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Isotonic drink: Optimizing hydration for performance and recovery

A 2% weight loss due to dehydration during exercise reduces the physical capacity of an athlete by 20%. Hydration before, during and after exercise is one of the keys not to be overlooked for your sporting success.

What is good hydration?

Good hydration allows you not only to replace your water losses effectively, to replace the electrolytes (or mineral salts) lost during exercise, but also to provide fast sugars to stimulate the metabolism.

The sport practiced, the intensity of the exercise and the environment of use (in particular the external temperatures) will have an impact on the water needs of the athlete. Sports drinks are particularly used in endurance efforts such as running, swimming or triathlon – but other drinks can be used for shorter duration efforts.

To learn more about the role of hydration in sport, you can consult the article “ Hydration in sport ”.

What is a sports drink?

Sports drinks are necessary for the good hydration of the sportsman before, during and after his training.

In sports practice, the main function of these drinks is to hydrate athletes while restoring electrolytes, carbohydrates and other nutrients that have been used during exercise, so as to maintain or improve endurance performance . [The Impact of Sports and Energy Drinks in Performance]

They are developed using essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate and magnesium, are eliminated by perspiration during training and/or competition.

Sports drinks can be classified into three types based on their osmolarity which depends on their carbohydrate and electrolyte content: hypotonic , isotonic and hypertonic drinks.

[An Overview of Functional Beverages]

What is osmolarity?

Osmolarity is a measure of the amount of osmotically active particles in a solution, such as sodium and glucose . The reference base for comparing osmolarity is that of the internal environment, the blood plasma, in which the dissolved substances “bathe”: a drink is said to be isotonic when its osmolarity is close to that of blood plasma, hypotonic when it is lower. to this one and hypertonic when it is higher.

In the mechanism of hydration, we observe a movement of substances from the most concentrated solution (hypertonic) towards the less concentrated solution (hypotonic) and the water makes the opposite way. []

Depending on the needs of the athlete, he can therefore favor a drink with an appropriate osmolarity. However, it is not always easy to know what type of drink to use and when to use it.

When to use isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic drinks?

Hydrating drinks are recommended for all sports and even more so for endurance sports that can last several hours, such as marathons, triathlons or long-distance cycling… Here are the characteristics, advantages and indications of every drink.

Isotonic drinks 

Isotonic drinks have osmolarities ranging from 275 to 295 mOsm/kg of water. The carbohydrates and electrolytes (especially sodium) they contain have concentrations similar to those in the human body. Generally, an isotonic drink contains 8% carbohydrates.

This maximizes the rate at which glucose (energy) is absorbed by the body. The purpose of these drinks is to restore the water, sugars and salts lost during sports practice. [A Comprehensive Study on Sports and Energy Drinks] 

Use: Isotonic drinks are recommended during medium and long distance running as well as in sports with a duration of prolonged effort greater than 90 minutes and where dehydration and the depletion of carbohydrate reserves can limit performance. [An Overview of Functional Beverages]

hypotonic drinks 

Hypotonic drinks have osmolarities below 275 mOsm/kg of water and contain only low levels of carbohydrates (sugars) and electrolytes (minerals, mainly sodium), lower than those of the human body. This low concentration of carbohydrates and sodium speeds up the body's absorption of water, maximizing rehydration . [Product development of new soft drinks and fruit juices] 

Use: Hypotonic drinks provide hydration because they increase voluntary fluid intake. They are ideal for rapid rehydration , when the goal is hydration rather than providing large amounts of energy.

They can be taken by gymnasts who need liquid without carbohydrate intake or during sports (football for example) of less than an hour and of low to moderate intensity . [An Overview of Functional Beverages]

They should be your go-to option on extended endurance efforts like marathons, long hikes in hot weather , when you need a drink to rehydrate quickly and effectively. []

Hypertonic drinks 

Hypertonic drinks have osmolarities greater than 295 mOsm/kg water and contain higher levels of carbohydrates than the human body to replace those used during prolonged intense exercise and generally do not contain electrolytes. [An Overview of Functional Beverages] 

Use: Hypertonic drinks should not be used to maintain hydration because the large amount of carbohydrates will slow gastric emptying and the absorption time of the drink in the intestine. These carbohydrate-rich drinks are ideal for supplementing your daily carbohydrate intake .

They can be taken post-workout, as a recovery drink , to improve muscle energy (glycogen) stores and over ultra-distance. [An Overview of Functional Beverages]

Hydratis, a hypotonic or isotonic drink enriched with minerals and trace elements

Hydratis has been designed with the objective of promoting a sufficient level of hydration at all times when our needs are increased, especially in sport.

The flexibility and ease of use offered by Hydratis, allow you to create a hypotonic or isotonic drink, enriched with mineral salts such as magnesium and potassium as well as trace elements such as zinc and manganese.

Potassium helps maintain good cell hydration. Magnesium and potassium contribute to good muscle function by reducing physical fatigue and preventing cramps. Zinc contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and supports the metabolism in times of mild dehydration. Manganese has antioxidant properties to fight against oxidative stress in cells. [The Hydratis formulation]

Hydratis offers you the possibility of using an isotonic or hypotonic drink according to your needs: for an isotonic drink we advise you to put 2 tablets in a glass of water and for a hypotonic drink 1 tablet in a glass of water.

Hydratis contains no coloring or preservatives, it is a vegan and gluten-free product.


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