Too much water can be dangerous

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)

So can too much posting.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

"Okay, I read the article ....NOW WHAT???

If I am not an elite athelete do I stop drinking??

If I am not an elite athelete do I put pin holes in my camel back so I don't drink to much???

If I am not an elite athelete do I make sure I stop
and Pee? Seems like that is one sign that all is good.


Drink less?
Drink less often?
Sit on the couch and drink?

This all will go into my next book called
"" Is a healthy lifestyle good for your healthy?""



Anonymous's picture
safe (not verified)
Use the couch

"Just sit on your couch eating Fast Food. There is enough sodium in there that you will never have to worry about running out of salt.

Or take salt tablets like hikers have done for years. Or use a sports drink with a some electrolites in it.

And if you are crazy enough to run or bike, if feel crappy, stop! There are some opinions that it is much more involved, including hormones, etc.

The NY Road Runners site has some tips.
""To avoid hyponatremia, do not overdrink, include pretzels or a salted bagel in your pre-run meal, and use a sports drink that contains sodium. During exercise, drink no more than a cup of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.""

Or runners world has a very good article about drinking:,5033,s6-78-0-0-5382,00.html"

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Hard to over-hydrate

I can't read the Times article because I don't have a logon, but at the first-aid course given last night by NYCC's own Dr. Ed Fishkin, he noted - with some emphasis - that it's nearly impossible to over-hydrate.

He also said that the body naturally does a good job of preserving and balancing electrolyte levels and loss, so carry water, not just sport drink.

Finally, it's probably worse to drink too little than to drink an extra glass or two of water. So, when in doubt, reach for the water bottle!

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Too much water

"The theory of too much water is like this. I will use my bowl and sponge analogy like in my other post. You should probably read the other post first.

Lets say you have the bowl filled with water and sponges and you keep adding water. At some point, the bowl will over flow with water and the sponges will start floating over the top and out of the bowl. Add enough water and you will flush all the sponges out of the bowl until there is only water. Now there is nothing in the bowl to hold the water and it will flow quickly out of the hole in the botom. Now you have an empty bowl. No matter how much water you put in, there is nothing to keep it there.

And now you are dehydrated from too much water!!

The key is to find your personal balance between water and electrolytes. BTW, electrolytes are not just in sports drinks.

What are electrolytes you might be asking?



Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

"That little bit of extra water can hurt you.

The point of the article was that it *is* possible to over-hydrate, and that far more people are doing it than thought previously.

What is the average person to do? Drink after exercise, but don't guzzle huge amounts. Let your thirst dictate when and how much to drink.

One doctor is quoted as saying that ""Everyone becomes dehydrated when they race. But I have not found one death in an athlete from dehydration in a competitive race in the whole history of running. Not one. Not even a case of illness.""

Specific to the NYCC, there was an instance on a West Point weekend a few years ago in which I was told a woman had to be taken to the hospital, because she was drinking huge amounts of fluid."

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Impossible to over-hydrate

It is technically impossible to over-hydrate. At some point the body stops storing water and it goes right through the body. When it leaves the body, it takes with it the sodium, potassium, and chloride necessary for your body to regulate water levels. Then your body is no longer able to maintain it's water levels, and you get dehydrated.

So technically you did not get over-hydrated.

Anonymous's picture
Myth Buster (not verified)

I disagree,
Technically what kills you is overhydration of the cells.
Through the flushing you describe, you deplete the sodium/electrolytes in your blood stream.
Then basic chemistry takes over. The water moves into the cells to dilute the concentration inside, as these concentrations need to equilibrate, (remember that from high school)?
Water is able to move through the cell membrane faster than the solubles. If this happens too quickly, your cells have too much water and have problems functioning.
When your cells stop working, so do you.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

I believe the condition you describe is called a hypotonic state. Under the counsel of a registered nurse, I had casually researched this some time ago prompted by office mates who challenged one another to drink a whole Poland Spring water cooler bottle (5 gallons or so) in a day. It was just tongue-n-cheek and a discussion arose wondering if any danger would be involved other than making alot of trips to the bathroom.

Word has it chicken little was complaining that the sky was falling because it became oversaturated with water.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

I read something in a book about this happening, but I never understood it.

But would this be over-hydration? Could the body survive without sodium if you could get the correct amount of water into it to supply all the necessary fuctions? If I understand this reshifting of fluids, Is the body taking water from one place to feed another? Or does the water only flow if there is an excess? If I did not take in any electrolytes, and gave my body only the water it needed, would the cells still shut down?

The part I do not understand about the electrolytes is how the electrical stimulation part actually works to keep the cells going.

Anonymous's picture
bio major (not verified)
Saturday lecture

We can discuss it on the ride Saturday.
Just remember to pre-hydrate and achieve total clarity, or Captain Ed will be your problem.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

Want to fill me in on who you are?

Hard to tell when you do not use your name.

Anonymous's picture
bio major (not verified)
Making trouble

The same guy who is watching the shifting of your compact.


Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
bio major

I never would have guessed you were a bio major. Learn something new every day!

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Anyone confused yet?

