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Playing Thru - July 2012

Can drinking too little water impact your blood sugar levels? 

Article reprinted with permission from Diabetes Bites, January 2012 Newsletter, by Integrated Diabetes Services

Results of a new study showed adults who drank only 2 glasses (16 oz) of water a day or less were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water. Senior researcher Lise Bankir of the French national research institute INSERM stated that, "The findings show a correlation between water intake and blood sugar, but do not prove cause-and-effect."


The study looked at a hormone called vasopressin, which may be the potential missing link, according to the researchers. Vasopressin (also known as antidiuretic hormone) helps regulate the body's water retention. If we are dehydrated, the level of vasopressin increases, which causes the kidneys to conserve water. But the research from this study suggests that as vasopressin increases, the level of blood glucose may also increase.

To understand this further we have to look at the organ responsible for producing glucose (sugar) in the body, the liver, where there are also vasopressin receptors. One study found that injecting healthy people with vasopressin caused an increase in blood sugar, although it was temporary. 

"There are good arguments to suggest that there could be a real cause-and- effect relationship in the association we have found," Bankir said, "but this is not a definitive proof."

The findings of this study are based on approximately 3,600 French adults who had normal BG levels at the start of the study. Approximately 19% reported drinking less than 17 oz of water daily, and 81% drank up to 32 oz or more. The participants were followed over 9 years. Of the original participants, 565 developed abnormally high BG and 202 actually developed type-2 diabetes. As the research team evaluated the risk of high BG compared to water intake it was evident that those who drank at least 17 oz of water per day were less likely to develop high BG.

Bankir and her colleagues did account for sugary drinks and alcohol, as well as people's body weight at the start of the study, as well as their reported exercise habits and other health factors. The link between low water intake and high blood sugar persisted. However, they could not account for everything, including generally healthy or less-healthy eating habits.

Although this study did not evaluate the effect of inadequate water consumption in those who already have diabetes, it could be "assumed" that low water intake in those with diabetes may perpetuate high blood sugar problems. With less fluid intake, the body pulls fluid from reserve and this can decrease the volume of blood in our veins, thus, increasing the concentration of sugar in the blood stream. If BG is already high, and water intake is poor, this will compound the issue further.

Most of us have heard how important it is to drink water when BG is high or when we have those dreaded ketones. This study may show us a little more of what's also causing some high BG when we don't take in enough fluid daily.