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Are You Drinking Enough Water With Your Vitamins?

March 17, 2020
by Kevin RR Williams

Mineral buildup can lead to gallstones, kidney stones, or other problems.

A Swallow is Not Enough

The average person should drink about 8 cups of water per day—more if excessive fluids are lost through perspira­tion or diuretics. This averages to about a cup of water every 2 hours that you are awake. There is a more specific formula for calcu­lating how much water is recom­mended according to your individual body size. All this water keeps blood flowing and other bodily cells moving. It also allows you to dilute minerals and move wastes from your body.

Recommended Daily Water Intake By Body Weight
Body Weight130 lbs
(59 kg)
150 lbs
(68 kg)
180 lbs
(82 kg)
200 lbs
(91 kg)
Daily Water65 fl. oz.
≈8 cups
(1.92 Liter)
75 fl. oz.
≈9 cups
(2.2 Liter)
90 fl. oz.
≈11 cups
(2.7 Liter)
100 fl. oz.
≈12 cups
(3.0 Liter)

Aim to drink about half your body weight (pounds) in ounces. One cup is 8 ounces. Typical bottle of water is one half liter (16.9 fl. oz.). Four bottles equals two liters (roughly 8 cups). During an 8-hour work day, you should be drinking at least one cup per hour. Do not exceed 16 cups (4 Liters) per day. Hyper­hy­dra­tion can be fatal.

There is a tendency to sip just enough water to swallow a vitamin. Sublingual vitamins like B12 dissolve beneath the tongue. We should still drink water before or afterwards. Vitamin and mineral supplements are dense nutrients. They require water for hydra­tion to achieve solubility and to dilute their concentra­tion. High-potency vitamins need even more dilution. Imagine removing all the water from a cup of dish­washing liquid so it is concen­trated into a dry tablet the size of vitamin. How much water do you need to dilute that tablet?

Are You Drinking Enough Water With Your Vitamins?

One 8-ounce glass of water is generally sufficient with one vitamin. But when we take a handful of vitamins and minerals, that single glass is insuffi­cient. There is concern that mineral buildup might lead to gallstones, kidney stones, or other problems.

Kidney stones can form if there is excessive uric acid in your urine. Eating large amounts of fish, shellfish, or meat, especially organ meat can prompt this. The most common kidney stones are calcium stones. Within malfunctioning kidneys, excess calcium mixes with other waste products like phosphate or oxalate to form stones.

Water-soluble vitamins do not accumulate in the body. Excess is expelled as vitamin-rich urine. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are retained by the body and stored in the liver, with possible health conse­quences. If you do not feel thirsty enough to increase water consump­tion, eat some­thing salty, like nuts. The salt should trigger thirst.

Avoid extremes. Too much sodium in your diet can be as unhealthy as eliminating salt altogether. Sodium is a critical electrolyte that, along with potassium and chloride, helps to deliver water to your body’s cells. A diet that is too low in sodium can actually increase your risk of dehydration.

Some people go days or weeks drinking very little water, despite having an abun­dance available. Do you find it difficult to follow recom­menda­tions for daily water consumption? Adipsia (hypodipsia) can be hereditary, due to trauma, caused by a stroke, or progressively develop as we age. Seek advice of a nephrology or urology health professional if absence of thirst is prolonged or develops abruptly.

How Much Water Per Pill?

So how much water is necessary? A simple estimate is one cup per pill. If this seems like an outrageous amount of liquid to consume because of the vast number of vitamins you regularly take, consider switching to a compre­hen­sive multi­vitamin. Taking a high dose of individual vitamins changes how your body uses them. Stick with 100% of the RDI (recom­mended daily intake) for vitamins, unless your doctor has prescribed differently.

Here is a related question to which you are likely to hear conflicting answers: What constitutes “water?” Can you drink juice, coffee, soup, fruit, smoothies? It turns out, our stomachs are not fooled when we disguise water with coloring or flavorings. If this were the case, the water we drink with a meal would not count because of being intermingled with the food in our stomachs. The stomach first drains the water, then digests the solids.

What causes confusion is that some beverages are also diuretics. This means that shortly after we drink them, they exit the urethra. In that sense, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages deplete our water intake. If you drink two cups of water and one cup of coffee, the net result is about one cup of water in your system. Sweet drinks may have undesir­able calories and raise glycemic index in people with diabetes. For these reasons, a nutritionist will advise drinking actual water.

But as far as liquids go, our bodies can extract the water from water­melon (it’s in the name), oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons. Our bodies can also pull water from soups, smoothies, oatmeal, milk, yogurt, and—I hate to say it—sodas. This is according to Jim White, registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesman.

Youthful healthy eaters are likely meeting daily nutrition require­ments and may not need a supple­ment. Our bodies absorb less nutrients as we age so supplements may be necessary. By eating meals balanced with suffi­cient protein, grains, fruits and vege­tables you can feel A Bit More Healthy.

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple websites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD, and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz.