Workers Who Should Not Use Sports Drinks

Not everyone can handle the ingredients in sports punch. Everyone’s biochemistry and metabolism are different and a one-size-fits all approach; that is, lots of sugar, salt, artificial colors and flavors within fluid and electrolyte replacement could be a recipe for disaster for some workers—especially those with particular medical conditions.

If your workers have been diagnosed with the following medical conditions and/or they are taking the following medications, it might be time to re-evaluate the electrolyte-replacement product you’ve been providing.

  • Diabetes. Workers who are pre-diabetic or who have been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes simply cannot tolerate the high amounts of sugar in sports drinks. Provide a better alternative for these individuals: elete mixed with water is safe for diabetics, won’t increase their blood sugars, and, best of all, will replace the electrolytes they are losing and keep them well hydrated.
  • Hypertension. The high amounts of salt, sodium, in sports drinks may be off limits for workers who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and/or who are taking medications, and/or who are consuming a low-sodium diet to control their blood pressure. Thiazide-type diuretics can deplete potassium, an essential electrolyte, from the body. Doctors often prescribe potassium to offset K depletion caused by these drugs. These diuretics also rob other minerals including magnesium, sodium, potassium, and zinc, which are not commonly found in sports drinks and which many people do not supplement their diet with.
  • Addison’s disease. The adrenal glands produce hormones that govern the body’s balance of sodium, potassium, and water.
  • Hypothyroidism. One of the risks with hypothyroidism—an underactive thyroid gland—is that it could result in a low-blood sodium level. Workers with hypothryoidism need to ensure they consume enough electrolytes with water.
  • Serious Medical Conditions. Workers with certain serious medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, SIADH (Syndrome of Anti-Diuretic Hormone) may cause the body to retain water rather than excrete it. These individuals are advised to be under the strict care of a physician who can oversee all aspects of the person’s diet and health.
  • Diuretics. Diuretics help the body flush or excrete fluids from the body, but it also can flush valuable electrolytes, too.
  • Antibiotics: Some antibiotics including floxacins deplete calcium and iron; tetracyclines deplete calcium and magnesium. Aminoglycosides cause imbalanced magnesium, calcium, and potassium levels. One study found that gentamicin increased calcium excretion by 5% and magnesium by 8.4%.
  • Other Medications: Other medications inducing some antidepressants and pain medications can have a diuretic effect, causing some individuals to urinate and perspire more frequently.
  • Illness: If a worker has been battling the flu and has been experiencing severe and chronic diarrhea and/or vomiting and they report for work when dangerous heat conditions exist, they are at extreme risk for serious heat-related injuries.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use. Sure, we don’t like to think about it, but, as we all know, every employer and good safety manager must take into account each possible risk factor when charged with the health and safety of employees. Heavy alcohol consumption and recreational drug use (such as Ecstasy) can significantly increase a worker’s risk for heat-related injury. Alcohol is diuretic that flushes water and electrolytes from the body. Ecstasy affects the body’s ADH and water levels. Workers who consume alcohol regularly and/or who dabble in drug use may increase their risk factors for dehydration and/or hyponatremia.