Lisa Röthlingshöfer, Mark Ulbrich, Sebastian Hahne and Steffen Leonhardt
Athletes need a balanced body composition in order to achieve maximum performance. Especially dehydration reduces power and endurance during physical exercise. Monitoring the body composition, with a focus on body fluid, may help to avoid reduction in performance and other health problems. For this, a potential measurement method is bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS). BIS is a simple, non-invasive measurement method that allows to determine different body compartments (body fluid, fat, fat-free mass). However, because many physiological changes occur during physical exercise that can influence impedance measurements and distort results, it cannot be assumed that the BIS data are related to body fluid loss alone. To confirm that BIS can detect body fluid loss due to physical exercise, finite element (FE) simulations were done. Besides impedance, also the current density contribution during a BIS measurement was modeled to evaluate the influence of certain tissues on BIS measurements. Simulations were done using CST EM Studio (Computer Simulation Technology, Germany) and the Visible Human Data Set (National Library of Medicine, USA). In addition to the simulations, BIS measurements were also made on athletes. Comparison between the measured bioimpedance data and simulation data, as well as body weight loss during sport, indicates that BIS measurements are sensitive enough to monitor body fluid loss during physical exercise.