Human hydration indices: acute and longitudinal reference values

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Apr;20(2):145-53. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.20.2.145.


It is difficult to describe hydration status and hydration extremes because fluid intakes and excretion patterns of free-living individuals are poorly documented and regulation of human water balance is complex and dynamic. This investigation provided reference values for euhydration (i.e., body mass, daily fluid intake, serum osmolality; M +/- SD); it also compared urinary indices in initial morning samples and 24-hr collections. Five observations of 59 healthy, active men (age 22 +/- 3 yr, body mass 75.1 +/- 7.9 kg) occurred during a 12-d period. Participants maintained detailed records of daily food and fluid intake and exercise. Results indicated that the mean total fluid intake in beverages, pure water, and solid foods was >2.1 L/24 hr (range 1.382-3.261, 95% confidence interval 0.970-3.778 L/24 hr); mean urine volume was >1.3 L/24 hr (0.875-2.250 and 0.675-3.000 L/24 hr); mean urine specific gravity was >1.018 (1.011-1.027 and 1.009-1.030); and mean urine color was > or = 4 (4-6 and 2-7). However, these men rarely (0-2% of measurements) achieved a urine specific gravity below 1.010 or color of 1. The first morning urine sample was more concentrated than the 24-h urine collection, likely because fluids were not consumed overnight. Furthermore, urine specific gravity and osmolality were strongly correlated (r2 = .81-.91, p < .001) in both morning and 24-hr collections. These findings provide euhydration reference values and hydration extremes for 7 commonly used indices in free-living, healthy, active men who were not exercising in a hot environment or training strenuously.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Water / chemistry
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Color
  • Dehydration / diagnosis
  • Dehydration / urine
  • Drinking*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Reference Values
  • Specific Gravity
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine / chemistry*
  • Urodynamics / physiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*
  • Young Adult