Background: Recent investigations have questioned the role of hydration and electrolytes in cramp susceptibility and thus the efficacy of consuming electrolyte-rich carbohydrate beverages (EB) to control/prevent cramping.
Methods: Nine euhydrated, cramp-prone participants had their cramp susceptibility assessed by measuring the nerve stimulation threshold frequency at which cramping occurs (TF) before and after consumption of an EB (kCal: 120, Na: 840 mg, K: 320 mg, Mg: 5 mg) and placebo beverage (PB: kCal: 5, Na: 35 mg). Cramp intensity was assessed using a verbal pain scale and poststimulation electromyography (EMG).
Results: TF was greater in EB (14.86 ± 7.47 Hz) than PB (14.00 ± 5.03 Hz; P = .038) and reported pain was lower in EB (2.0 ± 0.6) than PB (2.7 ± 0.8; P = .025) while EMG was similar (P = .646).
Discussion: EB consumption decreased cramp susceptibility and pain but did not prevent cramping in any participants. These results suggest that electrolyte consumption independent of hydration can influence cramp susceptibility in young people.
Keywords: body water; cramp; hydration; sodium; sports drink.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.