Water Intake and Genetics

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Water Intake and Genetics

Date of Content: April 11, 2024
Written by: Harvey Talento
Reviewed by: Maarit Tiirikainen, PhD


Water is often touted as the elixir of life, and for good reason. It’s an essential component of human existence, playing a critical role in various bodily functions. Despite its importance, many individuals struggle to meet their daily water intake requirements. From maintaining body temperature to facilitating nutrient transport and promoting cognitive function, water is indispensable for overall well-being. In this article, we’ll dive into the intricacies of water intake, exploring how much water individuals should drink daily and offering practical tips for staying hydrated.

Why is Water “The Essence of Life”?

In the human body, water comprises roughly 60% of its composition, playing a fundamental role in various physiological functions. It’s not merely a thirst-quencher; water is essential for processes ranging from detoxification to temperature regulation. Here’s why individuals should consider keeping a water bottle within reach:

Water intake

Daily Water Intake Recommendations

The amount of water a person should drink per day depends on several factors, including age, sex, activity level, and environmental conditions. The National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends an average daily water intake of about 125 ounces for men and about 91 ounces for women either as beverages or as included in other food items. 

However, these recommendations may vary based on life circumstances such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, living in a hot and humid climate, or engaging in physical activity.

How Genetics May Influence Water Intake

Your genetics can have an important role in how much water you need to stay adequately hydrated and how much water you typically consume. Your genes are regulating your whole body, and genetic variants (SNPs) can contribute to person-to-person differences in the typical daily water intake. 

While individual SNP variants can individually be associated with a person’s water intake, another approach for determining a person’s genetic likelihood for a trait is to use a PRS (Polygenic Risk Score), which comes from a combination of multiple SNPs that together play a role in the genetic association. LifeDNA’s high-density SNP signature for the Water Intake trait has been developed from a set of 4994 SNPs that together play a role in daily water intake (note: only 15 top SNPs are displayed on our report).

Some interesting genes and their variants that are contributing to the PRS associated with water intake are highlighted here: 

SLC22A5 (rs17622208

The SLC22A5 gene (solute carrier family 22 member 5) encodes for a plasma integral membrane protein that functions both as an organic cation transporter and as a sodium-dependent high-affinity carnitine transporter. Cation transporters such as SLC22A5 have a critical role in the liver, kidney, intestine, and other organs that function in the elimination of many endogenous small organic cations as well as a wide array of drugs and environmental toxins. 

CDK14 (rs696270)

The CDK14 gene (Cyclin-dependent kinase 14) encodes for a serine/threonine-protein kinase that is highly expressed in the brain, pancreas, kidney, heart, testis, and ovary. Its main role is to act as a regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway during cell-cycle G2/M phase. CDK14 may also play a role in meiosis, and neuron differentiation and may indirectly act as a negative regulator of insulin-responsive glucose transport.

GABRA4  (rs2229940)

The GBARA4 gene (gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor subunit alpha4) encodes for a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA-A) receptor subunit that is highly expressed in the brain. At least 16 distinct subunits of GABA-A receptors have been identified. GABA-A receptors act as ligand-gated chloride channels. GABA, the ligand, is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain where it acts at GABA-A receptors, which are ligand-gated chloride channels. Interestingly, a study from 2002 found that the administration of an agonist to GABA-A receptor decreased the water intake in rats. 

Non-Genetic Factors Influencing Water Intake

Aside from genetics, several other factors play a delicate balancing act in determining our daily water needs.

Physiological Factors

Environmental Factors

  • Climate: People who live in hot, humid climates or who are exposed to high temperatures need to drink more fluids to replace fluids lost through sweating.
  • Altitude: People who live or exercise at high altitudes may need to drink more fluids because the air is drier at higher altitudes.
  • Activity level: People who are active or exercise need to drink more fluids to replace fluids lost through sweating.

Behavioral Factors

  • Fluid intake habits: People who are not in the habit of drinking water regularly may be more likely to become dehydrated.
  • Caffeine and alcohol intake: Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means they cause the body to lose fluids. People who consume a lot of caffeine or alcohol may need to drink extra fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Diet: People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content, may not need to drink as much water as people who eat a diet that is low in water content.

