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What Happens When You Drink Seawater?

At Mountain Park Spring Water, we’re all about healthy hydration, and part of this involves learning about why hydration is so important and the best ways of staying hydrated. If you’ve ever fancied a refreshing drink of water at the beach or if you like to imagine how you would survive if you ever got stranded on a deserted island, then you might have wondered if you could take a drink from the sea if you didn’t have any other alternatives.

Maybe you’ve heard that you shouldn’t drink seawater, but why is this? Let’s learn about the contents of seawater and how it affects the human body.

Why you shouldn’t drink seawater

Other than the fact that seawater often isn’t clean and you don’t know what’s floating around in it, the reason we don’t drink seawater is because it contains salt. In fact, around 3.5% of seawater is made up of salt. This is around four times the amount of salt that we have in our bodily fluids.

You’ve probably experienced strong feelings of thirst after eating fast food or any other meal that was high in salt. This is because salt dehydrates you. So, if you’re drinking only seawater, then the salt in the water is counteracting the hydration provided by the water.

How seawater affects the body

When we drink seawater or saltwater, the concentration of salt in our blood increases. Our body does a good job at naturally maintaining balances, so it attempts to correct this difference in concentration by taking water out of our cells and into our bloodstream, essentially to dilute the blood and reduce its salt concentration. This dehydrates your cells, leaving you feeling thirstier than before. If salt concentrations in your blood are high enough, then this process will eventually kill you.

Your kidneys usually keep your blood clean by filtering out waste, such as salt, and excreting it in your urine. As it attempts to do this, more water will be taken from your body in order to sufficiently dilute the salt that you pass in your urine. As well as further dehydrating you, this also puts a strain on your kidneys and can cause damage to them.

While it’s unlikely that you’d ever be stuck without a source of freshwater for an extended period of time, it’s a fun fact to know that you shouldn’t drink from the sea in the unlikely event you end up in a castaway situation.

Stay hydrated at home and in the office with Mountain Park Spring Water’s bottled water delivery service across North Carolina and Virginia. Get in touch with us to find out more.