Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;72(2 Suppl):564S-72S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.2.564S.


During exercise in the heat, sweat output often exceeds water intake, resulting in a body water deficit (hypohydration) and electrolyte losses. Because daily water losses can be substantial, persons need to emphasize drinking during exercise as well as at meals. For persons consuming a normal diet, electrolyte supplementation is not warranted except perhaps during the first few days of heat exposure. Aerobic exercise is likely to be adversely affected by heat stress and hypohydration; the warmer the climate the greater the potential for performance decrements. Hypohydration increases heat storage and reduces a person's ability to tolerate heat strain. The increased heat storage is mediated by a lower sweating rate (evaporative heat loss) and reduced skin blood flow (dry heat loss) for a given core temperature. Heat-acclimated persons need to pay particular attention to fluid replacement because heat acclimation increases sweat losses, and hypohydration negates the thermoregulatory advantages conferred by acclimation. It has been suggested that hyperhydration (increased total body water) may reduce physiologic strain during exercise heat stress, but data supporting that notion are not robust. Research is recommended for 3 populations with fluid and electrolyte balance problems: older adults, cystic fibrosis patients, and persons with spinal cord injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Calcium Chloride / metabolism
  • Climate
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Dehydration / metabolism
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Dehydration / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements / standards*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heat Stress Disorders / metabolism*
  • Heat Stress Disorders / physiopathology
  • Heat Stress Disorders / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Magnesium Chloride / metabolism
  • Male
  • Potassium Chloride / metabolism
  • Sodium Chloride / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Sweat / physiology
  • Thirst / physiology
  • Water / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*


  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Calcium Chloride