Effects of dehydration on gastric emptying and gastrointestinal distress while running

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990 Dec;22(6):790-5. doi: 10.1249/00005768-199012000-00010.


Gastrointestinal distress is commonly reported by athletes after ingestion of a beverage. We speculate that ingestion may be occurring after dehydration has taken place. The high prevalence of GI disorders in marathon runners who have lost greater than or equal to 4% body weight supports this theory. To test this theory, the effects of dehydration, and dehydration in combination with endurance running, on gastric emptying (GE) and frequency of gastrointestinal (GI) complaints were tested in this experiment. A complete cross-over study was designed. Sixteen subjects ingested 8 ml.kg BW-1 of a 7% carbohydrate (296 mOsm.kg-1), solution after a euhydration or dehydration regime. Dehydration (4% BW loss) was produced by 60% maximal speed running at 30 degrees C or by intermittent sauna exposure at 100 degrees C. Euhydration experiments were conducted with a 2 h rest period with water administered at 20 and 40 min. Gastric drink volumes were measured every 10 min for 40 min. Emptying curves were compared using semi-log transformation of the percentage emptying data and simple linear regression. The slope of each line was used as a measure of average GE rate. Dehydration-exercise resulted in slower GE than in all other treatments (P less than 0.05). ANOVA revealed significant effects of dehydration (P less than 0.05) and exercise (P less than 0.05), these two effects being additive in delaying GE. GI complaints were reported by 37.5% of the subjects during dehydration-exercise experiments. No GI disturbance was reported in other tests.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Temperature
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Digestive System / physiopathology*
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Running*