More NHL players use potassium-based electrolytes for performance enhancement than in previous years, and some have found their performance boosts are more dramatic than others, according to a new study.
The findings come from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) International Committee for the Suppression of Improper Performance and Illness in Games (ICPSIG), which evaluated performance enhancement techniques and other data gathered in 2014.
In the report, the ICTSIG found that the amount of potassium ions in athletes’ blood, muscle and bone tissues were up nearly 30 percent since 2014, and the amount in their sweat and saliva was up more than 40 percent.
“When the athletes are doing exercises, they are sweating and there’s some sodium in the urine.
It doesn’t matter how much you’re training or how much salt you’re drinking, it has to be absorbed through your skin.
So it makes sense to make it a lot more salty than normal,” said John Pizzo, the IOC’s head of sport, in a video interview with CBC’s “This Hour.”
The research also found athletes’ body composition, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rates were significantly improved after using potassium.
“When you increase potassium levels in the blood and in the muscles, you increase the energy level of your muscles and also the amount you can absorb from the body,” Pizzi said.
“The amount of salt is also more important because if you take the sodium out, it also decreases the sodium levels and so you get more oxygen in your blood.
That can be a good thing, and a bad thing,” said Dr. Michael Safford, a clinical professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine who was not involved in the study.
Pizzo said the findings also help explain why some athletes are using the electrolytes.
“We’re seeing a lot of athletes who are going out on a regular basis.
The electrolyte levels are very high and we know the athlete’s blood pressure and heart rate are very low, so why would you take that electrolyte to increase their performance?”
Pizzi believes the potassium ions could have an impact on the immune system, too.
“It’s not the potassium that makes the body go crazy, it’s the sodium that makes it go crazy,” he said.
The ICTsIG also found that athletes were showing more muscle fatigue after using sodium than the other electrolytes, and they also reported feeling more sluggish in their sprints and shorter bursts of speed, as well as feeling less energy and fatigue.
“I think the findings here are consistent with a lot that we’ve seen in athletes, who are more likely to be taking electrolytes,” said Saffords.
“If we can identify a mechanism that makes that happen, then we might be able to work on ways to use potassium as a performance enhancer.”