Calcium Bicarbonate Water Improves Hydration After Exercise
A recent study published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests mineral waters with high concentrations of calcium and bicarbonate can improve hydration in athletes after short term anaerobic exercise. The mineral water is known as Acqua Lete and the aim of the study was to test its effect on acid-base balance and specific urine gravity, compared to a minimally mineralized water. Acqua Lete has a very high concentration of both calcium and bicarbonate, as well as high levels of carbon dioxide, and low contents of sodium and potassium.1
There were 88 amateur athletes (either swimmers or runners) who participated in the study, and each executed two experimental trials performed on an ergometer at 85% of their maximal workload. Each trial was performed using a modified Wingate protocol: five sessions of cycling of 60 seconds with a mean speed of 80 RPM, with 60 seconds of rest between each session. The subjects were randomly placed into two groups, which consisted of 1.5 Liters a day of Acqua Lete (Group A) or 1.5 L/day of a very low mineral content water (Group B). The participants received 750 ml of water one hour before exercise and 250 ml of water 30 minutes following exercise. Those in Group A received the very low mineral content water, and those in Group B received the Acqua Lete.2
The results of the study revealed that all the athletes hydrated with Acqua Lete showed it had a positive impact on hydration status after anaerobic exercise. There was a significant decrease of urine specific gravity and positive effect on pH (an increase), which are two urinary indicators of hydration status. Urine specific gravity measures the concentrations of all chemical particles in the urine. An increased urine specific gravity is a sign of dehydration. In the athletes hydrated with Acqua Lete, urine pH was more alkaline than those who drank the low mineral content water, another indication that hydration had improved.3
Consequently, this study confirms that Acqua Lete mineral water intake is correlated with an improvement in hydration in short term exercise. Proper hydration is vital to an athlete’s performance, and he or she cannot afford to neglect this aspect of exercise. Regular bottled water and sports drinks have often been the tools used by athletes to rehydrate, but now the evidence has been presented that a bicarbonate mineral water such as Acqua Lete may actually turn out to be more beneficial.4
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