A double-blind trial of oral rehydration solutions for children with diarrhea and vomiting related to acute viral gastroenteritis found that Gatorade is as effective as Pedialyte in correcting dehydration and improving bowel symptoms.
Satish S.C. Rao, M.D, Ph.D., FACG of the University of Iowa and colleagues at the Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad, India presented the study at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.
This study randomized 73 children in India with viral gastroenteritis to receive Gatorade, Pedialyte or a new oral rehydration solution with carbohydrates, sodium and potassium for 48 hours. The children also received a diet of yogurt and rice. Of the 61 children between ages 5 and 12 who completed the study, stool frequency, stool consistency and body weight improved in children taking all three of the solutions, and there was no difference among the solutions. The researchers found that all three solutions were safe. When asked to rate the taste, the patients rated Gatorade and the new solution higher than Pedialyte. The study was supported by a grant from The Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
A potassium deficiency, known as hypokalemia, persisted in a few patients receiving Gatorade after 48 hours. Patients who experienced hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance, experienced persisting symptoms for all three solutions. According to Dr. Rao, "A small number of patients with dehydration may have significant electrolyte disturbances. As they continue to rehydrate with oral rehydration solutions, a portion may continue to experience electrolyte imbalances, and additional treatment may be necessary."
Acute viral gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, is an illness of fever, diarrhea and/or vomiting caused by an infectious virus. It usually is of acute onset, normally lasting less than 10 days and self-limiting. It is often referred to as the "stomach flu" even though it is not related to influenza.