Salt - the great hydrator.
For several years Skratch Labs has been secretly working with a select group of elite athletes to develop a drink mix that was never meant to be sold to the public. Why? Well, for the rare athlete who competes in extreme conditions, where the body is unable to replace all the fluids lost, high levels of sodium are needed to help the body retain water. But, it's not a formula that the general public should be ingesting for daily exercise or to hydrate during their local turkey trot. But, with ultra-races seeing an ever-increasing gain in popularity, Skratch has finally added its High-Sodium Hydration Drink Mix to its product line.
To understand why the mix contains 1700mg of sodium per serving, as much as an entire bag of potato chips, you should understand that the body is almost 60% water, but, the average person doesn't have 46 liters of water to spare to keep the body cool. You can suffer as little as 2% water loss during exercise to as much as 10%, the latter being close to critically ill. The bigger problem is that most of the water in our bodies is not stored in readily accessible places. About 2/3rds of it is stored within our cells. In total, only about 1/5th of the water in our bodies is stored in our veins. More importantly, the water in our blood isn't really water, it's a mix of about 9grams of sodium chloride per liter of water — a very salty ratio. It's from this mix that our sweat originates. And while you've probably been told that massive sweating leads to electrolyte loss, which is true, it's the salt loss that is more dangerous. Therefore, to replace sodium lost requires a highly concentrated solution.
Skratch Labs looked to the traditional Saline IV as inspiration for its High-Sodium Hydration Drink Mix. While an IV pre-race is not the practical solution, the chemistry behind it is sound. It contains the same osmolarity as blood at 3.5grams/liter, which assists with fast absorption. So why not just ingest the IV solution orally? Well, the large chloride concentration causes nausea, vomiting, and GI irritation, not to mention that the taste is unpalatable. Instead of using sodium chloride, Skratch paired sodium with citrate, a neutralized fruit acid from lime juice. In addition to being easier on the stomach, there is some evidence to support that citrate, unlike chloride, is able to be consumed as a fuel source for energy-creating pathways.
To assist in buffering the taste, a small amount of cane sugar and glucose has been added to the drink mix. Additionally, to make it more palatable, Skratch looked to the Mango, or as it puts it, "many mangos." Mango is used in many cultures to temper salty foods, and in a similar fashion, it worked with the High-Sodium Hydration Drink Mix to temper the salty taste. But, it required as many mangos that could be put into the mix without changing the osmolarity. So, yes, even though it is basically a salt drink, it is the most expensive drink in Skratch Labs' line. As Dr. Lim puts it, "You are paying for mangos, not sodium."
And while Skratch tried to add additional carbohydrates and additional electrolytes to the mix, beyond what is naturally found in the existing ingredients, it found it best to leave it with a "less is more" approach. That said, it is intended for the athlete who needs to maximize hydration before an extreme event. It is not meant to be used as a daily training mix. It is specifically for the athlete who finds him or herself constantly striving to replace lost fluids, coated in white after races, or frequently receiving a post-race IV.
- Servings Per Container
- 1 packet
- Claimed Weight
- pre race hydration
5 based on 2 ratings
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July 14, 2023
Work very well when needed
- I've put it through the wringer
Rehydrates you fast when you're deyhdrated and still have hours to go. Also not the best pasion fruit flavor, but one of the best tasting hydration powders, there is no funky chemical flavors. But must be used when you acutally need it. I carry a packet as emergency rehydration when out or take one just before multiple hours of heavy sweating.
Originally reviewed on Backcountry.com
August 12, 2021
Must have for 70.3 training in Atlanta!
- I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I am training for my first 70.3, reguarly logging 14+ hours of training a week and as a result, I struggle to keep my sodium levels up which leads to light headedness and ultimately nausea. Used this stuff today for my 50 mile ride in heat in lieu of eating salt packets and it works!!! Taking this to all my races in future.
Originally reviewed on Backcountry.com
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