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You Want to Detox? Drink Plenty of Water

We have all heard the age-old advice: drink 8 glasses of water per day. Yet this guideline was set in 1945 and was based on opinion, not science, leading many to ask the question: (*1)

How much water do we really need to drink, and why? 

While it is important to drink enough water, there are also dangers associated with drinking too much water. In the last 20 years, there has been helpful research on the benefits of drinking enough non-alcoholic fluids, and on the amounts that are best for health. 

One reason why drinking enough water is important is that proper hydration is imperative to keeping your kidneys healthy and able to function properly, aiding in the detoxification pathways of many toxins and other substances.

Water Improves Kidney Function

water for improved kidney function

Drinking sufficient water is an important part of any detox plan. The main reason why water consumption is critical when it comes to removing toxins is simple: water is essential when it comes to keeping your kidneys healthy and functioning properly.(*1) 

When it comes to the elimination of toxic chemicals, the kidneys are considered by most to be second in importance only to the liver.(*2) When functioning properly, they are in charge of filtering the blood and eliminating the following toxins, among others:

  • Certain industrial toxins and heavy metals
  • Urea
  • Ammonia
  • Uric Acid
  • Hormone metabolites

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as the progressive loss of kidney function over time.3 CKD is incredibly common, with an estimated 50% of those over 75 suffering from CKD. However, most people will not show any symptoms of early CKD, leaving the kidney damage to progress unnoticed. 

Water Protects Against Chronic Kidney Disease

Water for healthy kidneys

If you want to keep your body capable of removing toxins from your blood as you grow older, it is important to keep your kidneys healthy. Numerous studies have found that drinking plenty of fluids can help to keep your kidneys healthy as you age. (*1,4)

One study followed over 2,000 adults for seven years in order to examine kidney function and health in relation to how many non-alcoholic fluids people drank. This study found that those who drank the most were less likely to suffer from declining kidney function.(*1) 

Another similar study produced the same results, with those who drank the most fluids less likely to develop chronic kidney disease when compared with those who drank the least. (*4) Those who drank the most averaged roughly 3 liters, or just under 13 glasses, of water per day.

How Much Water and Non-Alcoholic Fluids You Should Drink Each Day?

Lemon water for detox

Recent research tends to include the quantity of all non-alcoholic fluids in your diet, rather than just water, when examining the impact of fluid intake on kidney health. 

Instead of eight 8-ounce glasses of water like once suggested, the Food and Nutrition Board has set suggested daily non-alcoholic fluid intake at 2.7 liters, or just over 11 cups, for women, and 3.7, or just under 16 cups, for men.1 This includes drinks such as water, tea, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages. 

This is only a guideline because every individual’s water-intake needs are different. Based on your age, size, health status, and activity level, the amount that you need will vary. Be sure not to drink too much water, as this too can lead to health problems. 

1. Fluid intake for kidney disease prevention: an urban myth?

2. The kidney dysfunction epidemic, part 1: causes

4. Fluid and nutrient intake and risk of chronic kidney disease