Drinking More Water for Kidney Disease Prevention: An Urban Myth?


woman drinking water from glass

It has been a long standing idea that drinking sufficient water daily can help keep the kidneys healthy. However in recent years, the concept of drinking up to eight glasses of water a day for better kidney function has been reduced to a myth.

According to Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania, while the kidneys filter out toxins from the body, “how much water you drink does not affect how well this filter works”.

This fact, however, should not downplay the role of fluids in flushing out toxins from the body. As an essential part of the excretory system, the kidneys do need its fair share of water daily.

“If the body does not have sufficient water, then metabolic wastes will not be removed as efficiently as they should,” explains Amy Hess-Fischl, RD, CDE, of the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center. “In essence, the body would be holding in toxins instead of expelling them, as is required for proper health.”

Moreover, Robyn Langham of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia adds that if you have a history of developing kidney stones then you should definitely drink plenty of water to prevent future pain.

In addition, research from the University of Australia published in the journal Nephrology in March 2011 stated that of the 2,400 people aged 50 and above who participated in the study, those who drank the most fluids daily had a significantly lower risk of chronic kidney disease than those who drank the least.

Meanwhile, a New York Times report stated that “a study published in October of 2011 in The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Canadian scientists followed 2,148 healthy men and women, average age 46, for seven years. They looked at markers of kidney function and health and used urine volume to determine how much fluid the subjects drank daily.”

The study concluded that those who drank the most fluids are least susceptible to declines in kidney functions.

The bottom line is the body needs enough fluids every day for it to function at an optimum level and that increased fluid intake is helpful in protecting your kidneys.