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Bakary Soumare

IVs for athletes: Vital fluid or waste?

IVs for athletes: Vital fluid or waste?

The Chicago "hydration therapy" clinic IVme advertises intravenous fluids to athletes to improve performance.

A $169 pre-race IV can help marathon runners "avoid cramping and 'hitting the wall,'" according to the company's website. After the race, IVme suggests, a sudden flood of fluids can help with recovery.

But experts say the infusions are not only risky but likely to slow a runner's pace — as well as creating an urgent need to stop at a portable toilet.

"You'd be heavier because you have more mass to carry and need to pee pretty soon afterward," said hydration researcher Paul Laursen, the physiology manager for High Performance...