How Much Water is Too Much

Everywhere you turn, people are telling you to drink water. Doctors, parents, teachers, coaches, yoga instructors, dietitians, holistic health nuts. Everyone advises us to drink, drink, drink or to remember to drink plenty of fluid. But can you drink too much water? It turns out, you certainly can.

The human body is a complex organism that consists of many different parts and each of them is made of different amounts of water. The brain and the heart are 73 percent water. The lungs are 83 percent H2O. Your skin, on the other hand — or on either hand, as the case may be — is 64 percent water.

Did you know we dry out as we age? A fetus is 94 percent water, an infant about 75 percent. The average adult is between 57 percent and 60 percent water, while an elderly person is about 50 percent water, a remarkable drop of 44 percentage points from our glory days in mother’s womb.

There are H2O related differences between men and women, as well. Men have less fat than women, which makes their bodies about 60 percent water. Fat is relatively dehydrated, which means women, with more fat than men, are only 55 percent water.

For many people, drinking water is a problem – they may not like the taste of water or simply prefer a sugary soda beverage instead. For others, however, drinking water is no problem at all.

The Function Of Water In Your Body

Here are some of the crucial functions that water plays in the body:

  • Water helps to keep joints in the body lubricated
  • Water helps regulate the body temperature
  • Water assists with digestion
  • Water helps with the delivery of oxygen
  • Water is required for the production of certain neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain
  • Water assists with shock absorption by the spinal cord and the brain
  • Water helps transport many chemicals through the body

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Different recommendations are provided regarding the daily recommended water intake. The most popular advice is eight glasses of water of eight ounces each. But this advise is partly given out because it is easy to remember. Some variations should be taken into account. Men are advised to drink more water than women. Your age and activity level also plays a part in determining how much water your body requires to stay healthy. Additional factors also play a part – such as when a woman is pregnant or when she is breastfeeding.

For adults, the following recommendations have been made regarding an adequate supply of water on a daily basis:

  • Men are advised to consume 3.7 liters of water daily. This accounts for all fluids, including those obtained from foods. When it comes to water consumption from beverages, the recommended daily intake is around 3.0 liters.
  • Women are advised to consume 2.7 liters of water daily. This accounts for fluids that are obtained from beverages and food. Women are encouraged to drink approximately 2.1 liters of water daily through beverages.

What about kids? 

Of course, young kids are not expected to drink as much as adult men or women. Here are the recommendations for children and adolescents:

  • 1-3 years of age, drink 0.9 liters each day
  • 4-8 years of age, drink 1.2 liters each day
  • 9-13 years of age, girls, drink 1.6 liters per day
  • 9-13 years of age, boys, drink 1.8 liters per day
  • 14-18 years of age, girls, drink 1.8 liters per day
  • 14-17 years of age, boys, drink 2.6 liters per day

How Much Water Is Consider Too Much?

When you drink too much water, complications may develop. These complications can lead to a condition called water intoxication, which can produce life-threatening consequences.

How much is too much? The kidneys can process up to 28 liters of water every single day, but you have to give the kidneys time to do their work, so you can’t drink too fast. The kidneys can only remove a maximum of one-liter water per hour. If you exceed that, you are drinking too fast.

Water intoxication is rare, but it can be fatal, so the symptoms are important to understand.

The most common signs that you have drunk too much water include a headache, as well as nausea and potentially vomiting. When these symptoms develop, it is important to stop drinking water for the time being.

Symptoms of more severe water intoxication include an increase in blood pressure levels, double vision, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness and muscle cramps. Confusion may also occur.

The cause of death, if you consume an extraordinary amount of water too fast is not, as you would think, drowning. What occurs is that your electrolytes are thrown off balance and you die when the percentage of salt in your body is diluted to the point that it is too low. The cause of death is a fatally low concentration of  serum sodium.


Water is the essence of life. More than half of our bodies consist of water, and without an adequate intake of water, we can suffer dehydration and many unpleasant symptoms. (Death occurs in three to five days if you stop taking in water.) While drinking enough water is vital, it is essential to know your limits as well. Drinking too much water can be harmful and may lead to dangerous complications. Of course, thirst tells us to drink something, but what tells us to stop? The answer is the same: Thirst. That is, when you stop being thirsty, you should stop drinking, experts say.