The science of hydration has been studied thoroughly over the past several decades and the performance drink market has changed drastically with evolving data. Originally, drink mixes were mainly sugar and sodium mixed at much too high of concentrations to be properly utilized. Muscular performance and gastric utilization of liquids depend highly on caloric content and balanced electrolyte formulas. The folks over at Pinnacle Nutrition Group or PNG sent us over a sample of their new electrolyte hydration drink mix, which claims to combine essential electrolytes with low levels of sugar to produce a superior hydration drink mix and longer performance. We took it out with us during one of the hottest summers we’ve seen to see how it performed.
The PNG Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mix Lab
Absorption of the stomach’s contents depends on how fast liquid and its contents can get to the small intestine to be absorbed. The more calorie dense a liquid, the slower it will be ejected from the stomach, this is called the gastric dumping period. Traditional hydration drinks and mixes are far too calorie dense, usually in the form of glucose, to be readily dumped from the stomach and can delay gastric emptying times. Along with that, vital electrolytes like magnesium and potassium are often overlooked by many sport drink companies.
Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium drive every function within your cells, they build the electric gradients required for all living cells to function. When we deplete those electrolytes through sweating and work, to sub-optimal levels, cellular messaging, muscular function, and water balance are all affected. Recent studies have also shown some benefit in regular iron supplementation to reduce muscle fatigue in aerobic exercise.
PNG comes the to the table with a full complement of balanced electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium along with iron, and several B vitamins. They also focus on having low levels of sugar with only 2G added. While osmolarity is not listed, it appears that the balance should be around 300 mOsm/L if 1 scoop is mixed with 500ml of water. Which is ideal for both rapid absorption of water across the small intestine along with fast gastric dumping.
PNG has also taken the extra steps to ensure they have a gluten free, vegan, and keto friendly drink that is suitable for all ages. While some of their marketing claims may be a bit exaggerated, they appear to be headed in the right direction as far as balanced hydration mix, and who can blame them. They’re literally drinking their own kool-aid! Alright, jokes aside, let’s see how PNG’s electrolyte drink mix works.
The Dirt on PNG Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mix
Flavor is one of the most important factors in drink mixes for me. The last thing I want to do is get a big gulp of intensely flavored or overly sweet water when I am thirsty. Luckily, PNG has toned their flavors way down, making it easy to chug when you’re really thirsty. The flavors are definitely noticeable but very light and only slightly sweet. We especially liked the watermelon cucumber as it left no noticeable aftertaste and we could drink it as easily as water.
Without a good amount of potassium and magnesium, I typically get post workout headaches and can usually tell when I have not properly hydrated. When I was using PNG, I never had any headaches or cramping. The extra B vitamins were a nice boost of energy as well without a caffeine buzz that many hydration mixes have. I went for one bottle of hydration drink mix for every bottle of regular water and felt that I could maintain a very solid effort throughout the day, even in 90F+ temperatures. Without a doubt our whole team noticed better hydration and energy levels when we were on rides with this mix.
If you are not using some kind of hydration mix, you probably aren’t performing to your highest potential. You might not need it on every ride, but when you do, try out PNG electrolyte hydration mix. We were stoked on the electrolyte balance, low caloric load, and all the flavors were great. We often neglect mixing anything into our waters during rides as the overpowering sweetness and taste make us think it’s “too much” for shorter rides, but PNG’s mellower flavor had us reaching for the powder more often and because of that we had better rides and recovery.
Price: $39.99 – 30 serving tub, $24.99 – 16 pouches