Try to Google search for “what to give my active 6 year old to drink” and the results will likely confuse you and leave you with more unanswered questions. Results will range from, Gatorade, sports drinks, coconut water, and diluted juice from the mommy bloggers. Some even claim that vitamin waters will “top off your child’s nutritional gaps”. The government’s nutrition organization, eatright.org recommendation of “lots of water” will likely pop up too. Other recommendations from doctors and other medical professionals include Pedialyte or a diluted ORS (oral rehydration solution). So what do we give our active kids?
It’s well documented in the scientific literature that hypohydration (low body water) in adults increases skin and core temperatures, leading to increased stress on the cardiovascular system, especially in the heat. In physical activity, this increased cardiovascular strain contributes to decreased physical performance (primarily in endurance exercise), increased fatigue and perception of effort, decreased motivation; coupled with increased propensity for injury, both musculoskeletal and total heat illness. But how does this translate to the younger active population?
In prepubescent kids, there is still a question of how much hypohydration creates these similar stresses in that, as compared to adults, prepubescent children experience a greater increase in core and skin temperatures as they become dehydrated. So why is this? A lower sweat rate but higher metabolic cost of locomotion is a contributing factor. In other words, kids produce more heat with less offload. Additionally, kid’s bodies have not had as much time to adapt to heat acclimatization in their short lives. So when they are active on hot summer days they are more predisposed to heat illness
And while it seems logical to just “drink lots of water” the possibility of hyponatremia in active kids becomes a concern. Hyponatremia is when you put too much water in your system causing the sodium in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell which can potentially cause many health problems.
Basically, there is no real defined statement of what and how much a pre-pubescent active child should drink. And while there are peer-reviewed recommendations from clinical pediatrics and the World Health Organization on rehydration/hydration for illness induced dehydration, there are actually none for the exercise induced body water losses that many of our active kids experience. That’s where we come in – the Osmo for Kids product was formulated based upon physiological data on exercising/active prepubescent kids, as well as recommendations from the clinical trials of rehydration. What we have formulated is a drink designed to hydrate our kids, based on their physiology and needs for fluid absorption.
Why formulate a different Osmo Active specifically for kids? Why not just use diluted adults’ active?
Bottom line: Kids need a different concentration of carbohydrates and electrolytes due to differences in sweat sodium concentrations, sweat rates, heat dissipation, and predisposition to hypohydration and subsequent heat illness.
Kids’ bodies are different than adults with regards to thermoregulation (getting rid of heat and sweating). The other key thing to remember is that an oral rehydration solution (ORS, Pedialyte) is for severe dehydration (e.g. from vomiting, illness, diarrhea) which is a clinical condition; different from daily dehydration from activity and/or mild illness. With these facts, the Osmo for Kids formula has been specifically designed to address the active kid’s needs.
Sodium: Kids need to ingest less sodium due to less sweat sodium losses.
The sodium content in Osmo products serve to 1) enhance fluid absorption at the level of the small intestines, 2) stimulate thirst to encourage voluntary drinking (a normal physiological protective mechanism), and 3) to help counteract sweat sodium losses. In the kids formula there is 100mg/serving as compared to the 320mg/serving of the men’s active. In the adult literature, sweat sodium losses in endurance athletes are on the upwards of 1.7-2 grams per litre; but under similar exercise conditions, the prepubescent child loses 0.75 -0.8g per litre of sweat. Thus, children need to ingest less sodium due to less sweat sodium losses. The physiological need for sodium for fluid uptake is individual- dependent on existing sodium availability within the body (this is from stores, ingested fluids/foods, blood-sodium concentrations, fluid balance hormone interaction; RDA of sodium for children 4-12 is 1.2g/day, teenage+adults is 1.5-1.8g/day).
Potassium: Kids need less potassium for fluid balance.
Potassium is needed with sodium for fluid balance, skeletal and cardiac muscle function. Unlike sodium, potassium is not readily lost in sweat but is unavoidably lost in urine, thus it too is critical for fluid balance. Again, the requirements in prepubescent children are less than adults; 30mg potassium per serving in the kids formula vs. 100mg potassium in the adults.
Carbohydrate and osmolality: Kids need a combination of a great tasting product with the optimal ratio of carbohydrates for it to be effective.
The World Health Organization oral rehydration solution recognizes the effectiveness of a low osmolality solution for promoting plasma volume expansion; with the total osmolality range of 200-245mOsm/l. The osmotic contributors in a solution are the electrolytes and the carbohydrates. To maintain an effective osmolality of ~200mOsm/L as well as to promote fluid uptake at the level of the intestines, the kids formula has been designed at a 1% carbohydrate solution comprised of glucose and sucrose. NOTE: palatability of the drink is critical for fluid uptake. If it doesn’t taste good, it won’t be consumed. Sugar and salt are key factors to palatability and physiological encouragement of drinking. The Kids’ formula has added monk fruit (a small, sweet melon that is naturally calorie-free and does not impact blood sugar like traditional sugars; it is not processed like stevia or sugar alcohols; basically it is dried powdered fruit) to increase the sweetness of the drink (preferred by kids).
Taste: Staying with the morals and ideals of Osmo, the Kids formula uses organic freeze-dried fruit , touched up by organic tangerine oil to “punch up” the flavor for kids palates. There are still no fillers or flow agents, or other ingredients that may cause hyperactivity.
So how does Osmo for Kids line up with some of the other options on the market? Take a look:
**Both the Health Protection Branch of Canada and the Food and Drug Administration note that sodium benzoate is safe to consume in small doses, but it should not be combined with ascorbic acid, commonly known as citric acid or vitamin C, as this will develop a carcinogen know as benzene. This carcinogen is believed to cause cell death, damage to the mitochondria in cells, DNA damage, ***Polyethyelne glycol is the basis of most prescription laxatives.
Have any questions about new Kid’s line? Want to share what your kids think? We want to hear from you so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org