Do Buzzy Hydration Multipliers Do What They Claim?

Dehydration is nothing to mess around with. Failure to drink enough water on a daily basis can result in serious illness, with symptoms like fatigue, confusion, dizziness, and more. Even scarier, people die all the time from dehydration, especially among the older population. So, it's not surprising that consumers are flocking to the stores to buy hydration multipliers, a fairly new entry into the hydration product market designed specifically to keep people from getting dehydrated. Simply put, when people are freaked out they look for a purchase to fix the problem.


But not all products do as they say they will. This leads some skeptical consumers to wonder a little harder about hydration multipliers. Are they effective at preventing dehydration? Are they actually dangerous? Are they a waste of money completely? Nobody wants to be on the losing end of a gimmick, especially if the consequence is something potentially dangerous.

Why people are interested in hydration multipliers

The whole problem with dehydration is that the body relies on water to function. In fact, 60% of a person's body weight is made up of water, per the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Water is necessary to keep the body at a normal temperature, pass waste products (sweat, fecal matter, urine), lubricate joints, and so on, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When there's not enough H2O to go around, everything gets thrown out of whack, causing a lot of pretty dangerous symptoms.


While water is of the utmost importance, a dehydrated state also means that electrolytes are in short supply. Electrolytes are critical minerals (calcium, phosphate, potassium, sodium, chloride, and magnesium), and if there isn't a good balance this can cause a whole host of problems, including inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and more, according to Texas Health. All of that put together is no bueno. Fortunately, hydration multipliers do seem to be effective and safe at reversing dehydration, but with some caveats.

This is how hydration multipliers work

Hydration multiplier products, like Vitalyte and Liquid I.V., are gaining traction in the retail space. Unlike their predecessors (traditional sports drinks like Gatorade), hydration multipliers are generally little packets filled with a powder that is then added to water. These powders contain critical electrolytes, as well as some other components, like vitamins, Texas Health explains. When mixed together, the sodium and glucose work in tandem with the water to get things back to normal in the body, much faster than if you'd only had one water bottle. 


Hydration multipliers don't just blend into the water. In fact, they come in different flavors, which a person may or may not like. As each packet tends to cost at least a dollar, this can be a tough expense to swallow if it's not exactly a pleasant-tasting experience. Groceries are expensive enough right now, so there's no sense in throwing away money on something you don't like!

Here's why athletes take hydration multipliers

The general rule of thumb is that the average person should drink eight to 10 glasses of water every day. Of course, some water intake comes from milk, and certain foods that contain water. Athletes, however, are strongly encouraged to far surpass that goal on days that they engage in their chosen sport because they obviously churn through more water than the average Joe. According to USADA, when an athlete is dehydrated, muscles don't get the oxygen they need and the heart can pump as much blood as usual. This can lead to muscle cramps, performance issues, and much worse. 


To that end, USADA says that an athlete should consume at least seven to 12 ounces of water or other cold fluid (not soda) between 15 and 30 minutes prior to physical activity. For extra-long workouts/games/matches, add carbohydrates into the mix. Then, drink four to eight additional ounces of water/fluid every 15 minutes during exercise to replenish lost fluids. Since athletes burn through water at such an intense rate, they are ideally suited to try hydration multipliers. The American College of Sports Medicine adds that people who either work or exercise in a hot climate for more than an hour should turn to some type of electrolyte replacement to prevent dehydration.

Other people who might want to give hydration multipliers a go

Although elite athletes probably need hydration multipliers more regularly than laypeople, there are some cases in which the product might be what the doctor ordered. For example, people who've suffered from diarrhea and/or vomiting due to illness are likely to be dehydrated, and hydration multipliers can get them back on track more quickly than regular water. Don't give one to a child without first consulting their physician, however. There are pediatric hydration drinks that are the ideal dose and formulation for growing bodies.


Other people who could benefit from the occasional use of hydration multipliers are those who have been out in the heat for an extended period, especially if they're in a humid climate. People who aren't elite athletes, but do engage in intense workout routines, can also consume a hydration multiplier on occasions when the workout is especially sweaty. Then, there are people with hangovers. Excessive alcohol intake definitely affects electrolyte balance, so a hydration multiplier can take the edge off of a hangover. 

People who should NOT use hydration multipliers

The vast majority of people don't really need a hydration multiplier to stay healthy. In fact, plain old water and a balanced diet should keep the average person in check. People who should avoid hydration multipliers include diabetics because there's a significant amount of sugar in each package, per TN Health. There is also some risk to people who have high blood pressure, thanks to the significant sodium content. Too much calcium could also contribute to kidney stones, so anyone who has recurring trouble with those should steer clear.


Also, it turns out it is possible to have too much of a good thing where electrolytes are concerned. According to Piedmont Health, the signs that a person has too many electrolytes are similar to the symptoms that they don't have enough. This includes cramps, mental confusion, dizziness, and even an irregular heartbeat. Overhydration isn't nearly as common as dehydration, though, but it should be considered in any case, especially when an athlete has been pounding hydration multipliers.

How to know if you need a hydration multiplier

Again, intense exercise for more than an hour in the heat is a good reason to take a hydration multiplier. Other than that, the color of your urine will tell you a lot about how hydrated you are. Any urine that is dark in color is a massive signal of dehydration. Instead, pee should be clear and light yellow in color. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's normal for a person to pee six or seven times per day.


Anytime you think you might be dehydrated (or teetering on the edge) avoid beverages that make it worse, like soda, alcohol, juices, and energy drinks. Of course, if any hydration multiplier results in bad side effects, like nausea or diarrhea, discontinue use immediately and try another brand or forego them altogether. Although most people won't experience extreme side effects, it's always possible to have an adverse reaction.