Can Gatorade actually help you when you’re sick?

Ever since I was little I feel like my doctors have always told me to drink fluids. Like I was magically going to get better by chugging quart after quart of Gatorade. But why Gatorade? Does it really help you in your time of need or do moms just tell you that so you’ll think you’re getting better? Is Gatorade leading the nation in the most drawn on placebo effect? Let’s take a closer look.

Gatorade contains electrolytes which ordinary water does not. So while water replenishes your fluid loss, Gatorade can replenish fluids along with electrolytes. Lacking electrolytes can make a person feel even worse additionally to the sickness symptoms. For sicknesses that involve diarrhea or vomiting, Gatorade is very good for you. “The digestive fluids of your stomach and intestines contain high concentrations of electrolytes, specifically sodium, potassium and chloride.” Therefore, when a person throws up or excretes more than usual, they are losing a the digestive fluid and thus necessary nutrients. A study was done in 2006 by Dr. Satish Rao that showed people with a stomach virus “preferred the taste of Gatorade to an electrolyte beverage or an oral re-hydration solution.” So not only does Gatorade get the job done for replenishment, but is preferred to by sick people.

Gatorade is additionally helpful if you have a fever. “When you have a fever, you lose an extra 100 to 150mL of body water daily for every degree your temperature is above normal.” At any point however, you are not eating and drinking normally because of the illness, Gatorade is a good item to start putting into your sick diet. It goes down easily and helps revitalize you.

While of course Gatorade cannot replace modern medicine, it can help. Additionally, the 2006 study was not completely universal being that different people enjoy different tastes so Gatorade may make people more nauseous. It is also difficult to study whether Gatorade helps sick people because it is unethical to make people sick to simply watch their reactions to Gatorade. However, observational studies could be performed on people that are already ill if they are given Gatorade. What would be interesting to see as well is if ingesting Gatorade early on in a cold will help prevent anything.

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5 thoughts on “Can Gatorade actually help you when you’re sick?

  1. Kathryn Lauren Filling

    My mom always told me to drink gatorade to restore my electorlytes! I never really knew what that meant but I listened to her! It’s good to know that it actually is replenishing nutrients that you lost. This post makes me wonder if soda actually “settles your stomach” when you are sick. This article,, says a study was done that actually found soda really did not help and just added extra glucose. Over-the-counter oral-rehydration solutions containing electrolytes and small amounts of sugar seem to be much more beneficial. This is surprising to me but good to know.

  2. Jenna Rae Stoklosa

    I love gatorade and its one of my go to drinks when I am sick. Drinking gatorade when I am sick seems to help my energy levels and this could be because of the electrolytes in the gatorade. This article talks about how the electrolytes help to keep from getting dehydrated and that it is a good option for kids who are sick who do not want to drink water. It adds the benefit of tasting good so kids will be more apt to drink that than water. The article states “Gatorade contains significant amounts of electrolytes, sodium, and potassium that can help replenish the body with all of the important elements being lost.”

  3. Charles Lloyd Johnson

    Who doesn’t like gatorade? I can very much relate to this post. Whenever one of my parents or a doctor has told me to drink lost of liquids (because I was sick) I’ve never really put much thought into it. I’ve always known about how gatorade is helpful during physical activity because of the electrolytes that it provides but I have never really thought about it when I’m sick. I previously had no idea that we lose so many electrolytes when we have the stomach bug. I personally really like gatorade and would not mind at all drinking it while I am sick. I do agree that I would much rather prefer gatorade rather than an electrolyte beverage. I also agree with you that gatorade obviously is not a magical healer but it can’t hurt to have some when you’re sick. Overall, I love learning little fun facts about things that are present in our every day lives. I will definitely be having some gatorade next time I have the stomach bug.

  4. Kevin Zheng

    Wow this is so interesting. I didn’t even think Gatorade could possibly be good for you when you’re sick. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense and it really changed my point of view on Gatorade. However, I do remember reading something where Gatorade in fact dehydrates you. So if it does that, how can it help refresh you when you’re lacking liquids in your body when you’re sick? That’s something I’m still a little unsure about after reading this blog. For more on what I mentioned, you can click here:

  5. Allison Voegeli

    I really enjoyed your post! I can relate to this, because I am used to my parents telling me to drink plenty of fluids when I am sick. I found another article that explains why Gatorade is a good drink for people when they are sick. It mainly focuses on the importance of the electrolytes. We need electrolytes for our organs to function properly. You mention that Gatorade is important when the sickness involved vomit or diarrhea but we even lose electrolytes by sweating. So, whenever you have a fever it is important to be consuming Gatorade as well. Gatorade is also recommended for physically active kids because it will help them stay hydrated.

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