"1999 was the first time that I head about Hyponatremia. Back then the theory was to drink half water and half gatorade. Apparently too much Gatorade would cause stomach cramps, so it was supposed to be diluted. Gatorade never worked very well for me, but others like it. The balance is very personal.

I will try to explain the theory of hyponatremia without being overly complicated.

Imagine a bowl with a hole in the bottom. If you pour in water, it will go right out the hole. If you add some sponges to the bowl, and then pour in some water. The sponges will collect some of the water and some will leak out the bottom. Find the correct number of sponges to the amount of water being poured in and you get a balanced system. Too many sponges and not enough water and some of the sponges remain dry.

The bowl is your body. The hole in the bottom represents urinating, sweating, and other bodily uses of water. The water is water, and the sponges are the electrolytes.

Make sense? After rereading this, I am not sure it makes sense to me either. Of course there is more to it than this, but this should keep it confusing enough.

Here is a link that compares some sports drinks.

Sports Drink Comparison"

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
This is why I drink white wine (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)
Or red

Beer is good too.

Anonymous's picture
Jersey guy (not verified)
Maybe we should pay more attention to salt

Two things I got out of the Times piece:

(1) Replenish lost salt when you're sweating a lot of it out; and

(2) You can overdo almost anything, including water intake.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

"What you can do to know when and how much water to drink is to weigh yourself before and after an event under certain circumstances. That will tell you how much water you need to replace under different conditions. So you can cycle for one hour in Central Park going as such and such a pace in such and such conditions and find out how much weight difference is equal to how much water. You will have to look up the volume/weight ratio.

Or as W C Fields was reputed to say regarding water, ""I never touch the stuff; fish reproduce in it."""

Anonymous's picture
Etoain D.Shroodlu (not verified)
Water, wine, sponges, bowls, starches, salts, sex, beer, etc.

"I've just about had it with all you neo nutritionists telling me what to eat and what not to eat and when to eat it and on and on.

First it was load pasta. Then it was don't load pasta. Then it was load peanut butter or other fatty foods provided they're ""natural."" Then it was bananas. (Sorry Peter K., but this means you, too.) Then it was Power Bars, Then the answer was Cliff bars. Then it was hydrate. Now it's don't hydrate.

On top of that I now have to sit still for blather about sponges in bowls, salts, urination and who knows what.

Here's how to deal as a cyclist with the whole issue:

First: Immediately before every ride, chain smoke two cigarettes. This will get your heart rate up so that you're essentially warmed up before you start pedaling.

Second: during each break, eat a frankfurter. Frankfurters are loaded with sodium and other electrolytes, and by eating a frank you can then afford to drink about a pint of water safely. Also, the protein in the frankfurter will offset the protein burnoff in your muscles.

Why not glycogen burnoff instead? Because, Idiot, you're on, or ought to be on, one of those no-starch diets like Atkins or South Beach, so you're not storing glycogens. You'd sooner load manure with a pitchfork than carbs.

Why are you on Atkins or South Beach? Because carbo-loading, which used to be a good thing, is now a bad thing which causes middle-aged belly bulge and diabetes, which lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Where was I? Oh yes, the frankfurter. Some racers will complain that they don't have time to stop and eat a frankfurter, or that they can't find frankfurters on their favorite route. In that case, carry a raw frankfurther in your back pocket (where you used to carry bananas) or your musette bag and chew it as you pedal along, just as the ancient Native Americans chewed pemmican.

Third. (Or is it fourth. Well anyway): Always carry two water bottles, even if this adds weight. One bottle should contain lye or sulphuric acid, so you can squirt it at the cars that cut you off or sideswipe you on the road. A little lye on the hood of a shiny new SUV will give an arrogant driver something to think about.

The second bottle should contain beer. Beer is a great regulator of fluid loss: When you get dizzy or feel sleepy or start talking trash, or fall off the bike, you know it's time to stop for a while, urinate, and safely have a glass of water. (Remember, you've been replacing your salts with that raw frankfurter.)

After the ride, recover with a T-bone steak, a few more beers or wine, and another cigarette. (Incidentally, will somebody please get that unhealthy pasta and those mashed potato ""Shepherd's Pie"" thingys off the menu at monthly club meetings?)

Sex after riding (or before riding, or during lunch) is also a good idea.

I know, I know. You're complaining that all the sex might kill you. As my late Montenegrin second cousin once removed Vladimir Irgl once said, drawing on his remarkable folk wisdom, ""Everybody has to die of something.""

He was hemmorhaging from a bullet wound at the time.

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu"

Anonymous's picture
e-cap lover (not verified)

"There are many types of products out there that are hard to come by unless you are introduced by someone who uses them. I compete in adventure racing that lasts multiple day’s non-stop and do not have the luxury to replenish my body with the ""correct diet"" so to say while racing. I use Hammer Nutrition products and have found them to be very beneficial in my training and racing, one of those products is their endurolytes and race caps which are electrolytes in a form more usable for the body then salt tablets.

Now I am sure there are certain people out there who will state that they don't work, you are wasting you money, but one thing I do know is that everyone's body handles exertion differently and there is no one answer to say yes or no you will suffer from hyponatremia, but I have seen it and it is a very dangerous condition if it ever happens, which in that case required hospitalization.

