Dehydration and Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramping can occur following exercise where proper hydration has not been maintained. Let's look first at dehydration.


Dehydration can lead to a serious decline in physical and motor skills. You just have to lose 2% or more of your body weight, which is easy to do if you don't drink under conditions of heat or physical exercise.  This level of water loss is easily achieved by athletes undertaking training or competition. For example:

  • A 75kg athlete would only need to lose 1.5L fluid to reach a significant level of dehydration.
  • Given that athletes can lose 0.5-2L  of fluid per hour, this could take just 45 min for those people with high sweating rates.

This level of dehydration can impair physical performance and motor skills, which are critical for maintaining performance capacity during exercise.

This would be highly relevant for athletes in a wide range of sports including tennis, cricket, and soccer as well as all endurance sports.

Muscle cramping

Muscle cramping can occur during or after exercise. Careful scientific evaluation of how muscle cramping occurs revealed a surprising phenomenon: as your body loses water, the volume of your blood plasma also decreases so that it can maintain constant concentrations of ions and metabolites in circulation. It was found that :

  • Taking water alone after exercise for rehydration caused a dilution of electrolytes in the plasma, resulting in increased susceptibility to muscle cramping.
  • Ingestion of a solution containing electrolytes made the muscles immune to cramp. Recent evidence has linked amino acid losses with electrolyte losses in sweat.


  • Dehydration resulting in a loss of fluid equivalent to 2% of your body weight can occur relatively quickly when hydration is not maintained.
    • Leads to declines in physical performance and motor skills.
  • Muscle cramping occurs as a result of dehydration.
    • Replenishment with water will increase susceptibility to cramping.
  • Replenishment with water plus electrolytes will diminish susceptibility to cramping.
  • Addition of HDAA + electrolytes + water will
    • Diminish susceptibility to cramping
    • Help minimise losses of sodium and chloride
    • Reduce the breakdown of muscle proteins.

Provision of the fluid + electrolytes + HDAA via ElectrAAte® would serve to restore hydration during and after exercise.

By maintaining or restoring hydration, ElectrAAte would

  • Help maximise the capacity for optimum physical and cognitive performance,
  • Minimize the susceptibility to muscle cramps and muscle damage,
  • Assist in the recovery from exercise by helping to maintain muscle mass and reducing the requirement to rebuild muscle proteins from the catabolic support processes.


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Lau WY, Kato H, Nosaka K. Water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to cramp but electrolytes reverse that effect [published correction appears in BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2019 Apr 11;5(1):e000478corr1]. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2019;5(1):e000478. Published 2019 Mar 5. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000478