Each age group has its own water needs


Thirst is a vital and pressing need that should not be ignored. When this sensation appears, it could even be too late already. The thirst is a signal which warns us that it is necessary to drink


As Isabelle Guelinckx, fluid intake scientist at Danone Research, attests, the water we drink irrigates each part of the body: every cell, every muscle and every organ is mainly made up of water, which plays a major role in their metabolic functions. Thus, as the main constituent of blood, water carries nutrients, some oxygen and hormones. In addition, it forms the solvent that enables soluble metabolic waste to be eliminated through the kidneys. It also regulates body temperature through sweat and its evaporation from the surface of the skin.

Tasked with observing consumer behavior, the scientist is concerned that we do not drink enough water. In particular, she is alerting us to the fact that water requirements change with age. In the earliest years of life, we estimate that the body contains 75% water. In an adult, this proportion is no more than 60% and falls to 50% in the elderly.

We therefore have different water needs.

Proportionally to its size, an infant dehydrates more quickly than its elders and, unlike them, is less able to identify and express its sensation of thirst. At the other end of the spectrum, the elderly are no less vulnerable. On the contrary, in this case it is more the wear on their regulation and alert system at fault. The body’s water content decreases by approximately 15% between the ages of 20 and 80. With the years, the risk of dehydration increases. Tested by life, the bodies of elderly people are therefore less reactive and the sensation of thirst more vague.

Hydration is also key to pregnant women.

The average weight gain of a pregnant woman during the pregnancy is around 26.5 lbs and a significant proportion of this increase is due to the water in the placenta, at 6 to 9 liters (202 to 304 ounces). The placenta contains approximately 85% water. The fetus itself is 70 to 90% water.

As a result, and in agreement with the competent authorities, in this case the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the scientist is issuing the following recommendations: An adult female should drink 2 liters (68 ounces) of water per day; 2.3 liters (78 ounces) if she is pregnant and up to 2.7 liters (91 ounces) if she is breastfeeding. For a man living in a temperate climate and practicing moderate physical activity, the average is 2.5 liters (85 ounces) per day. For children up to the age of 8: no more than one and a half liters (51 ounces). And from 9 to 13 years old, around 2 liters (68 ounces) per day. She states however that these intakes should be spread throughout the day, as the kidneys can only process one liter (34 ounces) of water per hour. And it all depends on the individual’s age, gender and physical condition. However, she says that no maximum tolerance threshold has been defined by the EFSA. Diagnoses of polydipsia, excessive water consumption linked to psychological disorders where the patient compulsively drinks over 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of water per day, are rare.

Photos © Iakov Filimonov

Reblogged from The Nutrijournal