The Best Electrolyte Drink During a Flare

When you are in a flare, or just experience chronic diarrhea, you are losing life sustaining electrolytes at alarming rate. That is why doctors offer commercial electrolyte drinks, such as Gatorade for adults or Pedialyte for children, to prevent dehydration and life–threatening electrolyte dis-balance. On the surface, it sounds good and should resolve the problem. Right?

Well, may be for some, but NOT for people with IBD (Colitis and Crohn’s)
So, what is a problem? Actually, the problem is 2-fold:

#1 Harmful ingredients:

Excessive amount of refined sugars (mostly GMO) added in the form of dextrose and sucrose syrup, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and preservatives (citric acid, mostly GMO derived) . All these ingredients are known to irritate sensitive gut. Do you need more irritation during your flare? I don’t think so.

See for yourself the list of ingredients for Gatorade and Pedialyte.
Gatorade Ingredients: Water, Sucrose Syrup, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Grape Flavor, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Monopotassium Phosphate, Red 40, Blue 1.
Pedialyte Ingredients: Water, Dextrose. Less than 2% of: Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Gluconate, Red 40, and Blue 1.

#2 Not Enough Electrolytes

People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease need much more electrolytes than average person simply because they lose more. Commercial electrolyte drinks simply don’t have enough electrolytes to satisfy increased needs of IBD patients during a flare. This conclusion has been confirmed by researchers from University of Michigan IBD Team. (1)

But there is a solution! I present to you Galina’s Electrolyte Drink. Its full of life supporting minerals, free of harmful additives and super affordable.

Galina’s Electrolyte Drink was created out of necessity.

Many years ago, during my flares, I tried drinking both Gatorade and Pedialyte. However, I’ve noticed that I feel worse after drinking them. Then, I took my time to study the reasons why. Just short analysis of the ingredients revealed the problem. It became clear to me that commercial electrolyte/sport drinks have way too much sugar and chemicals that increased my gut inflammation.

So, I had a problem on my hands. The desperate need for electrolyte supplementation did not go away with my realization, but rather made my problem more difficult.

I could not find any commercial electrolyte replacement drink with enough electrolytes and without added refined sugar, chemicals and preservatives. So, I had to create my own. That’s how Galina’s Electrolyte Drink was born.

This healing re-hydration drink is easy to make. It takes less than 5 minutes, and has only 6 ingredients you might already have at home.

Here is the recipe.

Galina’s Electrolyte Drink
Ingredients:
1 liter of water (about 32 ounces or 4 cups)
½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (sodium chloride)
½ teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Juice of 1 organic lemon (has potassium and folate)
1 teaspoon of Organic Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
1/4 teaspoon of KCl (potassium chloride)

How to Make:
1. Heat ½ cup of pure water in a pot until hot.
2. Add salt, baking soda and molasses; stir well until fully dissolved.
3. Add 3.5 cups of water to the mixture of salt, baking soda and molasses. Then add lemon juice. Mix well. Drink at room temperature 1 cup every 1-2 hours during diarrhea.
4. Store in Mason jars or glass bottles.

The amount of sodium chloride and potassium chloride in this drink was modeled after oral rehydration solution used by World Health Organization to replace lost electrolytes in people with infectous diarrheal diseases. (2)

I used molasses in this drink because natural cane sugar in molasses increases the absorption of sodium and potassium in this drink. Also, molasses have lower glycemic load than sugar (65 for sugar; 55 for molasses), and unlike refined, white table sugar, molasses contain high levels of easy to absorb iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B6, which are much needed for IBD patients during their flare.

What are electrolytes and why we need them “An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in water. Electrolytes carry a charge and are essential for life. All higher forms of life need electrolytes to survive.
In our bodies, electrolytes include sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), bicarbonate (HCO3-), magnesium (Mg2+), chloride (C1-), and hydrogen phosphate (HPO42-).”
Sodium: when you combine sodium with chloride you get salt. With chronic diarrhea during colitis and Crohn’s flare, you can experience hyponatremia (low blood sodium) that can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting.
Potassium is vital for normal function of nerve and muscle cells. Running to the bathroom multiple times a day can trigger hypokalemia (low blood potassium). Symptoms of hypokalemia: heart palpitations, muscle spasms or damage and numbness. If you have severe hypokalemia you must be hospitalized and given potassium intravenously.
Bicarbonate What is bicarbonate or baking soda? It is a combination of sodium ions (Na) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3). It’s formula is NaHCO3, and it’s sold as white fine powder. Bicarbonate is the base that neutralizes acids in the blood. Severe diarrhea can cause metabolic acidosis, which is acid-base disorder and when untreated can be life threatening. That is why we should add some pure baking soda to our electrolyte drink because soda is a highly alkaline compound.

Reference # 1: University of Michigan IBD Team Facebook post. Trying to rehydrate with Gatorade? January 18, 2016. 

Reference #2: http://www.rehydrate.org/ors/expert-consultation.html


2 Responses to “The Best Electrolyte Drink During a Flare”

  1. I have IBSC with occasional Loose stools if I have taken something to stop the constipation. I’ve been drinking Coconut Water which seems to work.

  2. Good for you, Barb! Fresh coconut water is nature’s perfect electrolyte drink. It’s an excellent choice for IBSC; however, for IBD patients with diarrhea at the time of the flare it’s not appropriate because it has way too much sugar, about 12 grams per cup (200 ml). This amount of sugar can trigger more diarrhea during IBD flare.

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