Electrolytes and Combat Hydration


Illustrates cellular regulation in a hypertonic state (plant cell illustration)








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.


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4 Responses to Electrolytes and Combat Hydration

  1. Though the review from a human physiology textbook as posted above is relatively correct for the most part, however it’s a bit modifiable based on context and application.

    What is most important here is to review a few things said by the poster.

    The first of which is “there are subjects that one needs to approach cautiously and his discussion of CERF is just that.” I would humbly submit that same statement in regards to the posts review.

    Secondly, “The precise chemistry involved in normal cell function is complex and what follows is by necessity an oversimplification.” The trouble with necessity of oversimplification is that it more often than not leaves vital insight in application and true understanding of the topic devoid by the reader. Ex. Over simplification of how a gun works is far more than an ammunition round goes in the breach and is struck by a firing pin which ignites a powder charge which expels a bullet from the barrel.

    Lastly, the most important part came at the end…. “I have not had the opportunity to look at its chemistry to draw a conclusion of my own.” This being the case, it sure is a wee bite of a seeming agenda to post such attempted insight into membrane and ion characteristics with a self admitted lack of adequate understanding of the full biochemistry applying to such mechanisms being encouraged to be reviewed.

    The intent in my reply to this post is one of encouragement for those who wish to critic or encourage review of ORAL I.V. to lean more toward queries and requests for further clarification of mechanisms of actions.

    Whereas, the science behind the power of ORAL I.V. requires much more insight than that stated above and a blog type forum has no real capacity for lending such insight. See, more trouble with necessity of over simplification.

    Being the creator of ORAL I.V. and the author of its applied science I would encourage the above poster to review a few more deeper levels of science, namely Debye–Hückel limiting law, Gibbs-Donnan Equilibrium, Starling’s Forces and Enthaply of hydration.

    “What I want to accomplish is provide you with some background so you can ask the right question with some degree of understanding.”

    Couldn’t put it any better than that myself!

    On a more warm and fuzzy note, love the FOG HORN blog and always great to see yet another wonderful arena on WordPress! Cheers!


    • I appreciate your feedback. As you can well imagine, the majority of my readers are not biochemists or physiologists, so simplifications are not only appropriate but a necessity. It often helps individuals see through the FOG. Now, if you and I had a nickel for every claim made by hucksters promoting nutritional prowess, we’d both be happy campers. I have vivid memories of purveyors of nutritional supplements claiming that their vitamin C supplements are organic. Perhaps you’d like to share with our readers what an organic vitamin C molecule looks like as compared to one that is inorganic.
      I’d also be interested in seeing independent studies that support the efficacy of ORAL I.V. over any other electrolyte formulation. I also have pretty good handle on ions so if you can show me something that blows me away, I’ll buy some of it and run it past the FDA to see what they think.


      • Dr. Anthony G Beck says:

        I understand for sure. Oh yes, we’d both have a hell of a lot of nickels!

        Vitamin C in supplements by the very nature of it being an extracted and isolated nutrient should not be considered to be truly “organic”. Of course that is based on what ones accepted definition of “organic” may be. It is all based on semantics of structure and nomenclature of hydrocarbons
        when referring to organic vs. inorganic in the realms of organic chemistry. But as we all know, the term organic to many simply refers to how it is produced.
        As far as what the molecules look like the definition of “organic” must be defined first.

        The scientific studies are being completed as this time and will be coming forthwith within the next few months. I will also have an exhaustive white paper available in the near future as well.

        As for the FDA, that is a primary source of FOG so they wouldn’t be able to see through it.


      • The point that I was making with the Vitamin C example is that Vitamin C does not differ at a molecular level whether it is derived from an organically grown source or synthesized in a laboratory. In fact the synthesized Vitamin C is pure where as the organic source could have contaminants – e.coli being the least of my concerns.
        Dr. Beck, I don’t doubt your sincerity, or the efficacy of the Oral I.V., but if someone is going to ingest ANY formulation they should do so after they have a basic understanding of what it is they are introducing into their system.
        If a product claims alteration of, osmotic pressure gradients, etc. -basically cellular function and in the grander scheme homeostasis – their needs to be supporting evidence arrived at with controlled experimentation and testing.
        As you well know, an overwhelming majority of the electrolyte formulations are nothing more than salts with sugars. You get a boost the minute sugars are digested at the tongue. So, what I’m saying is that before we announce that Oral I.V. will put lead in your pencil and give you two inches you never knew you had, let’s support that with credible substantive data. I think we’ve beaten this horse to death wouldn’t you agree?


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