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There are no good answers anywhere. so asking: this is not about days of survival without water. This is about long-term negative effects induced from not drinking water for at least the mentioned days.

Please link the most reliable link (has to be heavily-reviewed, meticulously-designed studies) that answers this question so I can look into it futher. Multiple studies are needed for it to be reliable.

A related question is the same question for going without food, but with water (I'll ask this in a seperate question if the answer isn't already in the answer you provide).

This is for modern human beings as it applies to the majority of people. Also you can comment with the most reliable resources on the topic so we can read into it.

Important: NO comments without reliable scientific sources are relevant or reliable (has to be heavily-reviewed, meticulously-designed studies) so we can look into it further by ourselves. Please don't comment/answer without one.

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This is the second time this EXACT question has been asked. Complete with bolded sections and all. Like the last time it was asked, you will not get any answers. You are asking for studies that do not exist, and as far as I'm aware there simply aren't any known long-term affects from temporary starvation or dehydration. –  MCM Apr 27 '13 at 22:38
Please read the FAQ section on etiquette when posting: "Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you". I don't believe that this requirement has been met with your tone in this question. Regarding @MCM's comment, don't vandalise content you have previously posted to the community. I realise that the cross posting issue has been resolved Skeptics side, however a more constructive course of action would have been to flag your original question for reopening. –  Rory M Apr 28 '13 at 22:05
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closed as not constructive by WYSIWYG, dd3, Daniel Standage, Gianpaolo R, yamad Apr 30 '13 at 16:28

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

Besides its confrontational style, the way this question was asked suggests the author hasn't really looked into this or at least isn't clear on what questions they should be asking. It is true that, in modern scientific culture, you cannot get approval to lock a bunch of college kids in a room for a week without food or water so you can check in with them years later and look for long term health effects.

But there are a LOT of indirect ways to study this, either by studying populations that have suffered starvation (through famine or war) or brought it upon themselves (anorexia). Or you can look at animal studies, which might not give precise consequences for humans, but can be far better controlled (you can lock them up for a week and keep them around for a year). And they will have strong implications for humans, even if the results are numerically different.

Back at human population studies, you also don't need full starvation studies (X days without any food) to find that there are long term consequences, simple caloric restriction (CR) is well established as having long term negative consequences. I don't think it's a big stretch to assume that full starvation would (at the least) exacerbate these effects. On the other hand, there's a lot of recent age-related research showing controlled CR can extend lifespan from yeast up through mice. Though it's also well established that it can (for instance) reduce fertility at the same levels.

I'll just give a couple links on population studies on starvation. Starvation is much easier to research because (as I recall) people can live for about a month without food or sleep, but a week without water and you're just dead. Population studies seem like the best way to get at the question you're asking (consequences of chronic starvation). But as I said, these aren't controlled studies, you have to go out and find a relevant population and get what data you can. You're not going to just run across a dozen people who all went for exactly one week without food in 1943 and then went back to their normal lives. These are single study papers, but they each cite at least a dozen related papers (including reviews) and should be more than sufficient to nucleate further literature searches.

Severe caloric restriction in young women during World War II and subsequent breast cancer risk http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2012.02966.x/full

Comparison of metabolic profiles of acutely ill and short-term weight recovered patients with anorexia nervosa reveals alterations of 33 out of 163 metabolites http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022395612002488

If these don't address what you're after, then please be more clear about what you actually need (and WHY this isn't it). And, you know, this is a public forum that runs simply by the good graces of interested and knowledgable scientists. So please try and be a little nicer in how you phrase your questions.

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