Water intoxication

I'm not a doctor but… 
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
Forum rules
The information / discussion in the Cycling Health Forum is not qualified medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

Water intoxication

Postby Kraeg » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:41 pm

There's an article in the SMH about this:

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/f ... 1w024.html

A few years ago I went for a ride, about 25km, on a 40C+ day. There was a fair bit of climbing, particularly climbing I had never done at the time. I stopped to buy a Powerade or whatever at 10, 18, then 24 kms. I ended up feeling extremely ill.

At the other extreme, I started a 125km ride last Christmas at noon, without having eaten and no fluid intake at all that day until 15km into the ride... 40km into it I was off the bike with my body trying to puke; after recovering I took a 50km route back home (it wasn't the way I'd come... I was avoiding the descent then climb out of a gully, which I knew my body would not handle in such a state).
Kraeg
 
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:11 pm

by BNA » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:22 pm

BNA
 

Re: Water intoxication

Postby Meditator » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:22 pm

Its true. This is old news but cyclists seem to be unwilling to take the lesson on board.

that said, i am surprised about your own stories. They seem weird and don't sound like overdrinking to me.

Perhaps it wasn't the liquid in the first drink but other things in it. Maybe you tend to feel sick because you don't have any glycogen (from food) in your system. Try eating sometimes.

Try to learn more about the role of food. Certainly your body can't function well on merely all the fat you've accrued around your waist.
Meditator
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:57 pm
Location: North of Cairns

Water intoxication

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:29 pm

Kraeg... You stopped to buy Gatorade after 20 minutes or so, then another 8 km's and then again after just 6kms more?. That's 3 x 600mls in under an hour!. No wonder you were ill.
Image
User avatar
toolonglegs
 
Posts: 14351
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:49 pm
Location: Somewhere with padded walls and really big hills!

Re: Water intoxication

Postby greyhoundtom » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:24 pm

Thanks for posting that link........a very interesting article :D
User avatar
greyhoundtom
 
Posts: 2526
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:28 am
Location: Narre Warren, Victoria

Re: Water intoxication

Postby BoardRider » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:48 pm

Meditator wrote:Its true. This is old news but cyclists seem to be unwilling to take the lesson on board.

that said, i am surprised about your own stories. They seem weird and don't sound like overdrinking to me.

Perhaps it wasn't the liquid in the first drink but other things in it. Maybe you tend to feel sick because you don't have any glycogen (from food) in your system. Try eating sometimes.

Try to learn more about the role of food. Certainly your body can't function well on merely all the fat you've accrued around your waist.


My experience of over drinking was outside the realm of cycling when I was looking after somebody. Their over drinking of water caused them to collapse, stop breathing and arrest.Fortunately was able to get them back. As you stated there are real consequences for over hydrating your blood volume to the point dilution.
Board Rider

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Source Unknown
BoardRider
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:18 pm
Location: Adelaide Hills

Re: Water intoxication

Postby dynamictiger » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:03 am

Interesting article. I was aware of this, although I was not perhaps as aware it was as widespread as this article implies.

I find it interesting that during swim training we are encouraged to drink now. 30 years ago we weren't. My issue with this is we are encouraged to drink lots before we go swimming, in my case as I am not a tiny tot it is recommended I drink 4 litres a day, twice the daily input recommended by the Health Department. Then when swimming we are encouraged to drink around 200 mls every 15 minutes or so. The odd thing about all of this drinking is in the pool you seldom feel thirsty as you are surrounded by water. So I wonder how a swimmer could tell they are under or over drinking before they had an issue.

And you cyclists thought you had issues?

When I was younger and fitter I spent years wandering about the bush. Climbing the odd mountain or three and that sort of thing. Often the target was not the scenery as much as the time to get there...shorter the better.

As I matured and got faster at this hiking business I found my 'food' intake changed otherwise I became ill. Logically if you are working hard you would imagine you would want something substantial to eat such as a meat pie or similar. And admittedly if I was unloading a container by hand this is what I would eat a few times over. However when I was out bush and walking two or three times the normal distance and carrying twice the load of a normal person ...i.e. being a total idiot, I found I could not eat much at all. Instead I would consume a small can of fruit in juice or something. Now I am a little wiser I think this was a combination of high liquids, high natural sugars and high carbohydrates. If I tried to eat anything else I would feel absolutely awful and end up shaking etc by the end of the stroll.

I am recounting this story for others to consider what I learnt over time. If your liquid intake seems correct, then look at what you are eating. In my case fruits worked well to eliminate whatever the issues were I was having. In another persons case it may be a completely different food group. It is worth taking the time to listen to your body and see what it seems to be asking for.
Image
dynamictiger
 
Posts: 547
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:08 pm
Location: Victoria Park, WA

Re: Water intoxication

Postby MichaelB » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:09 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Kraeg... You stopped to buy Gatorade after 20 minutes or so, then another 8 km's and then again after just 6kms more?. That's 3 x 600mls in under an hour!. No wonder you were ill.


And on a 40+ degree day with climbing !!!

