About half of the world’s population does not meet the recommended 1.5L of water per day, and when fluid intake is reduced, serum sodium levels rise in the blood.
A study published in eBioMedicine by the National Institutes of Health shows that middle-aged people who stay well-hydrated are less likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart and lung disease, and they live longer healthier lives.
Based on 15 health indicators, the researchers assessed the relationship between serum sodium levels and biological aging using health data collected over 30 years from 11,255 middle-aged and older adults (50 to 90 years of age).
They found that people with normal high serum sodium levels were more likely to develop chronic diseases and exhibit signs of biological aging than those with serum sodium levels in the normal range (135-146 mEq/L).
Specifically, people with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L were 10-15% more likely to age biologically than they actually did at that age, and those above 144 mEq/L were even 50% more likely to age at that figure.
Meanwhile, serum sodium levels of 144.5-146 mEq/L were associated with a 21% increased risk of premature death compared to those in the normal range .
In addition, people with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L are more likely to develop chronic diseases (heart failure, stroke, diabetes, etc.), with an associated risk increase of up to 64%.
In contrary, people with serum sodium levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic diseases.
These rules can inform clinical practice and guide individual health behaviors, such as safely increasing fluid intake to maintain appropriate serum sodium levels through water, fruit juices, or vegetables and fruits with high water content.