In this article, we will discuss isotonic drinks, which are mainly used to support athletes throughout their workouts.
But do they really have significant benefits, or is this just a placebo? Let’s find out.
What are isotonic drinks?
These are drinks that contain mineral salts that compensate for the loss of electrolytes during periods of high physical activity (sweating).
These mineral salts are dissolved into water that contains up to 5% glycose, which is often referred to as an isotonic solution.
After the mineral salts are dissolved, different vitamins and micronutrients are thrown into the mix.
Isotonic drinks active ingredients
- Sodium salts- This substance is involved in controlling the salt balance in the body, as well as regulating the cell pressure between membranes.
- Calcium salts- The ions of the calcium are involved in the process of muscle contraction and bone mineralization.
- Potassium salts- The ions of potassium are vital for the proper heart and CNS function, which are heavily engaged during workouts.
- Magnesium salts, which support muscle recovery, which is one of the key elements for successful strength training progression.
- Glycose- This is the most common energy source in isotonic drinks
- L-carnitine – This substance is an energy transmitter, as it transports triglycerides from the cells to the mitochondria and boosts the fat metabolism’s effectiveness.
- B-Vitamins- (B1, B2, B9, etc.) – These vitamins support the body during periods of intense, catabolic processes.
Mineral salts and microelements
- Zinc salts – Important for the support of many central nervous system (CNS) processes, protein synthesis and androgenizes stimulation.
- Iodine salts- Iodine regulates the metabolism by interfering with the thyroid gland, which is why it is a key ingredient of isotonic drinks
- Caffeine – Usually, isotonic drinks contain a fair amount of caffeine- Up to 80 mg per 500 ml bottle. This is why isotonic drinks are known to be energizing drinks, without actually being an energy-specific drink like red bull.
When and how should you consume isotonic drinks?
Consuming these drinks to support electrolyte balance during the summer is undeniably effective.
Even though isotonic drinks are advertised as sport-specific ones, consuming electrolytes is important for anyone who sweats.
This leads us to the conclusion that the best time to consume these drinks is during workout, in small gulps.
There are usually two types of isotonic drinks on the market- Weakly mineralized and strongly mineralized.
They are created for light and heavy activity respectively, so consuming the second type would be adequate during extensive/intense periods of physical activity.
- Do not combine energy drinks and isotonic drinks
- Avoid isotonic drinks high in sugar
- Don’t consume isotonic drinks excessively and drink it slowly
If you use strongly mineralized isotonic drinks, the point above is especially important, as overdosing on certain vitamins and minerals is possible.