Friday, April 15, 2005

On The Mark -- Drink 'til You Drop

Here we go again. A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how a new study revealed that taking too much Vitamin E can actually hurt more than help you, as had been reported over the past 15 years or so.

Now it turns out, supposedly, that drinking too much water or sports drinks when running or working out in hot weather is actually detrimental to your health, causing death among long-distance runners in some cases.

A study just released in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a marathon runner, for example, could seriously dilute the blood with an overdose of liquids, resulting in a coma or death.

Because we’ve been taught for so many years to give water or a sports drink when it appears someone is suffering from heat stroke (after a long summer hike, for example), we actually could be giving them the poison to kill them.

Or so this study says, anyway. In 20 years’ time there will be another study that says thousands of people have died because they didn’t get enough water due to their fear of being over hydrated, based on this new study.

It seems to me the best remedy is: drink when you’re thirsty. Eat when you’re hungry. Avoid anything chemically manufactured unless there’s no choice.

But, then, I’m not a doctor…or a researcher…or better yet, one who funds these kinds of studies (and their built-in biases).

So now I’m confused, when I go on a long hike in the canyon this hot weekend, should I drink lots of water, or should I fight the urge to drink?

OK, I get it. Soon there will be a major marketing campaign undertaken by the companies that make instant tests that you can take while hiking or running where one can instantly determine their sodium levels to see if they need more or less water in their system.

Now I’m beginning to wonder who funded this study?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming you're referring to *does quick google news search* *grabs random link*this story...

It seems to me the best remedy is: drink when you’re thirsty.

But of course, any doctor (or sports drink company evangelist) will tell you that "drink when you're thirsty" is a bad idea - by the time you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.....

On The Mark said...

Yeah, but is that the old rule, or the new rule? I'm confused. I know that is what I was always told, anyway. Thanks for providing the link to the NYT article.

Devo said...

Lemme start by saying that I find your blog intelligent and compelling. Thanks for being a brand new source of independent thought! That's ever so rare these days...

Anyway, I remember my father telling me stories about his high school football days, when his coaches would make him eat salt tablets before they put him in because they were SURE that salt tablets warded off dehydration. It was common wisdom of the day. Just kinda goes to show you that no matter WHAT we do, and no matter how many chemicals we throw in a sports drink, we're all just a bunch of wookiees scratching our heads at the end of the day. And we're probably all on the cover of a box of cereal somewhere too.

This blog is better than Rock and Roll McDonalds!!!

Chandira said...

I used to be a therapist in England, and one day, this guy came in for treatment. He mentioned to me that he'd been having kidney pain, so I asked about water intake, etc. He said "well, I try to drink as much water as possible,I think I drink about 8 glasses a day". OK, I said, drink a little less, and see what happens. Sure enough, a week later, no kidney pain.
Yes, drink when you're thirsty. I agree. I know there is a lag in the thirst cycle, and you are dehydrated, by the time you feel thirsty, so drink when your body tells you to! It's a bit of a no-brainer for me.
I never pay attention to medical studies like this. Except the ones that say chocolate is good for you! ;-)

On The Mark said...

Devo -- Thanks for the compliments. I look forward to seeing your site.

Chandira -- Thank God for those "chocolate is good for you" studies.

Me said...

If people paid close attention to their bodies, rather than live their lives according to the latest study or article they read - they wouldn't have half the problems they have now. I mean, we can assume all women are hypochondriacs, and probably half of all men. So that's like 75% of the population that lives their lives according to someone who IS NOT THEM.

Yes, when you are thirsty, drink. But if you maintain throughout - you will not get thirsty because you will have kept a good pace with yourself.

When I play Raquetball (when I'm not dislocating a knee) I sweat, I drink, I sweat, I drink. I don't wait until I'm panting and my lips are chaping.

That's why beer is so damn effective. It keeps you thirsty so you dont' stop drinking until your fucking liver explodes.

Chandira said...

Yeah! Beer.. (I wish it didn't make me sick, I think I'm allergic.)

Hey guys, how's your site meter today? :-)

CW FISHER said...

I think the problem is running.

Animals don't exercise, working people don't either, don't need to.

Only nonworking people with real jobs are forced to exercise. Soon they're hooked on endorphins. Later they run themselves to death.

Who are these driven people we all seem to work for, and what's driving them really? Is it water? Can we cut it off?

...Toner Mishap, you fill up my senses.

CW FISHER said...

I think the problem is running.

Animals don't exercise, working people don't either, don't need to.

Only nonworking people with real jobs are forced to exercise. Soon they're hooked on endorphins. Later they run themselves to death.

Who are these driven people we all seem to work for, and what's driving them really? Is it water? Can we cut it off?

...Toner Mishap, you fill up my senses.