April 25, 2002 (press release)
Loma Linda University reveals first study on correlation between
high water intake and lowered coronary heart disease .
In 1999, nearly 530,000 people died
from coronary heart disease. More than half of them had no
previous symptoms of heart disease. Drinking high levels of
water can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart
disease, say researchers at Loma Linda University.
In a press conference held Thursday,
April 25, the results of a study to be published in the American
Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 155, No.9) reveal that drinking
high amounts of plain water is as important as exercise, diet,
or not smoking in preventing coronary heart disease.
“Basically, not drinking enough
water can be as harmful to your heart as smoking,” warns
Jacqueline Chan, DrPH, principle investigator and lead author of
Dr. Chan and Synnove Knutsen, MD,
PhD , second author, chair of epidemiology department, found
that California Seventh-day Adventists who drink five or more
glasses of plain water a day have a much lower risk of fatal
coronary heart disease compared to those who drink less than two
glasses per day.
The study, “Water, Other Fluids, and
Fatal Coronary Heart Disease,” indicates that whole blood
viscosity, plasma viscosity, hematocrit, and fibrinogen which
are considered independent risk factors for coronary heart
disease, can be elevated by dehydration.
The water study is part of the
original Adventist Health Study, which began in 1973. Both
researchers are also coinvestigators for the new Adventist
The results from this study show
that by drinking more plain water, healthy people—without any
history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes—reduced their risk
of dying from a heart attack by half or more. This is as much or
more than if they had adopted any other well-known preventive
measure, including stopping smoking and lowering cholesterol
levels, increasing exercise or maintaining ideal weight.
While not as glamorous, the degree
of benefit from drinking plain water surpasses that of drinking
a moderate amount of alcohol intake and aspirin with none of the
adverse side effects (social or physiological). Because drinking
more plain water is a simple lifestyle change that anybody can
do, this simple practice has the potential of saving tens of
thousands of lives each year with minimal cost.
Neither total fluid intake, nor
intake of other fluids combined showed this reduced risk.
Instead, for women, high intake (5 or more glasses a day) of
other fluids showed a greatly increased risk of coronary heart
“People need to be made aware that
there is a difference, at least for heart health, whether they
get their fluids from plain water or from sodas,” says Dr. Chan.
According to Dr. Chan, this is the
first study to record the association between high water intake
and reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
“This study needs to be replicated,
and if similar results are found, then this would be the
cheapest and simplest method of preventing coronary heart
disease that could be imagined,”adds Gary Fraser, MD, PhD,
cardiologist at the LLU Heart Institute, and principal
investigator for the new Adventist Health Study.