Oral Rehydration Solutions and Sports Drinks

Thirsty boy drinking water outdoorsThe World Health Organization (WHO) has had a recommended formulation of basically salt and glucose, to be used in the event of diarrhea since the late 1970’s.  This has been life-saving for millions of people every year. They have just recently released new recommendations for a formulation with reduced sodium: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/es/d/Js4950e/2.4.html  I would recommend anyone who would be traveling for an extended period to parts of the world where access to health care might be limited, carry a good supply of the WHO packets for use, and to leave there for those less fortunate than we are. Here in the USA, for severe diarrhea, especially in infants, we tend to recommend Pedialyte.  I still think for the infant with severe diarrhea this is your best option. For everyone else read on.

For sport drinks and general rehydration, there are a few choices that I think are much better than Gatorade or Powerade, though in a pinch those would do.  Water and a banana would do in a pinch also and be much better without the artificial dyes and colors, and plastic bottle exposure.  The Gatorade and Powerades have too much “sugar”, and are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which you can be sure comes from genetically modified corn – a big NO NO! 

If you don’t have diarrhea, Emergen-C will do and provides a great dose of vitamin C (too much if you have diarrhea, and too much to use multiple times a day), along with other electrolytes and vitamins. Coconut water is actually a great natural rehydration drink, especially if you can get it unprocessed.  For an all-around drink before and after sports, I now carry and recommend Ultima Replenisher.  This product is GMO-free with no MSG or artificial ingredients. It’s vitamin C is not derived from corn products which could be GMO, and for sweetness, it uses Stevia, the only sweetener other than honey that we should use.  At home, use honey when you can.



Dr. Paul



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