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Why Does Gatorade Relieve Headaches?

by
author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
Why Does Gatorade Relieve Headaches?
Gatorade is even more effective in treating dehydration-related headaches than water. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Headaches can be caused by a large variety of reasons, but some headaches that you may suffer from are caused by dehydration, or a lack of necessary fluid in your body. Gatorade, the popular sports drink,may help alleviate your dehydration-related headaches even better than water alone. Instead of thinking of Gatorade as helping to treat your headaches, it’s important to realize that the sports drink really helps you to fix the actual cause of your headache.

Dehydration and Headaches

Dehydration is a result of your losing more fluid, whether from breathing, sweating or urination, than you are consuming. When the amount of fluid in your body is limited, your body adapts by conserving water and shifting it from one place to another to make sure that the areas that need it the most are covered. Your headache is your body’s signal that you need to provide it with more fluids. In some circumstances, your headache may be accompanied by nausea or dizziness.

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Needed Treatment

If your body gets to a dehydrated state, it’s making pH changes in the blood stream so that your most vital organs, such as your brain and your heart, are still provided with enough fluids. To treat the lack of fluid at this point, you not only need to consume water, but you need electrolytes to regulate and normalize your pH levels.

Water vs. Gatorade

Gatorade is thought to be superior over water in helping headaches that are caused by dehydration because it is able to rehydrate you more efficiently. Gatorade also consists of carbohydrates and electrolytes, which facilitate fluid absorption in your body. Sodium, an essential electrolyte found in Gatorade, helps you to keep fluid in your body instead of losing it by urination.

Time Frame

According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, the presence of carbohydrates allows the fluid to be absorbed seven times faster than if you were to just consume water. It should take approximately an hour for you to start feeling better after drinking 16 oz. of Gatorade, but you should continue to consume more of the sports drink beyond the time that you start to feel better. It’s suggested that you sip the drink slowly to prevent your stomach from becoming water-logged.

Prevention/Solution

Headaches you have that are caused by dehydration can easily be prevented if you consciously consume adequate fluids throughout the day. You should make extra effort during strenuous exercise or in high-temperature and high-humidity climates. While Gatorade will help rehydrate you more efficiently when you’re dehydrated, simple water is adequate for preventing you from becoming dehydrated.

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References

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