As runners, we tend to focus predominately on our performance – how far and how fast we will run; unfortunately nutrition and hydration tend to be at the end of our priority list.
How about if we said that just by being thirsty you are already dehydrated? How many of you have turned up for practice or even competition already thirsty?
Take that one step further, 70% of our body is water, muscles are composed of 79% water; a loss of 2% body weight from dehydration can lead to a 20% loss in athletic performance. Water is involved in every single metabolic process of our cells, without this vital fluid, the body cannot recover and work at its best.
Why do you need electrolytes?
When we sweat we lose electrolytes along with water, primarily sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. When we only drink water or high sugar content drinks we dilute the few electrolytes left in our blood – this can potentially have severe implications in our health like hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, impaired temperature control, etc
According to Almond et. al. hyponatremia is an important cause of race-related death and life-threatening illness among marathon runners. Water shift mechanisms throughout the body depend on osmotic forces. Osmotic forces are primarily controlled by sodium. Electrolytes are also important for muscle contraction and that includes the heart.
Why not just water?
As mentioned before, too much water and not enough electrolytes can lead to hyponatremia, fatigue, muscle cramping, cardiac arrhythmias etc. Electrolytes maintain water in our body for longer by maintaining the body’s normal osmolarity 290. When we decrease the body’s osmolarity by drinking only water, our body will start producing more urine to try to concentrate the few electrolytes left in the blood – causing further dehydration.
I have my energy drinks, that’s all I need.
Caffeine enhances urine production – dehydrating you faster. Yes, initially you will get an energy boost from them but ultimately you will feel fatigued due to dehydration and energy depletion.
I use gels and sports drinks
Energy is stored in the body as glycogen, research has proven that there is no need to consume glucose supplements for a workout that will last less that 60 minutes as glycogen will be broken down into glucose in order to maintain a constant fuel source. Energy gels and sports drinks contain complex sugars that will decrease the water absorption in the gut leading to stomach cramping, bloating and even diarrhea. This will vary according to the type of physical activity, environment, and athlete.
Is SOS informed Sport ratified?
We are as anti-drug as you are and want to ensure our athletes are safe from any banned substances creeping into our products.
What is SOS?
SOS was created by mixing James and Tom’s elite running experience with Blanca’s medical knowledge. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) standards and the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations, SOS provides the optimum amount of electrolytes with the fastest possible absorption capabilities for athletes.
Dr Blanca Lizaola