The science of aging is ever evolving. Tips and tricks abound for how to age gracefully, actively, or any other number of adjectives. However one hopes to age, most people seek to remain healthy. Now, a new study published in eBioMedicine indicates that staying well hydrated may slow aging and stave off disease. This is just another reason to drink water!
Researchers analyzed data from 11,255 adults over a 30-year period. They looked for links between serum sodium levels and various indicators of health. Serum sodium rises when fluid intake drops. Individuals with baseline high levels were excluded. Higher levels of sodium correlated to developing chronic conditions (such as heart failure and artery disease) and showing signs of advanced biological aging (assessed through 15 indicator factors). High levels also increased the likelihood of early death. Past studies have also found the risk of heart failure is raised.
Correlation is not causation, and more study is required before drinking water can be said to be actively preventative. However, as drinking sufficient water is generally considered healthy, it cannot hurt. “The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life,” says Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva, a study author and researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the NIH. She also notes, “Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, which is why the results suggest that staying well hydrated may slow down the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”