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Q & A: electrolyte water

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Most recent answer: 04/01/2015
Q:
My stomach is frequently upset and I read that drinking electrolyte enhanced purified water will help. I've been doing that for about a year and I think it helps or is it the placebo effect? I was buying a brand that is listed as -purified deionized water, potassium bicarbonate, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride.I found a less expensive water at a different story and it's listed as purified water with potassium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate and magnesium sulfate. Is there much difference is the formulas as to the end result or am I just wasting my money? thank you.
- Kathy (age 35)
Jacksonville FL
A:

We're not real doctors here, so this is partly over our heads. I do know that bicarbonate and carbonate will buffer strong acids, so that it's been traditional to take sodium bicarbonate for an acid upset stomach. Potassium bicarbonate would have the advantage of not raising blood pressure. You might check with a real doc as to whether there are any long-term risks from regular use of antacids. (You could start here first:  or .)

My guess is that you can probably get all these ingredients much cheaper as bulk food-grade powders and mix them up to the same concentrations used in the expensive premixed drinks. (Be careful here!) But maybe that only makes sense for long-term use if your doc approves.

As for how much of the good effect is via the placebo mechanism, we have no idea. If it's cheap and harmless, maybe it doesn't matter.

Mike W.


(published on 04/01/2015)

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