Everything You Need To Know About Isotonics

Isotonics are sports drinks that are an aqueous solution of body electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium chlorides), often with the addition of carbohydrates. In addition to compensating for the loss of fluid lost by the body during physical activity (which regular water also copes with), isotonic drinks help compensate for the loss of minerals in the body that are lost during sweating. And glucose provides the body with fast fuel for work.

Drinking People

Isotonics are sports drinks that are an aqueous solution of body electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium chlorides), often with the addition of carbohydrates.

If the fluid is lost, the athlete exhibits certain symptoms:

  • losing 1% of the total weight will make you thirsty
  • 2% – reduced endurance
    loss of 3% – reduced strength
  • 5% – reduced salivation, urination, increased heart rate, apathy, muscle weakness, nausea and sometimes dizziness.

Dehydration causes significant mineral loss and electrolyte imbalance. Such loss primarily affects the conduction of nerve impulses into the cell and its response, and aerobic power decreases. For this reason, glucose polymers and multivitamin complexes are used for isotonic drinks.

Components of isotonic


These are minerals dissolved in water, which form salty gel shells around and inside cells.

Such cells exchange electrical charges, react with other minerals and – most importantly – transmit nerve impulses, signaling muscle contraction and relaxation. In addition, the electrolytes regulate the fluid balance inside and outside the cells.

It is especially important to restore the electrolyte balance at workouts associated with increased endurance and those that last longer than 45 minutes. The density of the isotonic solution is approximately equal to the density of the blood plasma, so the necessary substances are quickly absorbed and effectively help maintain the water-salt balance.

drinking man


Most of the isotonic contains between 4 and 10% sugar. This concentration of glucose promotes increased absorption into the blood, which is very close to the absorption rate of water. The 8-10% solution is almost instantly absorbed, which significantly increases the body’s functional capabilities.

Sweet tonics used during training or competitions improve athletes’ performance, increase their endurance during long periods of exercise by supplying muscles with fast carbohydrates that come to help depleted glycogen reserves.

Minerals, salts, and antioxidants

The main task of antioxidants is to maintain oxygen balance in the blood. Antioxidants (most commonly carotenoids, flavonoids, and herbal extracts) reduce the effects of free radicals. These oxygen-containing molecular fragments actively grow under intense physical activity and initiate cell destruction and death.

Vitamins and minerals in isotonic perform hematopoietic (iron) and regulatory functions – synthesis of protein and connective tissue (zinc), stimulate the immune and nervous systems (magnesium, selenium), nourish muscle tissue, including heart muscle (potassium, magnesium).

When to drink

Isotonics take 1-1.5 hours before training. If no hard workout is expected, you can also drink degassed mineral water or freshly squeezed juices instead of tonics.

Drink also during a workout to compensate for the loss of macro and micronutrients, and/or immediately after a workout – to restore the acidic basic state and within 1-2 hours after completion of workout to fully restore the water balance and compensate for the loss of vitamins and salts.

Can I Drink Sports Isotonic Drinks?

Numerous letters have been received from our customers saying that often these sports bottles contain some kind of opaque liquid. What kind of drink is that?

As it turned out, these drinks are an isotonic cocktail, like energy without gas. They began to be developed in the mid-1960s in the United States. Since then, these drinks have been widely used in professional sports.

The purpose of these drinks is to quickly restore the balance of substances that are eliminated from the body during sweating under intense physical activity. Isotonic beverages contain sugars, fructose, and complex hydrocarbons such as maltodextrin and dextrin. Salts and minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium) are also always added to these drinks.

Sports specialists recommend using such drinks only to increase physical endurance. Daily consumption of isotonic drinks as an alternative to water is prohibited. Harvard University scientists also reported that sweeteners, which are traditionally part of sports drinks, can cause cancer.

Therefore, you can drink isotonic drinks only at maximum physical activity, when the body is almost exhausted. If you feel that you are just dehydrated and not exhausted, you should not drink such drinks. You should quench your thirst with normal drinking water.

