I have heard a lot of people (where I am from, India) say that one must drink water sitting, not standing. Recently, I also came across a video that said the same thing (link). The reason given is that when you drink water standing, it goes to the colon too quickly, whereas while sitting, the water is better absorbed by the organs. Is this true? Is there a biological basis for why I should drink water sitting?

I tried to find literature on this matter, but apparently there isn't a whole lot. I found this paper where they tried to see the water passage rate in the GI tract of rabbits, mentioning how the water goes from stomach to cecum to proximal large colon, but obviously did not study posture.

Note: I think this question belongs here better than Skeptics.SE as I am looking for a biological explanation

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    $\begingroup$ Nothing you drink goes straight to the colon; the small intestine - between the stomach and the colon - is 20 feet of twisted tubing. So this is a colorful myth. If you do a bit of helpful research and add it (no videos please; I don't want to spend that amount of time), I'll be happy to answer what happens to fluids when drunk in any position, even upside down. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @user1993 it would be cardiac sphincter of oesophagus which is affected by drinking water while standing not colon. As it in not a true Valve the force of impact of water which goes straight down the oesophagus while drinking water fast and standing would damage it's activity upto some extent so that regurgitation may happen. $\endgroup$
    – user30561
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 5:35
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    $\begingroup$ I'd imagine that literally billions of people have drunk water (or other beverages) while standing, but I've yet to hear of any adverse health effects from the practice. While I'm no anatomist, I'd think anything you drink or eat, sitting, standing, or laying down, would spend some significant time in the stomach before entering even the small intestine. Indeed, practical experience suggests that the greater part of any liquid consumed gets absorbed into the bloodstream before reaching the colon, and eventually excreted via kidney & bladder. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ Related question:skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/27338/… $\endgroup$
    – Mesentery
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Mesentery, great find! but sadly the study mentioned there did not compare sitting and standing :( $\endgroup$
    – user1995
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


The stomach is equipped with the pyloric valve to regulate transpyloric flow to the duodenum.

Both cold and warm drinks stimulate a pattern of motility associated with retardation of transpyloric flow.

enter image description here

The pyloric valve is responsible for acidifying water that you drink, and if the body's guard against amoeba's and dysentery depended on body position, it would be low survival performance, given that sedentary posture is associated with poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. You will benefit from minimizing time spent sitting each day, and from breaking up periods of time spent being sedentary, as often as possible. It's aperture at rest is 3mm, so it's of minimal difficulty for the stomach to hold water as required for optimal health. It's highly likely that water is kept for enough time to expose it to stomach acids, regardless of body position, and then it's transmitted. Water doesn't flow straight through the stomach like a straight tube when it's empty. enter image description here



First off: pure, reverse osmosis treated, bottled water HAS NO NUTRIENTS. Secondly, of everything you swallow, nothing goes too fast on it's way to the colon. The small intestine is a network of twisted tubing, around 20 feet long. Nothing is going through there "Too fast".

Sources: https://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics/smalllarge-intestine-length-ratio

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    $\begingroup$ could you comment on the difference when a person is sitting vs standing while drinking water? $\endgroup$
    – user1995
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ There is no observable difference. It does not matter whether the drinker is standing or sitting, the small intestine is the same length, and is still folded accordingly. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 18:53

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