Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as a result of prolonged strenuous exercise leads to poor thermoregulation and impaired muscle performance. Thus, appropriate rehydration during and after exercise with a solution that has a balanced combination of nutrients including electrolytes, carbohydrates and proteins is crucial in preventing the side effects of dehydration. Yogurt drink as a traditional drink with an appropriate nutritious content could be used as an alternative to expensive commercially available drinks for rehydrating athletes after long exercises in warm and humid environments and in developing countries. In this cross-over trial we examined the rehydration potential of yogurt drink in comparison to water and a commercial drink after a strenuous exercise (cycling) session in a hot and humid environment. Blood measurements included blood osmolality, serum glucose, hematocrit and serum electrolytes. Urine measurements included urine volume, osmolality and electrolyte concentrations. The results showed that early after rehydration Yogurt drink compared to water significantly increased urine sodium (mmol/L) (138.8 ± 93.4 vs. 90.0 ± 50.7, P < 0.01), urine potassium (mmol/L) (105.6 ± 55.1 vs. 35.8 ± 22.0, P < 0.05) and urine chloride (mmol/L) (113.2 ± 28.4 vs. 35.8 ± 25.1 P < 0.01). This degree of improvement was the same as with the commercial drink for urine sodium, potassium, and chloride. Yogurt drink prevented dehydration-induced changes in the blood as it stabilized the hematocrit and serum sodium, potassium and osmolality within the normal range after exercise. Finally, our results indicated that yogurt drink, as a natural and affordable rehydration option, can be considered to restore fluid and electrolyte losses after strenuous exercises in hot and humid environments.
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