The best advice is read about the symptoms of hyponatremia and be aware when you are drinking huge amounts of water, and if you want some electrolytes to help you in your training and racing take a look at www e-caps com and make your own choices
Or bring a salt shaker with you on the ride, just don’t snort it in front of the cops sitting on the side of central park.
JMO (just my opinion)

Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)
Frankfurters et al

The first ever club ride I was ever on many years ago, we rode through Hoboken and stopped at an Italian deli. One member of the group bought a pepperoni and kept it in his jersey pocket. Throughout the remainder of the ride, he would occaissionally bite off a chunk. Needless to say he rode pretty well, but no one wanted to ride behind him after awhile.

What's the moral of this story?

Two dirty waters for the best answer.

Anonymous's picture
Etoain D.Shroodlu (not verified)
Moral of the story above

If you're not the lead dog, wear nose clips.

Your Pal.

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

the following is reprinted by permission from the author from the TANYC email list:

    Originally, sports drinks were not designed to replace all the
sodium lost in sweat, but rather to encourage athletes to drink more
than they do when given plain water alone, thus preventing

      Dehydration has always been a concern, partly because pace
slows by 3% for every 1% decrease in body weight caused by
dehydration (this means an almost 15 second/mile slow down for a
150# runner who loses 1.5# to dehydration).  Additionally, when you
do not replace fluids adequately, your heart rate increases and your
blood volume decreases.  

      Recently, several companies have launched formulas (such as
Gatorade Endurance), that are within the physiological range of the
salt content of human sweat, and when taken in the appropriate
quantities, will help replenish an endurance athletes fluids and
sodium lost during activity.

      Anyone who has ever worked in, passed through or needed
attention in a medical tent at the end of a marathon, ½ iron
distance or full iron distance triathlon will agree that dehydration
IS still a serious risk and concern for endurance athletes.  So,
while the article was correct in pointing out that 13% of the
runners in the 2002 study of Boston Marathon runners were
hyponatremic, it neglects to address that it is probable that
dehydration plays a significant role in the perpetuation of

            So, what exactly is hyponatremia?  

Hyponatremia is defined as a blood sodium concentration of less than
135 mEq/liter, or less than 3.1 grams of sodium per liter of blood.

              What causes hyponatremia?  

Drinking water or diluted sports drinks and failing to match sodium
AND fluid loss may lead you to developing hyponatremia.  


           How can dehydration contribute to hyponatremia?

When we become dehydrated our blood pressure drops, which causes the
pituitary gland in the brain to release more Antidiuretic Hormone
(ADH), which in turn tells the kidneys to conserve water.  This
makes our urine more concentrated and decreases total urine output,
which in turn increases our hydration status and blood pressure.  So
far it sounds good.  

The problem is that the extra water now being reabsorbed by the
kidneys also contributes to hyponatremia.  Confused yet?

As you can tell, the regulation of water and sodium in our bodies is
very complex, but the overall message here is that two competing
physiological processes are both trying to keep the body in balance,
and while trying to protect the body from becoming dehydrated, the
body may potentially make hyponatremia worse.

           Back to Basics

      On average, 1 liter of sweat contains anywhere from 1.75  to 3
grams of salt (or between 700 mg of sodium and 1800 mg chloride to
1200mg sodium and 1800 mg chloride).  An average sweat rate is 1
liter per hour, but varies widely by individual.  Losing 1 liter of
sweat per hour means you need to replace both the water and the
sodium.  If you strive to replace both your water losses and sodium
losses, you will greatly reduce your risk of developing both
dehydration and hyponatremia.  

              So what's an athlete to do?    

     1. Determine your individual sweat rate:
Weigh yourself before a 1-hr workout, and again afterwards without
clothes on.  To calculate your sweat rate subtract your ending
weight from your starting weight. *If you drank any fluids during
your workout, add that to the total amount of fluid lost during
exercise to determine your sweat rate/hr.  

      2. Replace fluids lost during exercise:
      Drink 16oz for every pound of body weight sweat out dur

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Thanks, Jeff

"I don't know what those acronyms stand for, but it sounds like Lauren knows what she's talking about. (A nutritionist, I presume.) Clearly each individual needs to take their own circumstances and conditioning into consideration when deciding how much water or anything else to consume in the course of an intense activity.

One thing that seems confusing to people is that the latest report largely concerns amateur athletes who are out on the road (or wherever) for so much longer than elite athletes and so, following the popular wisdom, have more opportunity to unduly douse themselves with liters upon liters of water. Because the amateur category comprises many of us club members it is a concern. But again, it's each man or woman for him/herself in determining how much is too much.

Personally I begin ride day by observing Dr. Fishkin's sacred ""total clarity"" rule and as the day wears on suspect I'm not drinking enough if nature doesn't call at least once. But carrying two water bottles is plenty. As for salt, there are always V-8s and BLT sandwiches, and probably no one likes anchovies more than me. Is that as bad as pepperoni?

Anonymous's picture
Banana Guy (not verified)
Too much B.S., Let's go for a ride. (nm)
cycling trips