The Science Of Electrolytes

Electrolytes, Dehydration and Your Brain

soccer-electrolyte-tablets-compressorAs the weather is heating up across the US this summer, dehydration has reasons for concern that are somewhat different than we used to believe.  Concern for a decline in performance, or even painful cramping, actually pales in comparison to another risk in contact sports.  For about 10 years now, it has been known that dehydration begins to decrease cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF.  Dehydration of approximately 2% of total body fluid loss results in a 10% reduction of cerebrospinal fluid volume.[i]  Interestingly, more severe dehydration begins to result in an increase in CSF through an as of yet unknown compensatory mechanism, but at 2% dehydration, this is when thirst is reliably stimulated and athletic performance has been shown to decline.

Why is this important?  The CSF plays an important role in cushioning the brain inside the cranium.  It is widely accepted that a decrease in the ability of CSF to cushion the brain results in greater impact concussion injury, as collisions would then result in even higher speed of impact between the brain and the skull.  While this is difficult to conclusively demonstrate in a randomized controlled trial, it is a realistic concern given all the attention to concussion in sports today.

Electrolyte Tablets for Football PlayersHow can Electrolyte Tablets help?

We now know that taking electrolyte tablets in a way that more closely replaces the amount of sodium lost in sweat, stimulates thirst and increases the amount of ad libitum fluid consumed during competition.[ii]  In this randomized controlled trial of half-ironman participants, those taking electrolyte tablets drank 27% more of their regular hydration beverage, and finished the event 26 minutes sooner than the placebo-matched controls.  Importantly, by taking the electrolyte tablets, athletes drank more fluid – thus reducing the likelihood of dehydration and a reduction in CSF volume.

Got Two-A-Days Coming Up?

If you or someone you know is playing any contact sport this summer, you can provide that young athlete an advantage with Replace™ SR.  Rigorous practice schedules such as daily doubles, or on successive days, increases the chance of fluid loss over time.[iii]  Replace™  sustained release electrolyte tablets can be taken before practices and games, improve fluid and electrolyte balance and performance, and may help reduce the risk of impact concussion resulting from a decrease in CSF volume.

Replace™SR does not contain any sweeteners, artificial colors, preservatives or stimulants.  Replace™SR does not contain any ingredient listed as banned by the NCAA or any other sports governing body.

[i] Dickson JM, et al.  The Effects of Dehydration on Brain Volume – Preliminary Results  Int J Sports Med 2005;26:481-485.

[ii] Del Coso J, et al.  Effects of oral salt supplementation on physical performance during a half-ironman: A randomized controlled trial.  Scand J Med Sci Sports 2015 doi: 10.1111/sms.12427

[iii] Phillips SM, et al.  Hydration Status and Fluid Balance of Elite European Youth Soccer Players during Consecutive Training Sessions. J of Sports Sci and Med.  2014;13:817-822

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