Posted on April 27 2013
Numerous sports drinks are on the market today. The marketing goals appear to be focused on a perceived increase of energy and performance though sugars and stimulants. While most companies producing these products seem to embrace the value of electrolytes, they may not deliver the proper mix of ingredients for maximum electrolyte formation and absorption. Oral I.V.’s formula of Bio-Charged Crystalloid Electrolytes supports the body’s natural cellular functions, without relying on large doses of sugar, caffeine or other stimulants. Sports drinks also may contain preservatives, artificial flavors, coloring, dyes, and artificial sweeteners. These may add to the visual or taste appeal of the drink, but still may not be user-friendly to the body. Sugar (fructose, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt dextrin) is usually added as a carbohydrate to boost energy levels. While this may stimulate the body momentarily, minutes later the glycemic roller coaster effect on insulin sets in with associated compromise in body function. The most commonly used artificial sweetener is aspartame and is a very popular sugar substitute, having substantially negative effects on the human body. Aspartame comes with a list of potential side effects, with the most profound being the possible detrimental effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain. Headaches are a common side effect of aspartame. Other symptoms may be joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, cramps, vertigo and dizziness. The sugars used in many popular sports drinks also increase the osmolarity of what you’re drinking, delaying absorption beyond that of the stomach. This in turn, pulls electrolytes away from the cells in order to bring their large molecules into circulation. There is a myth that glucose is required to uptake sodium and/or even water. This is false. Humans absorb water they drink all the time in the absence of sugars. As a matter of fact, always consuming water with sugar in attempts to rehydrate has the potential to create life-threatening consequences. Ingesting sports drinks or other supplements that contain high levels of carbohydrates and salts can actually slow the absorbance of water and electrolytes from the intestines, especially those that include vitamins or protein, which must go through active digestive processes. Drinks with stimulants such as caffeine can even add taxation to the liver and kidneys, which may add to the effects of dehydration. As always, give careful thought to your hydration strategy, learn about the different hydration options available, and determine which ones are right for you.