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More water, longer life? Not exactly | Verify

A buzzy new study touts the benefits of staying hydrated, but much of the coverage around it oversimplifies its findings.

WASHINGTON — A lot of us have made resolutions to try to be healthier in the new year. Recent news out of the medical research world seems to underscore how important water is in that goal – but can it actually make you live longer?


Does new research show drinking water helps you live longer?



This is inconclusive.

The study found indicators associated with low fluid consumption were also linked to negative health impacts, including faster “biological aging” and shorter lifespan, but researchers say more research is needed to prove causation directly linked to water.


The buzzy medical news kickstarting 2023 touts research about water, generating posts and headlines proclaiming a new study finds drinking water can make you live longer. 

The actual findings aren’t directly related to water consumption, but instead, “serum sodium” levels–how much sodium is in the bloodstream–which the NIH explains tend to rise when fluid intake goes down.

The study gathered health data from more than 11,000 adults over 30 years. It concluded adults with higher than normal sodium serum levels are more likely to develop chronic health conditions like heart failure, stroke, chronic lung disease, and dementia.

Participants with higher sodium serum levels also show more signs of biological aging — essentially meaning their body systems deteriorated more quickly. 

The study also concludes adults in their study with consistently higher sodium serum levels were more likely to die at a younger age.

However, researchers note that it’s a bit of an oversimplification to say all of these outcomes are caused by not drinking enough water, or could be avoided by drinking more water. It concludes instead that more research is needed to confirm that link. 

So, no, the study doesn’t say finishing that giant jug of water will definitely extend your life. However, The NIH explains this research is still useful in determining it is important to pay attention to your fluid intake and know the ways not having enough fluids could impact your health.

The CDC actually does not have a blanket recommendation for how much water people should be drinking every day because it could be different based on your diet, activity, body composition, and other things. The Institutes of Medicine finds adults need to drink at least two liters of water a day.

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