The same goes for regular exercise. If you are a fitness or amateur athlete, you should not drink such drinks at all, even in training. Isotonic drinks can only be consumed by professional athletes. Without these drinks, they will not be able to achieve maximum results and set records. Every time they drink a stimulating drink, they dramatically restore the balance of substances. However, this rapid recovery is a significant health hazard. But athletes get a lot of money for it.

Sports enthusiasts should not chase professional athletes. If you drink 100 ml of water every 15 minutes of training, your body will never be exhausted or dehydrated. If you are engaged in amateur football or other game sport, then drink 150-200 ml of water 2 hours before the match. The stimulant drink can only be drunk once 15 minutes before the match. You will not need any further energy. Remember that you are not a professional sportsman. You are not paid to wear out your body by the use of various stimulant drinks.

How to choose a sports drink?


The fitness industry is growing rapidly and offers new forms for familiar products. In this article, we will discuss what sports drinks are and how to choose the right one.

What are sports drinks and who are they for?


Sports drinks are a mixture of water and salt (e.g. sodium and potassium) with a small number of carbohydrates (sugar). They are designed to recover liquids and salts lost during exercise.

Sports drinks are necessary for those who sweat. Reasons can be different: you dance, run, perform strength training, fence or just walk in the heat. As soon as your body temperature rises, your body sweats and thus gets rid of unnecessary heat, losing not only water but also salt (electrolytes).

Yes, your body can cope with a small loss of fluid, but strong and prolonged sweating can lead to dehydration, which reduces productivity and reaction, increases heart rate, and worse tolerated temperature rise.

In an article for 2006, the Montein scientist suggested that the intake of electrolytes (isotonic) should be considered only as part of the preventive process and the most important is to prevent the consumption of excess liquids.

In September 2015, an article was published, which considered how important the addition of sodium in a continuous running for 30 hours. Participants in the 161-kilometer race took body measurements before and after the competition. According to the blood test results, 6.6% of participants had sodium hyponatremia after the competition.

However, hyponatremia had nothing to do with the eating strategy. Low consumption of additives with sodium plays an insignificant role in the development of hyponatremia, but excess fluid consumption is the main reason for the development of hyponatremia. The logic is simple – you consume more liquids at a distance, sweat more, wash more salts.

However, this, of course, does not mean that you have to stop drinking at all and replenish the salt balance with liquids or pills while running. There is, for example, a study from 2015 which found that athletes who took salt pills had a higher concentration of sodium in their blood at the finish of the race.


In hot weather conditions and athletes who sweat heavily, it is recommended to consume sports drinks and other solutions both the day before the start and at the race itself.


Here it is important to add that serious problems can occur under long (from 2-4 hours and above) loads, when a person can lose a large amount of fluid – with sweat, and, accordingly, along with it and salts.

However, even at more moderate loads, you will simply feel better if you keep in mind this knowledge of water and salt balance and compensate for lost minerals, for example, with the help of special sports drinks.


What are the sports drinks


All drinks can be divided into hypotonic, isotonic and hypertensive.

  • Hypotonic – less concentrated, absorbed faster than water or other liquids. Shown to quickly replenish water in the body during and immediately after class
  • Isotonic drinks are balanced with bodily fluids and are also absorbed quickly enough to replenish water after exercise
  • Hypertensive solutions are used as regenerating drinks because they have a high concentration of carbohydrates and average protein content. They are used for workouts of medium intensity, but only in combination with hypotonic drinks. Hypertonic drinks should not be used during normal workouts, as they “pull” water in the intestines and are absorbed very slowly.

Sports drinks can be ready – they are liquid, sold in bottles and ready for immediate consumption, and there are concentrates in the form of a dry mixture (looks like a powder), pressed briquettes (similar to large pills) and semi-liquid (consistency honey) – they must be dissolved in water.

Ready-made drinks – it is certainly convenient, but expensive, and the content of salts and vitamins is quite low. Since manufacturers need a stable product with a long shelf life, they make compromises.

Dry mixes for preparation of sports drinks give great variability, and in terms of portions are much cheaper than the ready-made analogs.