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Does water flush sodium from the body?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

After switching to a paleo diet I unintentionally cut my sodium intake to around 1500mg a day. Which is what is recommended by most guidelines.

I drink around 4Liters(135 ounces) of water a day on average which may seem like a lot for some but I've always been a big water drinker.

I urinate quite frequently but not excessively.

My question is does drinking excess water "flush" the body's levels of sodium or lead to excess sodium loss in the urine. I've searched around on the net and there seems to be a lot of conflicting views on the subject with no hard evidence on either side.

Some say yes drinking excess water definitely leads to more sodium loss and other sources say that the kidney can regulate the amount of sodium and water in the body and drinking more water does not flush out sodium and will only lead to more diluted urine not more sodium excretion. The kidney will retain sodium when you have low dietary intake of it.

I'm concerned that some potential complications of too low sodium levels could arise with chronic low sodium intake and also high water intake if water does in fact have a sodium flushing effect.

I know that drinking excess water after losing electrolytes during training can dilute the body's sodium level and lead to hyponatremia. But that is in an acute sate of rapid over hydration after the body has lost a lot of electrolytes. And has more to do with the inability of the body to rid the excess was in time.

I'd greatly appreciate any insight if water does in fact flush sodium from the body.

Thanks.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on May 19, 2012
at 03:24 AM

Great find! Thank you for sharing it!

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I came across that one a while ago, I was pretty happy. I'd been salt free for a couple months, mostly just out of curiosity (no real health reason), but now I put *real* salt on all my food and it tastes so much better.

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2 Answers

best answer

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 12, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Not that I'm aware of, but, as you say, too much water can dangerously lower the concentration of elecrolytes in the body.

Are you really that thirsty or is drinking water just an OCD habit?

The paleo concept is drink when thirsty - but there are a number of difffering viewpoints on the issue. MDA has my favorite post on the subject:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8-glasses-of-water-a-day/#axzz1oudVZYt5

best answer

4
4efc4d54643ac2aa70327d47764e9d07

(120)

on March 12, 2012
at 02:49 PM

1500 mg could actually be too little sodium. According to this cardiovascular risk increases when the intake is under 3 grams or over 7 grams:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/20/2229.abstract

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I came across that one a while ago, I was pretty happy. I'd been salt free for a couple months, mostly just out of curiosity (no real health reason), but now I put *real* salt on all my food and it tastes so much better.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on May 19, 2012
at 03:24 AM

Great find! Thank you for sharing it!

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