Study Challenges Water Intake Norm

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 08, 2016 02:44 AM EDT

Traditionally people have been told to take eight glasses of water daily. This is said to be for good health. A new study, however, has come up that might challenge that norm. Drinking more water might not be good for health as once thought.

A study that the Monash University leads have found that the human body has a mechanism that stops people from drinking too much fluid, according to the Science Daily. Over drinking could cause water intoxication, which could be fatal. The study has found that the brain activates a swallow inhibition when too much water has entered the body.

Associate Professor Michael Farrell from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has been the guide of Pascal Saker from the University of Melbourne. The work is a collaboration of several Melbourne institutes.

Participants in the study did two things. One was to rate the amount of water needed after exercise and then when they have been encouraged to drink water to excess. The study shows that there has been more effort in drinking water in excess, going as high as a threefold increase.

"Here for the first time we found effortful swallowing after drinking excess water which meant they were having to overcome some sort of resistance," Professor Farrell observed. He also stated that people will have to drink according to thirst rather than follow a schedule.


For the study functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to measure activities in the brain, as Medical Express reports. Through this, the study has shown that the right prefrontal areas of the brain have been more active when participants are making an effort to take in more water. This means that the frontal cortex is working to overcome the swallow inhibition which people experience when too much liquid is taken in.

Drinking too much water could be fatal. Too much liquid taken in could lead to hyponatremia or water intoxication. When this happens sodium levels in the blood become low. Its symptoms may include lethargy and nausea. Convulsions and even coma could also happen. While overdrinking of water could be dangerous, Professor Farrell said that people should still take in enough water daily.

Earlier it has also been reported that brain fluctuation can help in tasks.

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