What’s The Fastest Way to Rehydrate?
We often get asked how to get hydrated quickly, so here we break it down for you and debunk some of the hydration myths out there.
IV Hydration - the fastest way to hydrate?
Many people assume that the fastest way to rehydrate is intravenously, using an IV bag of saline. This is what ambulances use when someone has lost a lot of fluids, or been found wandering lost in the desert for months. It’s what hospitals use, it’s what field hospitals use, so it must be the fastest way to rehydrate, right?
Well, technically, yes. In studies IV rehydration has been shown to be the fastest, when you start the different treatments at the same time. This is because the fluids go straight into the bloodstream where they can then get to your cells as needed. But there are two important caveats:
- Most of us do not have access to the necessary gear to rehydrate intravenously
- Most of us are not qualified to set up IV hydration
Because of these issues, IV hydration is arguably a lot slower for most lifestyle use cases. For example, if you’re trying to rehydrate fast after a long night of drinking alcohol (which does dehydrate you — learn more here), you might call one of these IV businesses, where they send a doctor or nurse to hook you up to a drip. That’s likely 45 minutes at a minimum until you can even start getting hydrated, and then you have to wait for the IV drip to actually flow into your body, which is usually another ~30 minutes.
Thus, IV hydration is not the fastest way to rehydrate at home.
Instead, we recommend using an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) like Hydrant for instant hydration. Let’s break it down:
Back in the 70s, doctors in the developing world were dealing with thousands of people suffering from dehydration caused by diseases like cholera and dysentery. They didn’t have enough IV drips or medical staff to rehydrate everyone that way, so they set out to find another solution.
In 1978, they discovered what we now call Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS): Water, sugar, and salt in the right combinations could effectively rehydrate even the most dehydrated patients. As long as the patients weren’t also vomiting, the health outcomes of people rehydrating using ORS vs intravenously were the SAME!
Are you well hydrated?
Are you concerned about your own hydration levels? Take the quiz below to find the best Hydrant for your hydration routine.
How fast is rehydrating with ORS?
Only as long as it takes you to mix the powder in water and drink it down! And because that liquid needs to travel to your gut and be absorbed, you’ll usually have another 20-30 minutes before the hydration kicks in.
Compare that to waiting for a doctor/nurse to show up, and then having to sit there hooked up to a needle for 30 minutes (plus the high costs of healthcare). We know which one we prefer.
If you’re using Hydrant to rehydrate after drinking alcohol, we recommend drinking 2 packets mixed according to the instructions before bed. That way your body can already be hydrated by the time you wake up, so you wake up feeling fresh.
Then you can smugly walk past any of those friends who wanted to spend 50-100x the money on an IV. And hey, if you want to be sure you’re totally hydrated, drink another pack or two in the morning!
Conclusion: the fastest way to rehydrate at home is ORS
If a doctor tells you that you need an IV, obviously you should rehydrate that way. Same if you’re at a hospital. But outside of those scenarios, it’s a waste of your time and money when ORS has been shown to be just as effective.
Oral Rehydration Solutions contain electrolyte levels (sodium, potassium and magnesium) that mimic your body’s natural electrolyte makeup to replenish them faster and more efficiently.
Other stories about hydration
If you want to read more about what (de)hydration does to the human body, click here.