How does hydration impact heart health?

Dr Frank Lipman
Dec 20, 2022

How much water do you drink daily? Research suggests that proper hydration throughout life is not only important for essential body function, but may also decrease the risk for heart issues in the long term.

Study Summary

A recent study relying on health data from 15,000+ adults (aged 45-66), found that individuals with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L had a significantly higher risk of heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy – where the wall of the heart's main pumping chamber, thickens. Since serum sodium increases, when the body is less hydrated, researchers suggests that fluid intake is important for long-term heart health.

A similar 2021 paper concluded that inadequate water intake/underhydration may increase cardiovascular and metabolic risk, for older adults.

More research is needed to understand the relationship of hydration during different periods in life and the risk for adverse heart events. For instance, throughout the lifespan, adequate water intake is likely important for long-term heart health, but for those who already have heart failure, water intake may need to be limited.

Much of our body weight is made of water. Water helps flush out toxins, participating in nutrient metabolism and digestion, protecting joints and more. Underhydration negatively impacts heartfunction, endothelial function (a layer of cells that supports heart function), and the regulation of blood pressure.

The Hearty Take

Research suggests that water intake throughout life is important for long-term heart health. The Institute of Medicine recommends 13 cups of water for men and 9 cups for women daily. However, water needs vary. If you are in a high heat or sweaty environment, drink more. Reach out to your doctor to understand your water needs!

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