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HYDRATION PROBLEM IN ELITE ATHLETES

V. A. KURASHVILI NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CENTER OF PHYSICAL CULTURE AND SPORT (ALL-RUSSIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF PHYSICAL CULTURE), MOSCOW, RUSSIA

Objective: Optimal hydration in athletes remains an important problem of sports medicine. The purpose of the study was to analyse scientific publications and generalize research results, identifying some patterns, sources of disagreement and other interesting relationships that may come to light in the context of multiple studies.
Materials and Methods: Several techniques have been used to measure and monitor hydration: extracellular water estimation, body composition analyses, bioimpedance spectrometry, deuterium dilution.
Results: The majority of the athletes was hypohydrated throughout the day and dehydrated even more during practice despite fluid availability. It was shown that a body water deficit of greater than 2% of body weight marks the level of dehydration that can adversely affect performance. Total body water is best measured by isotope techniques. Plasma osmolality is a reliable indication of hydration status.
Conclusions: With these considerations in mind, we can conclude that athletes should properly fuel their bodies before, during and after exercise to maximize athletic performance. Emphasis should be placed on hydration status being maintained above deficits that negatively affect sport performance. Timing of nutrient intake is as important as composition. These results agree with several field studies that have found significant relationships between body mass loss and endurance performance, such that athletes who lose the most weight during an endurance competition are often those who perform the best.
Keywords: 
hydration; elite athletes; review; evidence-based medicine; hypohydration; dehydration.