Sunday, August 19, 2012

Electrolytes: A New Spin On An Old Favorite

Many followers of my blog have dehydration problems. Some have implanted ports or other central lines for IV hydration at home. Most, like me, rely on rehydration solutions to make the monster of dehydration go away

Here is a recipe I like but don't use:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1/4 teaspoon salt substitute (potassium chloride) or 4 teaspoons cream of tartar.

8 teaspoons raw, brown or white sugar.

This makes one liter (1000cc's) of ORS.

This is the World Health Organization's recipe for ORS:

- 3/8 tsp salt (sodium chloride)

- ¼ tsp Morton® Salt Substitute® (potassium chloride)

- ½ tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar (sucrose)

- Add tap water to make one (1) liter

I don't like this one as much since it is hyperosmolar. I have since read that they (WHO) have come out with a lower osmolality formula but cannot find the recipe anywhere on the Internet.

I like for things to be as uncomplicated as possible, however, and so this is my absolute favorite recipe for ORS. However, keep reading, because I have put a twist on it.

My Favorite Recipe:

2 Tbsp sugar
1tsp salt

Makes 1 liter

That's it! In theory, any way. But I have made some modifications. Here they are:

• Dextrose in place of white sugar: So many reasons for this! Dextrose -- or glucose -- is the most absorbable sugar for your body especially one that is depleted and dehydrated. It may or may not be less likely to be stored as fat than regular table sugar (sucrose). I do know that on a molecular level they are both monosaccharides but differ in their structures. In hospitals they always use dextrose in their IV solutions, never sucrose. Sucrose exists as to rings (dextrose plus fructose), and an enzyme called sucrase is needed to break that chain (however small) into even smaller dextrose (single chain) sections. This is why I prefer dextrose over sucrose.

The next on the list is salt. I should add here that white salt (sodium chloride) is not a natural creation. I do not use it. That container that is holding up the baking soda and drink mix powder sachet that contains a grey sandy material is called Celtic sea salt and I use it for everything. It has other minerals to help absorb the sodium chloride so it is not just a shock to the system. White salt and sugar is the reason we have such an epidemic of hypertension an obesity today. I won't use either of them, not even if I am dehydrated.

The last item I use in my DAILY ORS is in the blue tube called ConcenTrace by Trace Minerals Research. I get it at the local health food store an it costs $20 in Jefferson City, MO. Most people can get most of the trace elements they need in a diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. My tubefeeding formula contains trace elements but not very many and always is ridiculously minuscule amounts. The ConcenTrace contains a whole spectrum of trace elements that most people, tube feeding or not, do not get, along with a hefty dose of magnesium. This step is crucial. You lose those trace elements with chronic vomiting (like what I experience). Even Abbot Labs have started adding zinc to their Pedialyte line. Trace elements are an unsung hero that most people are not getting enough of.

For flavor (and not feeling like I am just drinking salt water), I add a Crystal Light or equivalent store brand sachet to the mix. Do not use anything with a sugar base. This will throw off the sugar:salt balance and make dehydration worse.

ETA: For those who were asking "How much ConcenTrace do I use?". I use 1 tsp in a 3 liter jug of water. (3L is my MINIMUM fluid requirement so this jug works nicely). For one liter that would mean 1/3 tsp. Ideally, though, you will want to get at least 1 tsp of ConcenTrace into your system a day. Better than caffeine (unless you are in the midst of struggling to get your caloric needs met. Then I guess you would need caffeine then. Before the whole 'I'm getting 1000kcal fewer than I need a day' thing came about, this ConcenTrace was all I needed to stay alert and focused)

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