Sources of Hydration

Water intake can come from both beverages and food. Food items like celery, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, and cucumbers have high water content and can help supplement water intake.

Furthermore, to elevate the experience of drinking water, here are some tips to add flavor and fun to your water intake:

  • Infuse it: Add slices of fruits like lemon, cucumber, or berries to water for a refreshing twist.
  • Go herbal: Fresh mint or ginger can add a subtle flavor boost.
  • Frozen Fruit: Toss in some frozen berries or grapes for a cool and flavorful water experience.
  • Sparkling Water: Unsweetened sparkling water can be a fun alternative to plain water.

However, it is also important to note that drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia, a condition where the sodium content of the blood becomes dangerously diluted, causing cells to swell.

Signs of Dehydration

The best indicator of whether a person is well hydrated is their body. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Dark yellow or amber-colored urine
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Bad sleep
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness, and feeling light-headed or confused. 

On the other hand, pale yellow or clear urine is a sign of adequate hydration.

About the LifeDNA Nutrition Report

Discovering your individual nutritional needs is crucial for maintaining optimal wellness. The LifeDNA Nutrition Report provides personalized insights based on your genetics, lifestyle, and dietary habits. It offers practical guidance on meeting your unique nutrient requirements, including the importance of water intake.

By understanding how your body processes and responds to various nutrients and the important role of adequate hydration, you can make informed choices to support your well-being. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take control of your wellness with the LifeDNA Nutrition Report. Get it today!


  • Water is essential for bodily functions, but many struggle to meet their daily intake needs.
  • Water has a vital role in the body—from boosting energy to aiding digestion and enhancing brainpower—emphasizing its necessity for overall well-being.
  • Genetic factors and other influences, like physiological, environmental, and behavioral aspects, play roles in determining individual water intake requirements.
  • Various non-genetic factors, such as age, gender, climate, activity level, fluid intake habits, and diet, impact daily water needs.
  • Both beverages and water-rich foods contribute to hydration, with suggestions for enhancing water intake through flavoring and fun options, balanced with awareness of hyponatremia risks.
  • Indicators of dehydration, like dark urine, and the importance of paying attention to bodily signals for your hydration status.


  1. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body#:~:text=Up%20to%2060%25%20of%20the,bones%20are%20watery%3A%2031%25.
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33846637/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22855911/
  4. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010105
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12419421/#:~:text=The%20effects%20of%20the%20gamma%2Daminobutyric%20acid(A)%20(GABA(A)),and%20female%20(n=8)%20rats%2C%20with%20max%20%E2%80%A6
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html
  7. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/water/#:~:text=General%20recommendations,1%20cup%20equaling%208%20ounces.
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28264082/
  9. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/drink-up-dehydration-is-an-often-overlooked-health-risk-for-seniors
  10. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient
  11. https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/dehydration-during-pregnancy-what-expecting-mothers-should-know
  12. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Exercise-the-low-down-on-water-and-drinks
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10204649/
  14. https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2016/03/what-color-is-your-urine

Customer Reviews

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I am so impressed with this service. I have even discussed these recommendations with my health care providers and they are all impressed too! I can’t compare it with other services as I have only tried this but I recommend. Also I think I pulled my genetics in from ancestry too which was super convenient.
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Great source of information I was looking for a platform to make use of my existing raw data from Ancestry. I’m glad I found LifeDNA. I originally took a DNA test to learn about my roots and it’s great to know that my DNA could also play a big role in my health, diet, and even my skin. Overall, all the reports are incredible.
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It is crazy how I felt that I had a strong understanding of my bodies needs, but after having my DNA analyzed by the LifeDNA team, I realized that there was so much I still did not know.
Doc Sheila Lim
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I got some pretty useful insight that helped me with my diet.

*Understanding your genetics can offer valuable insights into your well-being, but it is not deterministic. Your traits can be influenced by the complex interplay involving nature, lifestyle, family history, and others.

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