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What do Hot Yoga, Electrolytes & Analytical Chemistry Have in Common?

Team TFS
Team TFS
testing electrolytes in bottled waterAnswer: ME.

At the beginning of 2015, I made a New Year’s resolution to get back to a fitness regime. The local gym where I have a monthly membership did not inspire me enough so I started to look for alternative options.  One day, as I came out of my local grocery store, I saw a large sign that advertised Hot Yoga. Now yes I know about the benefits of yoga, but what was this Hot Yoga? I searched online and came to know that this particular class of hot Bikram yoga is comprised of a 26-posture sequence along with 2 breathing exercises, the yoga class is 90 minutes in length and is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%. So I thought this sounds interesting, a tropical environment (heat and humidity), along with all the benefits of yoga.

The next day after registering for the class, I put on my yoga gear, got my towel, yoga mat and a bottle of water and headed off to my hot yoga class. The minute I entered the classroom I instantly felt the heat. There were heaters and fans all around the bright yellow classroom along with bright sun light coming through the windows. As the instructor got started with the 26 postures, the heat started to takes its toll, the sweat started dripping and I was having trouble breathing. The instructor advised me to take it easy as it was my first class. Somehow I got through the full 90 minutes but was drenched with sweat by the end of the class and my body felt very weak. This is not what I had expected of yoga…..I thought I would feel energized and ready to concur the rest of the day. As we all exited the classroom, the instructor told us to replenish the lost water and electrolytes.

Electrolytes are salts that become ions when they are dissolved in a liquid. Ions have an electrical charge to them and can conduct electricity which helps the body to send electrical signals to cells. The common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, sulfate, magnesium and phosphate. Electrolytes are important because they affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), muscle function, and other important processes. When you sweat, you lose water as well as important electrolytes which need to be replenished. When a person is extremely dehydrated, they may need an extra dose of electrolytes added to their water or beverage. Dehydration can lead to many complications in the body, such as dizziness, confusion, headaches, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and lightheadedness. If the dehydration is severe and prolonged, it could possibly lead to kidney stones. Here is a great article to read on this topic, titled, What Happens When You Don't Drink Enough Water? (link to article).

As I came out of the class, sat in the lobby trying to catch my breath and cool down (literally) I noticed a refrigerator full of one particular kind of bottled water. Since I had finished up all my water, I purchased the bottled water and started to read the label, this particular bottled water contained water along with additional added electrolytes…..makes sense to sell this at a yoga class. A sport drink designed for athletes and is intended to replenish fluid and electrolyte loss, can also be used for hydration, and the good thing about water is that it has no calories for the calorie conscious!

As a former food applications chemist, my mind immediately leapt to thinking about authenticating the electrolytes in the bottle of water I was holding and before I knew it, I was listing the various ion chromatography and liquid chromatography applications that could be used for analysis.

As soon as I got back home, I searched on our website and found some interesting applications that could be used for analysis. The first method is for the analysis of electrolytes in a sports drink and demonstrates a newly developed multi-mode liquid chromatography column (Thermo Scientific Acclaim Trinity P2 column) that separates both anions and cations in a single analysis under simple salt-gradient conditions, and separates sugars under isocratic HILIC-mode conditions for the analysis of electrolytes in a sports drink. For method development and more, do read Application Note 2084, Analysis of a Sports Beverage for Electrolytes and Sugars Using Multi-Mode Chromatography with Charg..., (downloadable PDF). This method But, electrolytes can also be analyzed using HPLC used Charged Aerosol Detection.

Then, I considered an on-demand webinar, titled, Utilizing Ion Chromatography for Drinking and Wastewater Analysis, that features applications for the cation and anion analysis of different types of waters.

Here is a closer look at the same information in this chromatograph.

While you take a look at the information that I have provided, I will get back to sipping my bottle water with the added electrolytes and mentally prepare for my next session of hot yoga.


And, if you have questions on this type of analysis, do enter your questions in the Comments box; I look forward to hearing from you.


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