Background: Previous research has shown fluid replacement beverages ingested after exercise can affect hydration biomarkers. No specific hydration marker is universally accepted as an ideal rehydration parameter following strenuous exercise. Currently, changes in body mass are used as a parameter during post-exercise hydration. Additional parameters are needed to fully appreciate and better understand rehydration following strenuous exercise. This randomized, double-blind, parallel-arm trial assessed the effect of high-pH water on four biomarkers after exercise-induced dehydration.
Methods: One hundred healthy adults (50 M/50 F, 31 ± 6 years of age) were enrolled at a single clinical research center in Camden, NJ and completed this study with no adverse events. All individuals exercised in a warm environment (30 °C, 70% relative humidity) until their weight was reduced by a normally accepted level of 2.0 ± 0.2% due to perspiration, reflecting the effects of exercise in producing mild dehydration. Participants were randomized to rehydrate with an electrolyzed, high-pH (alkaline) water or standard water of equal volume (2% body weight) and assessed for an additional 2-h recovery period following exercise in order to assess any potential variations in measured parameters. The following biomarkers were assessed at baseline and during their recovery period: blood viscosity at high and low shear rates, plasma osmolality, bioimpedance, and body mass, as well as monitoring vital signs. Furthermore, a mixed model analysis was performed for additional validation.
Results: After exercise-induced dehydration, consumption of the electrolyzed, high-pH water reduced high-shear viscosity by an average of 6.30% compared to 3.36% with standard purified water (p = 0.03). Other measured biomarkers (plasma osmolality, bioimpedance, and body mass change) revealed no significant difference between the two types of water for rehydration. However, a mixed model analysis validated the effect of high-pH water on high-shear viscosity when compared to standard purified water (p = 0.0213) after controlling for covariates such as age and baseline values.
Conclusions: A significant difference in whole blood viscosity was detected in this study when assessing a high-pH, electrolyte water versus an acceptable standard purified water during the recovery phase following strenuous exercise-induced dehydration.
Keywords: Blood viscosity; Drinking water; Fluid therapy; Human physical conditioning; Rehydration solutions.