Loughborough University
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Fluid and electrolyte balance during dietary restriction

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posted on 2012-07-26, 15:28 authored by Lewis J. James
It is known that during fluid restriction, obligatory water losses continue and hypohydration develops and that restricted energy intake leads to a concomitant restriction of all other dietary components, as well as hypohydration, but the specific effects of periods of fluid and/ or energy restriction on fluid balance, electrolyte balance and exercise performance have not been systematically described in the scientific literature. There were two main aims of this thesis. Firstly, to describe the effects of periods of severe fluid and/ or energy restriction on fluid and electrolyte balance; secondly, to determine the effect of electrolyte supplementation during and after energy restriction on fluid and electrolyte balance as well as energy exercise performance. The severe restriction of fluid and/ or energy intake over a 24 h period all resulted in body mass loss (BML) and hypohydration, but whilst serum osmolality increases during fluid restriction (hypertonic hypohydration), serum osmolality does not change during energy restriction (isotonic hypohydration), despite similar reductions in plasma volume (Chapter 3). These differences in the tonicity of the hypohydration developed are most likely explainable by differences in electrolyte balance, with fluid restriction resulting in no change in electrolyte balance over 24 h (Chapter 3) and energy restriction (with or without fluid restriction) producing significant reductions in electrolyte balance by 24 h (Chapter 3; Chapter 4; Chapter 5; Chapter 6; Chapter 7). Twenty four hour combined fluid and energy restriction results in large negative balances of both sodium and potassium, and whilst the addition of sodium chloride to a rehydration solution ingested after fluid and energy restriction increases drink retention, the addition of potassium chloride to a rehydration solution does not (Chapter 4). Supplementation of sodium chloride and potassium chloride during periods of severe energy restriction reduces the BML observed during energy restriction and maintains plasma volume at pre-energy restriction levels (Chapter 5; Chapter 6; Chapter 7). iv These responses to electrolyte supplementation during energy restriction appear to be related to better maintenance of serum osmolality and electrolyte concentrations and a consequential reduction in urine output (Chapter 5; Chapter 6; Chapter 7). Additionally, 48 h energy restriction resulted in a reduction in exercise capacity in a hot environment and an increase in heart rate and core temperature during exercise, compared to a control trial providing adequate energy intake. Whilst electrolyte supplementation during the same 48 h period of energy restriction prevented these increases in heart rate and core temperature and exercise capacity was not different from the control trial Chapter 8). In conclusion, 24-48 h energy restriction results in large losses of sodium, potassium and chloride in urine and a large reduction in body mass and plasma volume and supplementation of these electrolytes during energy restriction reduces urine output, attenuates the reduction in body mass and maintains plasma volume and exercise capacity.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Lewis J James

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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