The majority of commercial sports drinks (Gatorade®, Powerade®, Cytomax®, etc.) are designed to maintain proper hydration and energy levels during a workout. Assuming that you began your workout properly hydrated, such beverages give you everything you need to continue. They are not, however, optimized to quickly recuperate an athlete who is extremely dehydrated. Rapid Rehydration® is.
All fluids consumed by the body can be broken into three main categories: hypertonic, isotonic, and hypotonic. These distinctions are made based on the fluid's concentration of water. A healthy human cell has a very finely tuned water concentration. If your beverage has a lower concentration of water than a healthy cell it is called hypertonic, if the concentrations are equal it is called isotonic, and if the concentration is higher it is called hypotonic.
Most conventional sports drinks are isotonic, having the same ratio of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water as your cells. Since the fluids inside and outside the cell are essentially the same, water flows freely back and forth across your cell wall, keeping you properly hydrated. This process of free flow is actually quite slow. In a dehydrated state, your cells are not healthy and need to quickly absorb fluids from their surroundings. A hypotonic solution, such as Rapid Rehydration™, will have higher concentration of water outside of your cells than inside. As a result, there will be an osmotic pressure on your cell walls that will want to force water in until the concentration on both sides in the same. In this way, water is more rapidly absorbed by the body.
This might beg the question, "Why not just use plain water?" Yes, plain water is the most hypotonic beverage that exists. However, the human body is a complex system that likes to maintain equilibrium. Fluids are maximally absorbed from the gut if they contain a small amount of carbohydrates. Further, the body's renal system regulates just how much water will be absorbed from a fluid based on the concentration of electrolytes passing through your kidneys. Pure water drops this concentration, giving your body the impression that water should stop being absorbed into your bloodstream (you are less thirsty). The concentration of electrolytes in Rapid Rehydration™ is formulated to forego this problem, as well as help prevent muscle cramps and other side effects of cutting weight before competition.
But wait, doesn't protein help you recover? Yes, protein is essential to muscle recovery and maintaining healthy energy levels. However, proteins, along with fats and excess carbohydrates, actually slow the absorption of water. First, the addition of such ingredients makes the beverage hypotonic, lowering the pressure that forces the water into your cells. Further, proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates are long chain molecules, whereas an electrolyte like sodium (Na+) or potassium (K+) is a simple atom. A small object, such as an atom or water (H20) molecule, will pass very easily through your porous cell wall and into the cell. Long chain molecules have difficulty passing through the small holes in your cell walls and therefore take much longer to pass into or out of the cell. During this passage, they are stealing precious real estate that could be used for trafficking water or electrolytes. Our formula is specially designed to prevent this from happening.
Rapid Rehydration™ contains the perfect blend of electrolytes and carbohydrates to help you rehydrate and recover as quickly as possible.
IS MORE ALWAYS BETTER? NO!
Osmolality is a term used to describe the concentration of particles dissolved in a solution. It is a measure of density and is expressed in units of measurement known as osmoles or milliosmoles (one thousandth of an osmole), per 1000g of solvent, or mosm/kg. The more particles a rehydration beverage contains (such as carbohydrate, electrolytes, amino acids, anti-oxidants, protein or flavoring), the higher its osmolality.
Optimal absorption of fluids within the body happens when a sports drink solution is equal in terms of osmolality to what naturally occurs in the body. The osmolality of our body’s own fluids are approx 300mosm/kg water and are regulated by the intrinsic mechanisms within our own system.
- Fluids supplied with osmolality above 300mosm/kg, (i.e. hypertonic solutions), cause not only delays in gastric emptying but also more importantly will cause fluid shifts from the body to the gut before absorption occurs. Such delays in rehydration introduce the real potential to delay and reduce performance. (Alonso, 1998, Hargreaves, 1991, Sowka et al, 2000).
- Solutions that are isotonic, (having the same osmolality as our own body fluids), are without this effect.
- Solutions, which are marginally hypotonic, (that is are below the osmolality of the body), are known to be emptied quickly from the stomach and have the potential to be absorbed the most rapidly. (Leiper, 1998).
As the osmolality of your sports drink increases above 300 mosmol/kg, efficient uptake from the GI tract is decreased. In fact, solutions with high osmolalities (hypertonic) can actually draw fluid out of the body. For the everyday person, this is not a problem. However, for athletes who are turning over large volumes of fluids and electrolytes, it could literally mean life or death. (Or, perhaps at the least, finishing instead of a DNF).
Rapid Rehydration™ is manufactured and packaged in a GMP certified Dietary Supplement Manufacturing Plant. All raw materials and ingredients go through an extensive testing process before they are cleared to be used in production. Once in production, the materials are checked and tested for any imperfection multiple times during the various stages of the manufacturing process. We guarantee that only the finest and purest ingredients are used in your product.
For more information on what it means to be GMP certified, please visit www.naturalproductsassoc.org. We believe you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find.