Is Water Really Enough?
Myth: Water is Always the Best Hydration Drink
When it comes to hydration, water is an ideal beverage – in most cases. But water isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the hydration equation. Electrolytes like sodium and potassium are also extremely important for proper hydration. When we’re dehydrated, for example, our bodies are actually experiencing a negative balance of fluids and electrolytes. Generally, we even this out by drinking water and taking in electrolytes from the food that we eat. Yet, there are cases when water alone isn’t enough and the fluid-electrolyte imbalance is too great to restore normally. In these cases, water isn’t the best hydration drink. Instead, a drink with a balanced ratio of carbohydrates and electrolytes provides several key advantages – we absorb fluids more rapidly, replenish our electrolyte supply, and retain fluids more effectively.
When Water Isn’t Enough
The human body is adept at maintaining adequate fluid levels. Yet, as we become dehydrated, a drink that contains a balanced ratio of electrolytes can help use rehydrate more quickly, retain fluids and replenish electrolytes. There are certain cases when more than water is necessary:
- After Intense Exercise, Excessive Sweating: After a long workout, an athlete sweats out a substantial amount of fluids – as much as 3 liters per hour in hot climates. Salt and other electrolytes are major components of sweat. That’s why after workouts lasting longer than an hour, athletes should drink an electrolyte beverage that contains a ratio of electrolytes similar to what was lost in sweat. In fact, drinking plain water can be dangerous following intense exercise, because the electrolyte imbalance in the body intensifies, causing a condition called hyponatremia, or dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood. Following intense exercise, an athlete needs water and electrolytes.
- For Patients with Diseases that Cause Excessive Urination: Conditions that cause excessive urination like diabetes or kidney disorders lead to rapid fluid losses. These patient groups are especially prone to dehydration, and water is often not enough to rehydrate. A rehydration beverage with a balanced ratio of electrolytes can help these patients absorb fluids, as well as retain fluids more effectively.
- Diarrhea and Vomiting: Diarrhea and vomiting are the two most common causes of dehydration. Both of these conditions, whether caused by a stomach virus, food poisoning or a digestive disease, drain the body of water. Attempting to rehydrate with plain water doesn’t always help, because the body isn’t able to absorb fluids quickly enough. Electrolyte beverages designed to speed up absorption are used around the world to help people battling diarrheal diseases, including Ebola, cholera and giardia. With added electrolytes, fluids flow more quickly into the bloodstream, helping to thwart dehydration.
Water + Sugar + Electrolytes = Faster Rehydration
The body absorbs plain water very slowly. That’s why when you drink water quickly, you might feel bloated. This isn’t usually a problem for healthy adults, because they still absorb water quickly enough to prevent dehydration. Yet, if dehydration has already set in, or for patients experiencing conditions that rob the body of fluids, a faster absorption rate is necessary – water isn’t enough.
Instead, a balanced ratio of electrolytes and sugars are necessary. When this ratio is balanced properly, the rate at which water is absorbed into the bloodstream is faster than it would be with plain water. The key is balance. Too much sugar, which is common in many sports drinks, slows the absorption of water into the bloodstream. A drink with a balanced ratio, on the other hand, speeds up absorption and rehydrates more rapidly.
DripDrop is a doctor-formulated rehydration beverage that contains a balanced ratio of electrolytes. It is designed to replenish electrolytes and maximize rehydration
Photo By Ajani Ra (http://byajani.co)