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Too Much Water Can Kill Even a Fit 22-Year-Old

The 22-year-old London marathon runner David Rogers, a fitness instructor who completed the race in less than four hours, collapsed after he crossed the finish line. He was rushed to the hospital where, sadly, he died.

Rogers died as a result of hyponatremia, a lack of sodium in his body that can be caused by drinking too much water.

He was the ninth athlete in the 27-year history of the London marathon to die. Almost 60 of this year's more than 36,000 runners ended up needing hospital treatment. Ambulance volunteers treated more than 5,000 runners, generally for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

The Sun April 24, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

About five years ago, I warned about the perils of drinking too much water in connection with the deaths of three U.S. military trainees. Unfortunately, many forget or have never learned this tragic lesson.

Drinking too much water is dangerous because your body has a fixed upper limit of fluid that it can process. Once you exceed that limit, any excess water then goes to your bowel, which pulls salt into it from the body, diluting the concentration of salt in your blood.

Your heart requires a very precise amount of salt (sodium) in your blood, and once that level falls below a certain threshold it will either beat irregularly or stop beating altogether.

Once again, the important point worth making here is there's a big difference between optimizing your health by drinking the right amount of water and overdoing it. What's important is to let thirst be your guide when it comes to water. In general, depending on your size, your body can process slightly more than a glass of water per hour.

A simple guideline that is easy for everyone to follow is to look at the color of your urine. If you are not taking a multivitamin with vitamin B2 (which will falsely color your urine bright yellow) then an ideal color for your urine would be a very light yellow. The brighter and darker it is the more dehydrated you likely are.

That being said, drinking enough water is one of the most simple, basic, and important health steps you can take. Your Body's Many Cries for Water is an excellent review of the benefits of drinking the proper amount of water.

Remember, the quality of the water you drink is just as important to your health as the quantity -- a good reason to stay away from water coming from your tap or a bottle.

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