A new study was published this week in The Lancet, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious journals in Medicine. It followed over 15,000 people for 25 years to study how hydration levels affect health and aging.
You can read the study here.
The summary of the report is that they measured peoples hydration levels by measuring serum Sodium levels – basically the higher the sodium in your blood, the lower your level of hydration is. They then followed this group for 25 years and showed that that middle age dehydration (serum sodium >142 mmol/l) was associated with a 39% increased risk to develop chronic diseases. Those very dehydrated in middle age (serum sodium >144 mmol/l) had a 21% elevated risk of premature death.
They also ran many blood and clinical test to estimate a person’s Biological Age, which can be higher or lower that someones actual age. People with lower hydration levels had up to 50% higher odds to be older than their chronological age. We know that a higher Biological Age is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality.
Our first thought when reading this study, was, “Yeah, obviously, we could have told you that.” But medicine needs data and these type of studies give us confirmation of what we already knew. You do these studies, because sometimes the results are not what you expect.
We often feel that Naturopathic medicine is about reminding people about common sense approaches that our grandparents knew, and our modern generation has seemed to forget. This study is just another example of why the basics of healthy living are still important – good sleep, quality food, regular exercise, plenty of clean water, connection with other like-minded people, and a personal spiritual practice go a long way to ensuring health and wellness. And these things become even more important as we age.