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Water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to cramp but electrolytes reverse that effect
  1. Wing Yin Lau1,
  2. Haruyasu Kato2,
  3. Kazunori Nosaka1
  1. 1 Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Sport and Wellness, Rikkyo University - Niiza Campus, Niiza, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Kazunori Nosaka; k.nosaka{at}


Objective No previous study has compared water and oral rehydration solution (ORS) intake after dehydration induced by exercise in the heat for the effect on muscle cramps. The present study tested the hypothesis that water ingestion after dehydration would increase muscle cramp susceptibility, but this would be prevented by ORS ingestion.

Methods Ten men performed two bouts of downhill running (DHR; −5%) in the heat (35°C–36 °C) until their body mass was reduced by 2%. Ten minutes after DHR, either spring water or electrolyte water similar to ORS (OS-1®) was ingested in a counter-balanced order on two different days separated by a week. Muscle cramp susceptibility was assessed by a threshold frequency (TF) of electrical train stimulation to induce cramp before, immediately after (0), and 30 and 60 min after the ingestion. Blood samples were taken before, immediately and 80 min after DHR to measure serum electrolyte concentrations.

Results Muscle cramp susceptibility assessed by TF did not change from baseline to immediately after DHR for both conditions (water: 24.6 ± 2.1 Hz, OS-1®: 24.7 ± 1.4 Hz). TF decreased after water intake by 4.3 Hz (30 min) and 5.1 Hz (60 min post-ingestion), but increased after OS-1® intake by 3.7 and 5.4 Hz, respectively. Serum sodium and chloride concentrations decreased after water intake but maintained after OS-1® intake.

Conclusion These results suggest that water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to electrical simulation-induced muscle cramp, probably due to dilution of electrolytes, and when OS-1® is consumed, the susceptibility to muscle cramp decreases.

  • electrical train stimulation
  • threshold frequency
  • downhill running
  • sodium
  • potassium
  • chloride
  • oral rehydration solution

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  • Contributors KN designed the study, the data collection was performed mainly by WYL and HK, and the data analyses were done by WYI and KN. KN drafted the manuscript and the final manuscript was checked by all authors.

  • Funding The authors appreciate the support from the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory Incorporation (Japan), which provided us a grant and OS-1® to perform the study. However, this manuscript was not oversighted by the company.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.