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Electrolyte Drink Research


Why does the electrolyte replacement mix only contain sodium chloride?

Many other hydration products contain other types electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium but research to date does not show any evidence to support the addition of other electrolytes beyond sodium for hydration. [1-3] These other electrolytes are easily absorbed while eating meals and studies show neither magnesium or potassium become depleted after multiple days of heavy sweat loss. 

1. Shirreffs, S.M.. (2003). The optimal sports drink. Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin und Sporttraumatologie. 51. 25-29.

2. Vitale, K., & Getzin, A. (2019). Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients, 11(6), 1289.

3. Maughan, R. J., Owen, J. H., Shirreffs, S. M., & Leiper, J. B. (1994). Post-exercise rehydration in man: effects of electrolyte addition to ingested fluids. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 69(3), 209–215.

    Why does the electrolyte replacement mix contain calories?

    Research shows that electrolyte beverages containing at least a 10% carbohydrate content are more effective for hydration as they increase fluid retention versus beverages with less than 10% of carbohydrates. In other words, drinking carbohydrates with electrolytes helps to restore the fluid lost during exercise, while drinking only electrolytes and water increases your urine output and slows hydration. [1-2]

    1. Evans, G. H., Shirreffs, S. M., & Maughan, R. J. (2009). Postexercise rehydration in man: the effects of osmolality and carbohydrate content of ingested drinks. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 25(9), 905–913.

    2. Osterberg, K. L., Pallardy, S. E., Johnson, R. J., & Horswill, C. A. (2010). Carbohydrate exerts a mild influence on fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 108(2), 245–250.

      What is stevia extract?

      Stevia is extracted from the plant leaves called Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni. Stevia reb-A, an extract of Stevia, was granted the status of GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) as a non caloric sweetener by the FDA in 2008. In repeat studies, it has been evaluated as safe for chronic consumption in doses as high as 1000mg per day [1-3]. To put that in perspective, you would need to consume over 20,000 servings per day of Flow Formulas’ Electrolyte Replacement Mix to equal one dose given daily to the individuals in those studies. Although the research shows no allergic reactions to stevia, it is in the daisy family which includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, and marigolds. [1]

      1. Ulbricht, C., Isaac, R., Milkin, T., Poole, E. A., Rusie, E., Grimes Serrano, J. M., Weissner, W., Windsor, R. C., & Woods, J. (2010). An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Cardiovascular & hematological agents in medicinal chemistry, 8(2), 113–127.

      2. Maki, K. C., Curry, L. L., Reeves, M. S., Toth, P. D., McKenney, J. M., Farmer, M. V., Schwartz, S. L., Lubin, B. C., Boileau, A. C., Dicklin, M. R., Carakostas, M. C., & Tarka, S. M. (2008). Chronic consumption of rebaudioside A, a steviol glycoside, in men and women with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 46 Suppl 7, S47–S53.

      3. Carakostas, M. C., Curry, L. L., Boileau, A. C., & Brusick, D. J. (2008). Overview: the history, technical function and safety of rebaudioside A, a naturally occurring steviol glycoside, for use in food and beverages. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 46 Suppl 7, S1–S10.

      Do you actually need sodium to hydrate? Can’t you just drink water?

      Hydration after endurance exercise is crucial for next day training. Research shows water only, is not an effective way to hydrate, and sodium is required in order to replete fluid loss. [1-3] Even consuming two times the amount of fluid loss with inadequate sodium will not restore hydration. Instead it increases urine output. In order to restore fluid balance, studies show one should consume 150% of fluid loss with an additional 35-68 milligrams (52mmol/L - 100mmol/L) of sodium per ounce of fluid. [4, 5] This equates to 420 milligrams of sodium for a 12 ounce beverage. 

      1. González-Alonso, J., Heaps, C., & Coyle, E. (1992). Rehydration after Exercise with Common Beverages and Water. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 13(05), 399–406. 

      2.Wong, S. H., & Chen, Y. (2011). Effect Of Carbohydrate-electrolyte Beverage, Lemon Tea, Or Water On Rehydration During Short-term Recovery From Exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 21(4), 300–310.

      3. Jeukendrup, A. E., Jentjens, R. L. P. G., & Moseley, L. (2005). Nutritional Considerations in Triathlon. Sports Medicine, 35(2), 163–181. 

      4. Shirreffs, S. M., Taylor, A. J., Leiper, J. B., & Maughan, R. J. (1996). Post-exercise rehydration in man: effects of volume consumed and drink sodium content. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 28(10), 1260–1271. 

      5. Mitchell, J. B., Grandjean, P. W., Pizza, F. X., Starling, R. D., & Holtz, R. W. (1994). The effect of volume ingested on rehydration and gastric emptying following exercise-induced dehydration. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 26(9), 1135-1143. 

      When should I use the electrolyte replacement mix?

      The Electrolyte Mix can be used post exercise when hydration is needed to restore fluid balance or during activities when additional calories may not be desired or required.