Nuff said !!
User avatar
MichaelB
 
Posts: 6824
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:29 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: Water intoxication

Postby eeksll » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:34 pm

exercise-associated hyponatraemia (from the article) is due to an imbalance of salts and water in your body. As far as I have always understood, gatorade/powerade/sports drinks contains these salts and should prevent hyponatraemia.

also, as you probably know now, be a little more thoughtful in regards to food and hydration when exercising.
eeksll
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:36 pm

Re: Water intoxication

Postby Downhill » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:34 am

It pays to listen to your body (not the marketers).

If you over hydrate, your body will do what it always does. It will try to get rid of the excess. If you can't either sweat it out or pee it out fast enough, then the body's only options are vomiting and / or diarrhoea.

The opposite also applies. If you're slightly under hydrated then your body will start to conserve water by diverting it from less essential functions. Initially this in itself isn't a bad thing - it's a natural and extremely useful survival mechanism. Again, problems only arise if signs are ignored.

The key is to start off adequately hydrated, then maintain your hydration levels by taking small, frequent sips as needed. Obviously you body will only "request" additional water after you've become slightly dehydrated, but it will also compensate by going into survival mode.

So long as you're still producing saliva then your hydration levels should be ok. If your tongue starts sticking to the roof of your mouth, that's usually the first sign that your hydration levels are a little too low. That's the time to top up with a quick sip or two. You might not even have started to feel thirsty at that point. If you can maintain your hydration levels at that level, you might even find that you use less water over the whole course.
Today's effort = Tomorrows reward.
2010 Oppy C6
Downhill
 
Posts: 364
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:11 am
Location: WA

Re: Water intoxication

Postby Nikolai » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:41 pm

Kraeg wrote:A few years ago I went for a ride, about 25km, on a 40C+ day. There was a fair bit of climbing, particularly climbing I had never done at the time. I stopped to buy a Powerade or whatever at 10, 18, then 24 kms. I ended up feeling extremely ill.


The sports drinks are sold to the public on the idea that we need to compensate the loss of electrolytes with sweat. What they don't tell you is that electrolytes' concentration in sweat is very low leading to a condition completely opposite to what a lot of people think our condition is when we sweat - with the loss of water (which is extracted from blood of course) and small amounts of electrolytes, the concentration of electrolytes in our system goes up, not down. The more electrolyte drinks you consume, and the more you sweat, the higher the electrolyte concentration becomes. You're literally poisoning yourself with those sports drinks and vomiting is the first line of defence to prevent death or a seriously messed up situation.

To hydrate yourself, nothing beats water. That's what we were designed to drink to hydrate ourselves with.

One other, equally sound (in my opinion) reason to stay away from that junk is this. Naturally, we're not supposed to eat a spoon of sodium, a bit of magnesium and chase it up with some calcium and so on. That's not how we get all those things (and others) into our system. We eat food and food is not made up of calcium alone (unless you eat cement), the amount of nutrients in most foods is very complex and that complexity is a good thing because many nutrients complement each other and 'assist' each other in the digestive process. Some nutrients must have another nutrients present to be properly absorbed into the system. With sports drinks and other junk (vitamins etc), not only the ingredients are chemically synthesised (i.e. not natural to start with), they arrive into our system in such a mix that our bodies simply have no idea what to do with them, hence most of it goes into waste (good outcome) or causes trouble if you're stubborn enough to keep poisoning yourself.

With a good, well balanced diet we have more than enough electrolytes in our bodies to cope with not only 60 minute crit or 2hr epic road race with a 75m rise in the middle of it, but far, far more challenging circumstances.
User avatar
Nikolai
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Water intoxication

Postby Meditator » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:16 pm

Nicolai i could have written that (except for the detail about gatorade etc because i didn't know how much salt we sweat). That's exactly what i believe. If they had like buttons on this forum, i would have ticked your post instead of writing this.
Meditator
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:57 pm
Location: North of Cairns

Re: Water intoxication

Postby Oxford » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:32 am

I've had to become very aware of balancing hydration levels recently having started Bikram Yoga. One session is 90 minutes in a room heated to about 40 degrees with between 40~50% humidity. During a session I lose about 4kgs, mostly fluids through sweat. Trying to replace that and then consume the obligatory standard 2 litres of fluids means I am drinking constantly over the day. However I have learned that I only need a small amount of specialist electrolyte fluids, the rest is mainly water and other electrolytes gained through a good diet. When you get it wrong it can be very deceptive and unnerving as happened last Saturday.
Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.
- Lewis Mumford
User avatar
Oxford
 
Posts: 4920
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: Brisbane

Water intoxication

Postby Comedian » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:24 pm

Very interesting :)
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

Image
User avatar
Comedian
 
Posts: 4411
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Water intoxication

Postby petie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:06 am

Unfortunately the spate of deaths a year or two ago was put down to hyponatraemia from overhydration, probably the most high profile cases. But you can poison yourself with anything in excess!

Evrything in moderation is a good rule. I wouldn't go discouraging Powerade/Gatorade everywhere. Sure the electrolyte balance is probably off, but it can have some benefit over plain water in certain situations.

And to the blood dilution comments, it is not that your blood is diluted, it is that the ions needed at a cellular level are not at the required concentrations and so your cells stop working...
petie
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:16 pm


Return to Cycling Health

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Popular Bike Shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ebay Ebay AU

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter

> FREE BNA Stickers
> BNA Cycling Kit