As You Get Older, You Need to Drink More Water. Here’s Why


ISLAMABAD, October 07(Online): As you get older, you need to drink more water.
That’s the advice from a new study published in The Journal of Physiology.
The researchers from the University of Ottawa point out that hydration is key in regulating body temperature and helping fight off a host of other health problems.
The researchers said that dehydration doesn’t reduce heat loss or increase body temperature in older adults during exercise as it does in younger people, which may seem on the surface like a beneficial response.
But that means that when older people exercise, their bodies don’t adjust the rate of sweat loss to prevent further dehydration.
This results in greater strain on the heart, evidenced by a more pronounced increase in heart rate compared to younger men.
The study featured older men, although the results pointed to all older adults as those affected.
The researchers added that “until recently, however, our understanding of the effects of dehydration on body temperature regulation came primarily from studies conducted on young adults.”
“This is an interesting study, as it delivers new insights into fundamental age-related changes to our physiology,” Dr. Scott A. Kaiser, a geriatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Healthline.
“While changes in the regulation of body heat, sweating, hydration, and thirst that tend to occur with age are well established, this study probes deeply into the specific changes of underlying mechanisms. In particular, changes in response to dehydration and heat with exercise,” he explained.
Researchers said that a reduced sensitivity in older people to elevated blood osmolality (concentration of salt) could explain the blunted effect of dehydration on hearing loss and body temperature regulation in older adults during exercise and in greater heat.
The researchers found that in contrast to young adults, the regulation of body temperature in the older subjects wasn’t influenced by the increase of saltiness in the blood.
Less efficient regulation of body temperature contributes to an increased risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, adverse heart problems.

Dr. Rand McClain, founder of Regenerative & Sports Medicine in Santa Monica, California, told Healthline that he sees one particular problem among older people, especially men, when it comes to dehydration: They’re not aware or accepting of how their body changes with age.
“They are less likely to be wary and more likely to ignore signs of dehydration and heat-related illness because they have a past history that is unrepresentative of their new status as older adult males,” McClain said.
McClain said we tend to “dry out” as we age, as our water composition can change from roughly 70 percent to as little as 50 percent.
“We need water for everything to operate smoothly and at its best,” he said. “While we can go for weeks or months without food, we can go without water for only days. Even being slightly dehydrated to 98 percent of normal can affect one’s metabolism negatively and reduce athletic and organ performance.”

Dr. Nicole Avena, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, told Healthline that dehydration can cause other problems, such as fatigue and muscle weakness.
Kristin Gillespie, MS, CNSC, a registered dietician with the website Exercise with Style, told Healthline that the abundance of nutrients hyped for health benefits tend to muddy the waters, so to speak, when it comes to how to hydrate.
“This makes it hard for the public to decide what nutrients are more or less important than others,” Gillespie said. “Water consumption and hydration is hard for a lot of people to appreciate because water offers no nutritional value.”
She said that besides thirst, other symptoms of dehydration include dark or infrequent urination, dry skin and lips, muscle cramps (especially in legs, feet, and hands), low blood pressure, elevated heart rate, fatigue, and “general malaise.”
And staying hydrated can also help avoid illnesses.
“An added benefit of drinking lots of water is its positive effect on immunity,” Gillespie said. “Consuming adequate fluids helps keep you healthy by helping your body naturally rid itself of bacteria and other toxins.”