Sports drinks are one of many beverage options designed to help consumers stay hydrated, which is necessary for overall health and wellness. These functional beverage products help athletes and other active people hydrate before, during and after vigorous exercise. Sports drinks can provide nutrients and quickly replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical activity or exposure to high temperatures.
Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise. As the primary fuel utilized by exercising muscles, carbohydrates are important in maintaining an optimal level of sport performance.
Sports drinks fall into three major types:
Isotonic sports drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body.
Hypertonic sports drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
Hypotonic sports drinks contain a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
Electrolytes commonly exist as solutions of acids, bases or salts. Furthermore, some gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. While the kidneys flush out excess levels of electrolytes, oral intake of electrolytes can help achieve electrolyte balance--normally regulated by hormones.