Sports Drinks and Their Effectiveness
Sports drinks were first invented in order to combat dehydration. When the body loses water through sweating, many nutrients are lost as well. Depending on the severity of dehydration, a wide range of symptoms can occur from impaired performance to circulatory collapse and heat stroke (“Sports Drinks”).
Rehydration is the treatment for dehydration. Rehydration is done through a process of fluid absorption. There are two main factors that affect the rate at which the body absorbs fluid from a drink. These components are the speed at which the fluid is emptied into the stomach and the rate at which it is absorbed through the walls of the small intestine. The type of liquid that is consumed also affects fluid absorption. The higher the carbohydrate levels in a drink, the slower the rate of the stomach emptying. Also, electrolytes, which are found in sports drinks, enable fluid to empty quickly from the stomach, promote absorption in the intestines, and encourage fluid retention (“Sports Drinks”).
When the body loses water from sweat, electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate, and sulphate are lost as well. Electrolytes have three major functions. The first function of electrolytes is that many of them are also essential nutrients required for everyday life. Secondly, they control osmosis of water between body compartments. Lastly, they help to maintain the body’s acid-base concentration required for the functioning of normal cell activities.
There are three types of sports drinks: isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic. Isotonic sports drinks quickly replace fluids lost by sweating, and supply a boost of carbohydrates; they are also the choice for most athletes. For those athletes that replace fluids without the boost of carbohydrates, hypotonic drinks would be sufficient. Lastly, hypertonic sports drinks are normally used after exercise to supplement...