I’ve been asked numerous times if hydration products can cure or prevent the spread of the Coronavirus [COVID-19]. Ironically, I was texting my wife about CDC’s recommendations for prevention and while typing my phone auto-corrected “Coronavirus” to “Corona circus”. While many of us say all this news and confusion surrounding best practice feels like one, I can assure you, it is no joke.
To be clear: No, Sword Performance products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.
However, good hydration is a key component to supporting your body’s immune system, which is our best defense against illness. Proper hydration plays a critical role for nearly every process in the body; afterall, the human body is composed of 60%-70% water. They don't call a lake a “body of water” for nothing, eh? #sciencehumor.
So, how does hydration support the immune system?
Our immune system relies on our blood stream (which is about 90% water) to transport fluids, nutrients, and important communication signals to organs, so they can better do their job. Without proper hydration, our blood volume goes down, and reduced blood volume means that these transportations don’t work efficiently.
Our immune system and its reliance on fluid transport is no different.
- In a well-hydrated state, our immune system is supported by the Lymphatic system (drainage and sewage system) which removes toxins, waste and unwanted materials.
- In a dehydrated state, the Lymphatic system does not work as efficiently due to a reduction in lymph and the immune response to an invader is slowed.
- Lymph is a clear and colorless fluid; the word "lymph" comes from the Latin word lympha, which means "connected to water," according to the National Lymphedema Network. The Lymphatic system also transports infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body. Less water equals less lymph production and an even slower exit to its unwelcomed inhabitants.
OK, so staying hydrated is important! What else can I do to boost my immune system?
A great way to boost our immune response is with a bit of exercise. Yes, during exercise we sweat as a cooling mechanism. This uses water from our blood volume which could be used to create more lymph, but the other benefits from exercise are what sets it apart. Physical activity can help move microbes out of our lungs and airways - thus reducing your chance of getting a cold, the flu, or other illnesses. Exercise also causes changes in antibody production and boosts white blood cell production - the body’s resident immune system cells that fight disease. With exercise though comes a brief rise in body temperature [a response shown to help prevent bacteria from temporarily growing and therefore may help the body fight infection better], but more importantly the release of sweat.
During exercise, should I just drink water?
When we sweat from moderate exercise (or from a fever), we lose water and electrolytes - 90% of the electrolytes lost is salt [NaCl]. Sodium sweat concentration varies by individual and can range from 500 mg to 1500mg of sodium per liter of sweat. Sweat is significantly less salty than blood, which has a concentration of approximately 3500 mg of sodium per liter.
So, as we sweat the concentration of sodium in the blood rises, and it is this increase in blood sodium concentration that triggers thirst. A good general rule to follow: When thirsty, drinking to thirst with a drink that has a similar sodium concentration as sweat will keep you in both sodium and water balance, also known as being well-hydrated.
Pro Tip: Our SWORD® Performance Hydration Drink Mix contains a sodium concentration that is similar to sweat (780 mg of sodium per liter). But, since sodium concentration and preference can vary between individuals, if you are drinking to thirst and water just isn’t cutting it, try appeasing those tastebuds with our SHIELD® Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mix, with just 115 mg of sodium per 16.9 fl oz. serving.
While drinking SWORD® and/or SHIELD® is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, they can help keep us hydrated so our bodies can better fight off whatever virus might be brewing.
Stay hydrated, my friends, and practice good hygiene. #SHIELDUP #drinkSWORD
Dr. Shawn Stasko, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Sword Performance
Additional resources on COVID-19
CDC Stance on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
FDA Stance on Treatments for COVID-19