The ocean. Probably not where your mind goes when thinking of an infinitely renewable drinking water source. The ocean contains salt water, which isn’t suitable for drinking, right?
As it turns out, there’s a unique kind of ocean water that is ideal for drinking: deep ocean water. Desalinated deep ocean mineral water is naturally pure, and a robust source of naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes, which are essential for our bodies’ everyday functions, especially when it comes to hydration.
You may already know there is a direct correlation between hydration status and exercise performance. As you become more dehydrated, your performance declines, including decreased endurance, and muscle tightening and cramping. Now imagine adding heat stress into your exercise routine. Heat stress, coupled with exercise-induced dehydration, aggravates performance decline.
A recent human hydration study conducted at the University of Arizona, in which my colleagues and I evaluated the impact of post-exercise hydration on student athletes, revealed that desalinated deep ocean mineral water not only rehydrated participants twice as fast compared to a carbohydrate-based sports drink or mountain spring water, but also significantly improved recovery of lower body muscle performance. Even though the carbohydrate-based drink contains a larger amount of minerals and electrolytes, we attribute deep ocean water’s greater impact on rehydration and muscle recovery to its unique blend of these materials, not their quantity.
To measure the impact of each liquid’s rehydrating properties, we asked well-hydrated student athletes to exercise on a stationary bike surrounded by heat lamps until they lost 3% of their starting body weight due to dehydration (that’s a 3-5 lb. water weight loss for a 150 lb. person). This typically took about an hour for men, and slightly longer for women, to achieve. The participants then received desalinated deep ocean water, mountain spring water or a carbohydrate-based sports drink for rehydration. We tested their salivary osmolality, a biomarker measuring the rate of rehydration through saliva, as well as the performance of their lower body muscles.
Although many studies have tested the ability of sports drinks to help exercise performance and recovery, our study was the first to compare deep ocean water’s potential for rehydration after exercise against other fluids. We felt it was critical put participants into a controlled environment, and empirically measure hydration status and exercise performance.
The deep ocean water used in our study comes from the Global Conveyor Belt, a deep ocean current comprised of melted glacial water that travels the depths of the world’s ocean, collecting a natural balance, and specific blend, of minerals and electrolytes not found in any other hydrating beverage. This particular blend is unique because of where the water is sourced, 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface off the coast of Kona, HI.
More studies are on the horizon to explore deep ocean water and its properties on rehydration, mental capacity and beyond.
This study was supported by an Independent Science Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Dr. John P. Konhilas. The deep ocean water used in the study was Kona Deep, the first of the new category of deep ocean water now available for consumption in the continental US.
Author: Dr. John P. Konhilas, PhD., Associate Professor of Physiology at the University of Arizona.
This study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.