I just got done reading an interesting article published by Defense Review. The piece discusses the ORAL I.V. Crystalloid Electrolyte Rapid Rehydration Fluid (CERRF). I know its publisher personally and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would not intentionally mislead a reader – he is an honest and committed individual, and all-round super dude. However, there are subjects that one needs to approach cautiously and his discussion of CERF is just that.
The human cell, any type of cell, whether differentiated or not is a eukaryote. This means that it consists of a nucleus (the brains of the operation), organelles (the infrastructure – or what does the work) and a phospholipid bilayer that we call the cell membrane ( its like the wire that you put around your outpost).
The cell membrane is said to be semi permeable and highly selective – like that wire it only lets in what it wants to let in. In biochemistry, molecules have specific geometries (and electrical charges); if the cellular membrane runs across a molecule that has the right shape and charge, it allows it to pass through the membrane. This is passive transport.
The cell also uses an active transport system. Active transport requires a difference in electrical potential between the inside of the cell and its cellular milieu (the outside). It also requires an electric current along the cell membrane, which is supplied by the release of an electron during the pathways associated with the phosphorylation of adenosine diphosphate to adenosine triphosphate. In biochemistry, we term those processes “pathways” and generating that single electron requires 120 pathways or processes. The sole purpose for those pathways, is the release of one electron to power the active transport process. This is how the cell eliminates waste and intakes nutrients (using passive selective semi-permeability and active transport).
The precise chemistry involved in normal cell function is complex and what follows is by necessity an oversimplification.
Human cells or eukaryotes require Chlorides, Potassium, Sodium and trace elements in order to function. Potassium carries a positive charge and is generally found in higher concentration inside the cell. Chlorides carry a negative charge and are in higher concentration outside the cell in the cellular milieu. So, we have a slight positive charge inside the cell and a negative charge on the outside of the cell thus creating the needed difference in potential which permits current flow to move through the cell membrane to power the active transport process.
Any disruption to that chemistry is dealt with by the cell immediately and if that disruption is sufficiently harsh, the cell dies.
Movement of water across the cell membrane is a regulatory process; if the cell finds itself in an environment where the concentration of a solute (could be waste mater or other molecules) then water leaves the cell to equalize or reduce the concentration of the solute (the solute is what is in solution with the solvent which is water) and that environment is said to be hypertonic. If on the other hand the cell has a greater concentration of the solute than its surrounding, the cell takes up water and swells but it does not burst because of pressure differences and the effect those have on the cells regulatory processes.
Regrettably this is how the enchilada works, and anything that you intake claiming to change or accelerate the process should be examine carefully. Hydration is critical to cellular function and electrolytes supply the ions (charged particles) needed to sustain normal cell chemistry, but so will a balance diet. Your body does not require high concentrations of salts for prolonged periods, even during periods of high exertion; in fact, you may run a higher risk of a renal problem.
Now, under no circumstances should the reader interpret my comments as a slam of the product discussed in David’s piece. I have not had the opportunity to look at its chemistry to draw a conclusion of my own.
What I want to accomplish is provide you with some background so you can ask the right question with some degree of understanding.