If the body loses more fluid than it takes in, this can lead to dehydration. In cases of dehydration very little sodium is reabsorbed causing low levels of sodium in the body. The intestines have on their surface a “sodium-glucose cotransporter,” a protein that absorbs salt much better in the presence of glucose. O.H.S soluble tablets provide the correct mix of glucose, electrolytes and salts and thus help the absorption of sodium. During this sodium absorption stage, water molecules are also absorbed helping the body to rehydrate.
Additionally, O.H.S is osmotically similar in composition to your blood; therefore, when the prepared solution passes into your bloodstream, it stays there for longer.
This should help you understand why sports drinks where the balance of sugar to salt is favoring sugar are not ideal to treat dehydration or maintain an optimum fluid balance. Because when you drink a sports drink, you may absorb some salt, but you also drink a large quantity of another osmotically-active substance, sugar, which is unabsorbable in the absence of extra salt. This leads to more fluid into your intestines, worsening your dehydration.
The obvious response to dehydration has been giving the person water to drink, however this does not always work because the liquid is rushed through the digestive tract too quickly to be absorbed by the body tissues. By adding glucose to water and salt in the right proportions such as O.H.S soluble tablets, enables better absorption of salts and water, helping you rehydrate and maintain an optimum fluid balance.
The British medical journal The Lancet has described Oral Rehydration Salts as “potentially the most important medical advance of this century”
1. “Water with sugar and salt”. Lancet 2, August 5, 1978, pp. 300–301. “The discovery that sodium transport and glucose transport are coupled in the small intestine, so that glucose accelerates absorption of solute and water, was potentially the most important medical advance this century.”
2. UNICEF: Oral Rehydration Therapy- The Medical Advance of the Century