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As we are all aware, if you drink a large quantity of water in a short time period, you will likely have to go to the toilet not too long afterwards.

The body detects the increase in fluid volume (or more precisely in this instance the decrease in sodium concentration) and kicks off the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway.

This ultimately results in a decrease in anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) which in turn decreases water absorption from the collecting ducts and distal convoluted tubule in the kidney.

So my question is, if we rapidly consume a large volume of water in a very short period of time, could the resulting decrease in ADH hormone overshoot the mark and result in the body eliminating more water than what is ideal.

That is, could drinking a large amount of water in a short time actually have a dehydrating effect?

  • the resulting increase in ADH - decrease? – Susan Jun 30 '15 at 13:52
  • @Susan, yes susan thanks. I had it correct in paragraph 3 but not in paragraph 4. I have edited. – Kenshin Jun 30 '15 at 14:44
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    Considering that drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time has resulted in numerous fatalities due to water intoxication, it's an unlikely subject for research. – Carey Gregory Jul 4 '15 at 5:35
  • @CareyGregory, perhaps we could study this in animals. – Kenshin Jul 4 '15 at 14:54
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    Understood, but this isn't basic science -- it's clinical research and you're going to be harming, perhaps killing, lab animals. That's a higher standard to meet for research funding and ethics committee approval. I think you would need some supporting science since the hypothesis flies in the face of what we know about the renal system. – Carey Gregory Jul 4 '15 at 15:45
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I don't belive it is possible for the body to produce too much ADH. The body will likely produce insufficient ADH to eliminate the ingested water, thus you will still remain in a state of hyponatremia even after the body's ADH response.

The body will then return to homeostatus by reducing thirst.

This means of course that if you ingest too much water (ignoring your lack of thirst) you can create serious health problems for yourself.

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