a period of 30 years. All study participants had known blood sodium levels. This value is considered a valid indicator to evaluate the state of hydration. In fact, the amount of sodium in the blood increases when fluid intake decreases. In addition to this value, the scientists also had other health indicators available, useful for calculating biological age, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, creatinine, uric acids and other parameters for assessing the state of health of kidney, heart, immune system and metabolism. What emerged is that having sodium values close to the upper limit of the range considered normal increases the probability of aging faster and developing diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, heart attack, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and dementia compared to those with lower values of serum sodium. As a consequence, sodium values close to the upper limit of the normal range also increased the risk of having life expectancy shortened.
The research emphasizes the importance of always staying hydrated, even when young, because the lifestyle choices we make now have reverberations in the years to come. Not maintaining the right level of hydration can, in the long run, accelerate aging and increase the risk of developing diseases. Fortunately, however, hydration is something we can act on, remembering to drink water during the day, but also herbal teas, and ensuring a regular intake of fruit and vegetables. As regards the right amount of fluids, the guidelines indicate, for the general population, one and a half to two liters of fluids a day for women, and 2 to 3 liters for men. In any case, you should refer to your doctor who, based on your health conditions and the medications you are taking, can indicate the right amount of fluids.