ORS Ingredients: Why They Matter | Healthy Stripe

We have all had ORS solutions at some or other time in our lives. Whether it’s a sunny day at the field playing soccer or to fix an embarrassing session of vomiting; ORS ingredients making the solution are something we all need to be thankful for.

Want to know more about Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and its ingredients? Read on!

What Is ORS?

ORS  is a water-soluble combo of electrolytes (salts) and glucose. When you experience dehydration due to diarrhea or vomiting or a similar issue, ORS ingredients restore the electrolytes and water that your body lost.

WHO and Unicef recommend ORS to treat diarrhea irrespective of the age group (1). Diarrhea is one of the illnesses it solves that can otherwise lead to dehydration, which can be fatal if not handled. Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immunity are especially vulnerable to dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses excessive water. It may be harmful no matter what the cause; whether it’s from exercise, hot weather, or an illness. Fatigue, morning headaches, and blurry vision are some symptoms of dehydration.

That’s why it’s necessary to always have ORS ingredients / ORS drinks around; especially, if you work out a lot or have recently started following the keto diet (it can cause diarrhea).

How to take ORS?

  • Oral route (ORS solutions) – This is the preferred route of administration for most people.
  • Intravenous route – Also known as IV administration, this form of administration is common in severe cases of diarrhea.

ORS Ingredients

An ORS solution has primarily four ingredients:

IngredientQuantity (g)
Sodium chloride2.6
Potassium chloride1.5
Trisodium citrate dihydrate2.9

These ingredients are dissolved in 1 liter of water.


ORS Powder Ingredients And Their Mode Of Action

  • Glucose

It aids in salt absorption (and hence water absorption) in the small intestine. Water retention in the small intestine will prevent the flow of excess water from the body, which usually happens in diarrhea.

  • Sodium and Potassium

Sodium, chloride, and potassium are the most essential electrolytes found in ORS.

Electrolytes are necessary for the efficient functioning of our cells, organs, and bodily systems. They are electrically charged ions that assist your body in many tasks. These include energy production, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and muscular contraction.

Electrolyte imbalance can cause a fluid imbalance and deteriorate cell and organ functioning. But how do these salts a.k.a electrolytes assist in fluid equilibrium (water balance)?

Through Osmosis. It is a process during which there is a movement of water from a dilute (more water) to a concentrated solution (less water) through the cell’s outer wall. This keeps cells from bursting owing to overcrowding or shriveling due to dehydration.

  • Citrate 

Citrate helps to reduce acidosis in the body that’s caused by diarrhea and dehydration. Acidosis occurs when your body loses the acid-base balance and becomes more acidic.

Citrate in ORS gets converted to bicarbonate, a base, which restores the acid-base balance in the body. Thus, saving you from digestive issues like indigestion, bloating, and gas.

How Does ORS Work?

A system called – the sodium-glucose cotransport mechanism transports the sodium and potassium ions from ORS drinks over the small intestine’s wall.

Toxins that lead to diarrheal illnesses, such as those caused by food poisoning, enhance water release in the small intestine. But thanks to the sodium-glucose transport system, this excess water gets passively absorbed. Therefore, helping keep the fluids in balance.

Conditions like Diarrhea can also cause your body to become somewhat acidic, and that is harmful to your cells. So, in addition to glucose and the electrolytes, another ORS ingredient, a base (citrate), neutralizes the acid. Thus, saving you from digestive problems.

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What Is Peditral ORS?

Peditral is an ORS (Oral Rehydration Salt) formula developed by the World Health Organization. There is not much difference between the Peditral ORS ingredients and that of other ORS solutions.

Peditral ORS restores blood glucose levels in hypoglycemic patients. It also provides a source of carbohydrate calories when needed. It also works for kidney function and regulates sodium and potassium intake.

Precautions Before Taking Peditral ORS

Before taking Peditral ORS, you need to keep a few things in mind, such as:

  • It is better to inform your doctor about your allergies, pre-existing disorders, and current health problems before taking this solution. Be it pregnancy, upcoming surgery, or a condition of diabetes, it’s crucial to get the doctor’s consent.
  • Ask your doctor about the dosage, as it will depend on how bad your medical condition is.

Side Effects Of ORS Drink

While there are benefits of ORS drinks to cherish, there can be some side effects too. For instance, the treatment may not function as effectively if used incorrectly or if the amounts of salt, glucose, or solids in the fluids are not adjusted well.

You may experience Hypernatremia (excessive sodium levels in the blood) if you have too much sodium in your solution.

You will know you have it when you notice symptoms like high blood pressure, irritability, swelling, and weakness.

Storage And Stability Of ORS

ORS formulas that contain citrate are stable at ambient temperatures. They are less likely to experience any significant deterioration due to heat/humidity.

Additionally, the shelf life of ORS ingredients is usually between 2 and 3 years.

Wrapping Up

ORS is the most feasible form of therapy to treat diarrhea and dehydration. ORS ingredients can immediately restore lost water and electrolytes. Before a doctor performs a complete diagnosis, ORS can help get relief from dehydration, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Can’t visit the pharmacy to get yourself a pack? Guess what! You can make ORS at home using ingredients from your pantry.

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