I get a lot of questions regarding sodium in OSMO. Let me explain some of the ideas behind the sodium and sugars. OSMO is not trying to “replace sodium” or other electrolytes. Also the same reason I recommend basing fluid needs on body weight.
Lets start with sodium.. The body has plenty of sodium stores, and yes, we do lose some in sweat; but the concept of using a sports drink with higher sodium to “replace sweat sodium losses” is misleading. In the human body, fluid is comprised of water and electrolytes; the key electrolyte that allows fluid to move freely is sodium (Na+). (With water is sodium.).
I designed Osmo Active Hydration to work with human physiology. The sodium and the two sugars (sucrose and glucose in a 3% solution) are in there to maximize fluid absorption, not to replace sodium nor to supply carbohydrate for fuel. The idea behind fluid absorption is to slow the rate at which you lose blood volume (well, actually plasma volume, the watery part of your blood).
Let’s step back. When you exercise there is a competition for blood between the muscles and the skin: the muscles need fuel and waste+heat removal. Skin is where the heat is offloaded for convective and evaporative cooling. As you sweat, you lose body water- thus your blood becomes a bit “thicker”, and the competition between blood demand to the muscles and blood demand to the skin becomes critical. Usually the skin wins out because heat needs to be removed from the body. The idea behind OSMO is to allow maximum fluid absorption to slow the rate at which your blood volume drops, thus the muscles and the skin competition is less fierce. Bottom line by keeping blood volume up, a longer time to fatigue, aka, greater power throughout your training and racing sessions.
- Osmo contains sodium.
- Osmo contains glucose and sucrose.
- These work with water to maximize fluid absorption.
- More absorbed fluid means keeping your blood circulating to both your muscles and your skin. = increased time to fatigue (a good thing!)
The longer story:
Basic physiology. Your body is comprised of mainly fluid (we know it as water), but to move between vascular spaces, that water requires sodium (and potassium, depending on if it shifts from the interstitial spaces to the plasma space or from the gut to the plasma space), and fluid balance relies somewhat heavily on osmolality of fluid. To shift into the plasma space, you need the fluid to be of lower osmolality than the blood (by nature of the body being “lazy” things shift from areas of low solutes to high solutes to equilibriate).
When you are limited to 2 bottles on your bike or 1 bottle in your hand (running), you want to make sure that fluid hydrates; and have fuel in your pocket to take care of blood sugar needs.
By the nature of exercise, the competition between blood to the muscle and blood to the skin becomes even more fierce as the plasma volume shrinks, thus if you are hydrating, you are attenuating the drop in PV — allowing a longer time to fatigue due to less drop of blood flow to the muscle (skin and heat dissipation will most always win out as the body perceives heat to be more of a threat than maintaining muscle metabolism).
If you combine fuel with fluid (aka liquid calories) you are mainly addressing exogenous carbohydrate needs, not hydration needs.
Again, by combining all-in-one, you can’t tailor your specific nutritional needs based on who you are (male/female), environmental conditions (cold/hot/altitude etc..), training intensity/duration, when you last ate/nutritional status….