True or False? Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins!

Via elephant journal
on Dec 21, 2013
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False! Via NPR:

The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams. Then the toxins clear through the urine. The question is, does drinking extra water each day improve the function of the kidneys?

“No,” says Goldfarb. “In fact, drinking large amounts of water surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney’s ability to function as a filter. It’s a subtle decline, but definite.”


> For four more myths, here.

> For the Ayurvedic way to drink water, here.

> For how much, when and how to drink water, here.

> For why not to drink ice water, here.


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6 Responses to “True or False? Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins!”

  1. rita says:

    then why does my skin clear up when i drink a lot of it?

  2. mitch says:

    good to know!

  3. Nancy says:

    Most people think that the kidneys' main function in the body is to eliminate water. While they do eliminate water when needed, the kidneys' main function is to eliminate wastes while conserving water. In other words, they need to concentrate urine properly to maintain the body's hydration while ridding it of wastes. I learned the physiologic mechanism for this so long ago that it is now a bit fuzzy, but basically there is a concentration gradient of ions such as sodium, chloride and potassium in the kidneys that aids in concentrating the urine. If you drink "lots" (i.e. excessive amounts) of water, the kidneys will not conserve it; as the excess water is eliminated, so are some of the ions that maintain the concentration gradient. Drinking excessive water over time leads to depletion of the ions, a condition called "renal medullary washout." Once that happens you are no longer able to concentrate urine, therefore you are less able to eliminate "toxins." If you suddenly were placed in a low-water environment, you would become dehydrated very rapidly. The only way to rebuild the concentration gradient is to gradually restrict your water over time until you are drinking normal amounts.

    The problem with this article is it does not define "a lot" which is why Rita is confused. Her skin probably clears up when she drinks optimal amounts of water rather than excessive amounts and probably has more to do with being well-hydrated than with flushing out toxins.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    My guess would be that most of us don't drink enough–so when we think we're drinking a lot, we're just drinking enough. Some of us are chronically dehydrated—though not most of us, as goes the urban myth.

  5. Doubtful says:

    This article lost credibility when I listened to the NPR talk (which is almost 6 years old) and heard one of the interviewees state that diet soda would be just as good for hydration!! The 8 glasses a day suggestion is one of the few things that MD's and Alternatives agree on, as dehydration has been implicated in many physical ailments. It makes sense to me, and I'm sticking with it.

  6. I just read the article linked, "Five Myths About Drinking Water" and the statement "Other zero-calorie options such as diet sodas are fine, too." totally discredited the article for me.