written by Olivia Crozier
Similar to the way that each person’s sweat rate differs from one another, electrolyte loss rates differ greatly from person to person and even from one workout to the next. When a person sweats, they’re losing both water and electrolytes, both of which need to be properly replaced in order to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration. Electrolytes are made up of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride; they transport important chemical compounds in and out of cells to allow muscle contraction which is especially important during exercise. When electrolytes are not properly replenished it causes an imbalance in the body which can lead to cramping, cognitive dysfunction, and in some severe cases, hyponatremia, which is a potentially life threatening condition caused by dangerously low sodium levels in the body.
The Nix Hydration Biosensor uses two electrode pairs inside the Sweat Patch to capture a user’s sweat rate along with the osmolality, or concentration, of the individual’s sweat. In order to capture beyond the osmolality of a user's sweat, a new sensing mechanism would be required to differentiate each of the electrolyte components. While the biosensor is not currently sensing the electrolytes individually (i.e., sodium, potassium, chloride, etc.), the Nix team references a research study conducted by Lindsay B Baker, PhD of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute to calculate the average breakdown of those electrolytes.
The research conducted by Baker suggests that the average electrolyte breakout is 47.4% sodium, 47.4% chloride, and 4.7% potassium. There are also nominal amounts of calcium and magnesium.
While each individual is different, Nix users can reference the above breakout and apply the average percentages to the total electrolyte losses sensed through the Hydration Biosensor and recorded in the Nix app. Having this knowledge will allow for athletes to select the electrolyte beverage that matches best with their individual needs.