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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Really Stupid Water Drinking Question
Date: 2 Feb 1999 07:33:53 GMT

In <790l1a$> Eugene Goffredo
<"egoffredo"@nospam> writes:

>Hello all!!
>I've got a really stupid question....
>Can a person drink 5 gallons of water in a 12 hour period?
>I said I could, a bet was made, and the winner pays for dinner!!
>Assuming I am really stupid, are there any dangers?

   There are dangers.  The limit for excretion in a young adult is
around a gallon in 3 hours, so in theory you might be able to get rid
of 4 gallons and be diluted by only a gallon, which you could take.
But you can't count on it.  If you get rid of only two gallons (more
likely) and are diluted by 3, and you are an adult male with 70 kg of
wt, and 42 kg of water, you're going to dilute that 42 kg with more
than 11 kg more, and thus drop your sodium by at least 20%, from 140 to
110.   And probably more, since you won't completely equilibrate if you
do it fast, and there are only 14 kg of sodium containing water in your
body.  When and if that happens, you may well die.  People have done it
(died by drinking too much water on a bet).  Best of luck.

                                   Steve Harris, M.D.

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