How To Live A Longer Life By Maintaining Optimal Sodium Levels

The study sheds light on the critical link between sodium levels and aging, with potentially life-altering implications.

The study sheds light on the critical link between sodium levels and aging, with potentially life-altering implications.

Drinking plenty of water slows down the aging process, improves sleep, and lowers the odds of having lung and heart disease, a study finds.

Those who do not get enough fluids were found to have high levels of sodium and consequently were more likely to age quicker, develop various conditions, and die earlier.

The study analysed health data from 11,255 participants in their 50s with a 25-year follow-up period.

The results revealed a strong connection between sodium levels and the aging process.

The team found that those with blood sodium levels higher than the normal range (135–146 mmol/l) aged faster and were at higher risk of developing health issues such as dementia, diabetes, lung disease, blood circulation disorder, heart failure, and stroke.

They suggest a serum sodium level of 142 mmol/l should be used as the starting point in clinics to identify individuals at risk.

Staying hydrated

When we don’t drink enough or are dehydrated (losing more fluid than take in), it leads to higher amounts of sodium in the blood which can cause serious damage to the cells.

On the other hand, staying hydrated will have an anti-aging effect and will reduce the risk of long-term diseases.

Dr Natalia Dmitrieva, the study’s first author, said:

“The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life.”

Previous studies have shown that elevated serum sodium levels can increase heart disease risk.

This study went further and examined how high sodium intake can affect biological aging.

They looked at 15 risk factors such as cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure and how well participants’ respiratory,  immune system, heart, kidney, and metabolism were doing.

They found that those with serum sodium levels above 142 mmol/l had a 15 percent greater risk of being biologically older than their actual age.

The odds were increased to 50 percent for adults with levels above 144 mmol/l and they had a 21 percent elevated risk of dying at a younger age.

Moreover, those with levels above 142 mmol/l were 64 percent more likely to develop serious conditions such as dementia, lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.

However, increasing daily water intake would lower sodium concentration and help those with levels above 142 mmol/l.

Recommended intake of water

The National Academies of Medicine recommends a daily fluid intake of 1.5-2.2 litres equivalent to 6-9 cups for women and 2-3 litres or 8-12 cups for men.

Some people, though, due to their health conditions might need specific medical guidance.

Dr Manfred Boehm, study co-author, said:

“The goal is to ensure patients are taking in enough fluids, while assessing factors, like medications, that may lead to fluid loss.

Doctors may also need to defer to a patient’s current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure.”

The researchers hinted that half of the world population’s daily fluids intake is less than the recommended amount.

Dr Dmitrieva said:

“On the global level, this can have a big impact.

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.”

The study was published in the journal eBioMedicine (Dmitrieva et al., 2023).

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