Does Liquid IV Help With Altitude Sickness?

Does Liquid IV Help With Altitude Sickness

The hydrating benefits of Liquid IV is well known, but its effects on altitude sickness is not. Here's what you need to know about Liquid IV and high elevations, and if Liquid IV helps with altitude sickness.

Liquid IV Altitude Sickness

Liquid IV is an electrolyte drink mix that is designed to help people stay hydrated. Liquid IVs have been used for years by athletes and other customers to help enhance hydration.

It is not specifically designed to prevent altitude sickness, but staying hydrated to well known to help avoid altitude sickness.

We'll reveal below if Liquid IV can actually help altitude sickness.

Does Liquid IV Help With Altitude Sickness?

Does Liquid IV Help With Altitude Sickness? Although there is no evidence or study that liquid IV helps with altitude sickness, there is some information that points to hydration helping.

Electrolyte drinks like Liquid IV can help replenish electrolytes and nutrients lost due to high altitudes and increased respiration, which can be important for maintaining hydration.

We found three significant factors around if Liquid IV can help with altitude sickness:

1. Electrolytes Decrease At High Altitudes

A study of eight women at Pikes Peak high altitudes in Colorado discovered electrolytes to decrease — including sodium, potassium, and magnesium.¹

Two of those three electrolyte minerals are contained in Liquid IV's formula, both sodium and potassium. Although missing magnesium, Liquid IV can help replenish the other two electrolyte levels.

2. Water Intake Protects Against Altitude Sickness

A study of mountaineers out of Spain showed an association with fluid intake or water, and the incidence and degree of altitude sickness. The results showed that high fluid intake is protective with regards to altitude sickness.²

Liquid IV doesn't replace water, it's meant to enhance water, so the product in itself does not help with fluid intake. However, one could argue that they might drink more water due to using the product.

3. Antioxidants Help Reduce Altitude Sickness

A study of mountaineers climbing Mt. Everest showed antioxidant vitamin supplementation could reduce symptoms of altitude sickness.² The antioxidants used were 1,000 mg of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 400 IU of vitamin E (dl-a-tocopherol acetate), and 600 mg of lipoic acid (alpha-lipoic acid) daily.

Liquid IV does contain one of the three antioxidants — 73mg of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). While this may help lessen altitude sickness with an antioxidant, it only contains one antioxidant and has a very low amount compared to the study.

The verdict on if Liquid IV helps with altitude sickness — the combination of these three factors shows Liquid IV might assist in altitude sickness via electrolytes and antioxidants, but the evidence is not significant enough to promise results.

Replenishing electrolytes is the most substantial benefit, along with a small boost of antioxidants, but Liquid IV does not replace water intake which is very important as well.

The Downsides Of Using Liquid IV

While there's certainly benefits of using Liquid IV and minor evidence it might help altitude sickness, there's some downsides to using Liquid IV.

The downsides of using Liquid IV include:

1. High In Sugar

Liquid IV was formulated based off ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution), which was meant to quickly rehydrate patients with severe dehydration in impoverished countries, usually related to diarrhea.³

Sugar (glucose) is a key ingredient in this formula, however, is very unhealthy for. A formula used for severe dehydration and diarrhea with high amounts of sugar should not be used on a daily basis for the average person.

2. Synthetic, Harmful Vitamins

Liquid IV uses synthetic vitamins including vitamin C and B vitamins. Most are not aware that synthetic vitamins can actually be bad for your health and also don't absorb into the body well to reap the full benefits and results.

  • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) - Ascorbic acid in Liquid IV often synthetically made from GMO (genetically modified) corn, and processed with numerous chemicals including acetone used in nail polish.⁴
  • Vitamin B5 (D-Calcium Pantothenate) - D-Calcium Pantothenate in Liquid IV involves using isobutyraldehyde and formaldehyde to form the synthetic vitamin B5.⁵
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine hydrochloride) - Pyridoxine hydrochloride in Liquid IV is made synthetically from petroleum ester, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde. It actually has been shown to obstruct natural B6 in the body and isn't easily absorbed.⁵
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) - Cyanocobalamin in Liquid IV is made by fermenting cobalt and cyanide, in which cyanide is a potentially deadly chemical.⁵

    In conclusion, the downsides of Liquid IV may exceed the benefits. These synthetic vitamins and antioxidants in Liquid IV can be harmful and not bioavailable for you body to absorb properly.

    If taking vitamins, we'd recommend only natural or naturally fermented forms in which are readily absorbed by the body without chemicals.

    What Causes Altitude Sickness?

    Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that can occur when you travel to a high altitude too quickly.

    It is caused by the low air pressure and lower oxygen levels which causes hypoxia, and leads to physiological and oxidative stress on your body.

    When you travel to a high altitude, your body has to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. It can take a few days for your body to get used to the change, and you may experience symptoms such as:

    • headache
    • fatigue
    • dizziness
    • nausea
    • difficulty sleeping
    • feeling ill
    • loss of appetite
    • trouble breathing 

    These altitude sickness symptoms usually develop within 24 hours of arriving at high altitude.

    Do Electrolytes Help With Altitude Sickness?

    Yes, electrolytes can help altitude sickness.

    While it's not a significant factor, minor evidence proves electrolytes can decrease due to altitude exposure.¹ Research at Pikes Peak, Colorado with eight women showed electrolytes levels to decline including sodium, potassium, and magnesium.¹

    Although Liquid IV has two of those three electrolytes — sodium and potassium — we'd recommending finding an electrolyte product without sugar and synthetic vitamins.

    Top Rated Altitude Supplement

    Altitude Supplement Zaca vs Liquid IV
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    1. Alterations in the serum electrolyte levels of women during high altitude (4,300 m) acclimatization
    2. Acute mountain sickness: influence of fluid intake
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