Drink more & live longer?
* A study used the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (ARIC) to examine hydration levels in participants against markers of aging.
* The concentration of sodium in the blood (serum sodium) was used as a marker for hydration. Chronic disease, premature death and a number of health measurements were used as markers for aging.
* There were three main claims. High serum sodium (low hydration) was associated with i) a 39% increased risk of chronic disease; ii) a 21% increased risk of premature death; and iii) a 50% higher risk of having a higher biological age than actual age.
* There were a few inaccuracies in the paper, which raised doubts about robustness.
* People were placed into four sodium level groups to be compared. The biggest issue with the research was that the four groups were very uneven – both in ranges of sodium levels and numbers of people in each group.
* The outcome of this was that the results applied almost entirely to only 3.5% of people studied.
* The data revealed a bigger finding, which was not headlined. The single highest risk factor was for premature death if you were in the lowest sodium level group. If sodium is a marker of hydration, then the most hydrated people were the most likely to die early.
* The implication of the paper was drink more or age faster. The missing caveat was "but not too much."
The rest of this article is available to site members, who get access to all articles plus a weekly newsletter.
To continue reading, please login below or sign up for a membership. Thank you.