I am frequently asked, particularly by visitors from the great North land, about hydration – this is a vital concern in tropical Mexico. Every pharmacy here in La Paz distributes free of charge “suero”, which is the standard W.H.O. recipe of 6 teaspoons sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Added to 1 lt water you will get an Isotonic drink – sports drink designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise. As the primary fuel utilized by exercising muscle, carbohydrates are important in maintaining exercise and sport performance. This mixture was adopted by W.H.O. because it works and the ingredients are available nearly everywhere, NOT because it is necessarily the best. If I had to choose one for freedivers, it would definitely be the juice of GREEN COCONUTS (not the brown nuts from the local super market), but unfortunately they are also not availably everywhere.

We do not recommend for our athletes the standard mixture, largely because of the sugar and also the things it doesn’t have. Before the dive we give to our Elite athletes limes and water. If limes are not available lemon is the next best choice ,and here are the reasons:

LIME WATER MAKES THE SYSTEM ALKALINE – This increases your resistance to lactic acid / CO2 (carbonic acid). Lactic Acid can be the limiting factor in very deep dives. The lemon has an alkaline effect in the human body, despite the high acid content, once it has been sufficiently digested in the stomach it tends to alkalinize.

Some years ago elite freedivers experimented with taking sodium bicarbonate to achieve the same results, however to be effective the amounts you had to swallow very often produced diarrhea! Lime juice doesn’t do this.

LIME JUICE IS A SUPERB ANTI OXIDANT. Blood shift (ischemia and reperfusion) produces a very large quantity of R.O.S Free Radicals, this causes a feeling of exhaustion. The bodies natural defense is one of the most powerful anti oxidants known NO (nitric oxide), but the body has limited reserves and the additional anti oxidant from the lime juice helps to support this.

Also lime juice delays the passage of liquid through the kidneys and therefore the body absorbs it better.

So we prefer plain lime juice and water immediately prior to the training and during it and a rehydration drink twice a day.

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