NIH Research Festival
It is known that some people age faster than others, some people live into old age disease-free, while others develop age-related chronic diseases. With a rapidly aging population and an emerging chronic diseases epidemic, identifying and implementing preventive measures that could slow down the aging process has become a new challenge for biomedical research and public health. In mice, lifelong water restriction shortens the lifespan and promotes degenerative changes. By analyzing data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (middle-age enrollment (45-66 years, n=15752) and 25 years follow-up), we tested the hypothesis that optimal hydration may slow down the aging process in humans. We used serum sodium as a proxy for hydration habits. The analysis showed that middle age serum sodium >142 mmol/l was associated with a 39% increased risk to develop chronic diseases (hazard ratio [HR]=1.39, 95% confidence interval [CI]:1.18-1.63) and >144 mmol/l with 21% elevated risk of premature mortality (HR=1.21,95%CI:1.02-1.45). People with serum sodium >142 mmol/l had up to 50% higher odds to be older than their chronological age (OR=1.50, 95%CI:1.14-1.96). The results indicate that serum sodium exceeding 142 mmol/l increases the risk to be biologically older, develop chronic diseases and die at younger age. Although intervention studies are needed to confirm the link between hydration and aging, the data justifies the goal of paying closer attention to good hydration habits and development of more straightforward recommendations for optimal fluid intake that has a potential to delay or prevent chronic diseases in a safe and widely available way.
Scientific Focus Area: Epidemiology
This page was last updated on Monday, September 25, 2023