When considering oral vs IV rehydration, oral is better. Why? Here you will discover what we think, what we know and what can we prove.
Both oral and IV hydration have been used by high-performance athletes through the years. It is common in the NFL, collegiate football, marathon and triathlon sports.
In third world and some second world countries, IV rehydration for athletes is a standard of care.
Research from 2005 found oral re-hydration to be more effective in children than IV fluid (IVF) rehydration, because it was faster to give and reduced hospital admissions in a certain group of small children.
When someone is unconscious or semiconscious, IV administration is the preferred form of hydration by healthcare professionals. But what about the rest of us? Is there a better way?
Because of the commonality of IV use, health professionals believe it is more effective than oral rehydration. It is thought that the IV will provide for far greater performance over oral hydration.
However, this is wishful thinking. There is no science to back this mindset.
Oral hydration has been found to be just as effective as IV hydration and studies show that oral hydration may actually be more beneficial. Oral hydration is also safer. It does not require medical staff to deliver it.
The safety and speed of administration alone makes it a better choice on the field of sports activity.
The study looked at the response to IV and Oral Rehydration. After 20 minutes of rehydration, the subjects exercised untill exhausted. The room temperature was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 50%.
During exercise, the....
Blood plasma (the liquid part of our blood) and other blood-pumping values were about the same for IV and oral rehydration.
Temperatures were lower with oral rehydration.
Feeling of thirst was lower in the oral rehydration group.
Feelings of exertion were lower in the oral rehydration group.
Performance improvement for the oral rehydration group were only slightly better.
While the results were about the same in the IV vs Oral hydration methods, there are a number of unseen advantages. The risk of infection, bruising, discomfort may be considered minor reasons to avoid the IV. Any invasive treatment to the body has greater risks than natural treatments.
Additionally, the need to move an athlete to a secure place to provide the IV creates further challenges.
Add to this the thirst perception and the feeling of not being exhausted, the oral rehydration has a lot of reasons to consider it as being superior.
By following an effective oral rehydration protocol, athletes are taking charge of their own health naturally. This will help the athlete become more in tune to their body's needs and when it is speaking to them. This in turn may result in greater performance.
So, when it comes to oral vs IV rehydration, oral wins the competition.
Intravenous vs. oral rehydration: effects on subsequent exercise-heat stress.
J Appl Physiol (1985). 1997 Mar;82(3):799-806
Thermoregulation and Stress Hormone Recovery After Exercise Dehydration: Comparison of Re-hydration Methods
J Athl Train. 2013 Nov-Dec; 48(6): 725–733
A related trial in young children, even better results.
Oral versus intravenous rehydration of moderately dehydrated children: a randomized, controlled trial.
Pediatrics. 2005 Feb;115(2):295-301
Oral Rehydration Basics AKA The Water Cures Protocol
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