Run Oregon Test Kitchen: Osmo Nutrition hydration fuels


It’s usually around this time of year that I realize that my hydration is lacking. I think about water and fuel consumption when the weather is warmer, and less so when we are getting bombarded with rain the rest of the year. I know that’s horrible, and so maybe some new products from Osmo Nutrition will bring me in line.

Here’s a little bit about hydration, courtesy of Osmo:

Great performance begins with water. Water is what fuels your body, all the way down to the cellular level. Every function your body performs requires hydration, and this is especially true for athletic efforts. If you’re not properly hydrated, your performance will suffer. For example, when you are 2% below your optimal hydration level—which is usually where you are when you start to feel thirsty—your power output will decrease by up to 11%.

What causes this loss of power? Your body produces power through aerobic metabolism. Aerobic metabolism requires oxygen-rich blood to flow to the muscles. As body water drops due to perspiration and respiration, blood “thickens,” which reduces heart-stroke volume. This means that if you don’t start your effort hydrated, you won’t be performing at your best. If you don’t replace body water rapidly during your workout, your heart rate may hold steady (or even rise), but power will drop.

The company’s name is derived from Osmolality – a measure of how much solid is dissolved in a fluid. Here’s why Osmo believes this component is essential:

In order to prevent that drop and maximize your power, you need to replace the body water you lose when you sweat. After you swallow whatever you drink, it passes into the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). It then enters the vascular system as blood plasma, flows into interstitial spaces (the area between cells), and is transported to every cell. The stomach and small intestine are critical organs when it comes to hydration. The stomach’s primary role in this process is to prepare the fluid you’ve consumed to be absorbed in the intestines.

To do this, the stomach ensures that the liquid consumed has a lower osmolality than your blood. Osmolality is a measure of how much solid is dissolved in the fluid. The osmolality of the fluid you ingest needs to be equal to or lower than the osmolality of blood for the intestine to absorb it. If the osmolality of the ingested fluid is too high (meaning there is too much “stuff” dissolved in it) then the liquid will be kept in the stomach. In order to dilute and absorb the liquid, the stomach will draw body water from the bloodstream.

So, to summarize: if the sports drink you ingest has too high of an osmolality, it will sit in your gut and your stomach will use your own body water to absorb it. This is called “reverse flux” and it effectively dehydrates you while slowing gastric emptying, causing GI distress and heaviness. Drinking fluids with optimal osmolalities is crucial to your performance and how you feel overall. The importance of osmolality is why we named our company Osmo, and it’s why we ensured that Osmo Active Hydration has the right osmolality, enabling fast absorption from the gut and quick rehydration during exercise. The osmolality of what you drink is key to your performance.

A lot of that is sort of (very) over my head, but was very interested in how the Preload HydrationActive Hydration, and Acute Recovery options both work and taste.

Now that warmer weather seems to be consistently upon us (fingers crossed at least), Osmo Preload Hydration seems like a solid option to utilize before a workout. It was created for use in hot environments or during high-intensity efforts, which is absolutely a good thing. It’s quite amazing how much more I sweat in the heat (duh), so obviously it’s absolutely necessary to replenish at a greater level. This mix claims to ready your body for this by “hyper-hydrating” – i.e. going into in an event with extra body water which should keep your dehydration away. They recommend drinking a serving the night before and the morning of an intense effort. I have used these before some more intense runs, and I have felt pretty good – definitely better than my normal hydration routines.

The pineapple lemon is a pretty tasty concoction, if I do say so myself. It’s actually flavored with real fruit and natural ingredients so that’s definitely an added plus.


The Osmo Active Hydration is the only mix that actually offers multiple flavors currently, and the orange is pretty awesome. I think that taste during a workout is actually the most important time for flavoring. It’s miserable to be thirsting and ready for that energy gel or hydration liquid, only to be let down by something that you can’t hardly stomach. That’s both super disheartening AND not beneficial to keep you going. This mix is also flavored with real fruit and it shines where some other options on the market don’t. Here’s more info on the science behind this one:

Osmo Active Hydration was developed to be the fastest way for athletes to re-hydrate during exercise. Based on peer-reviewed science, the Active Hydration formula contains an optimized ratio of natural and functional ingredients including sucrose, glucose, and electrolytes to maximize and sustain power.


I’m not a huge protein powder guy, though I do understand that protein after workouts help with the repair of muscles and recover faster. Osmo’s formula is definitely not bad in the taste arena. I don’t think I will EVER find a powder I can mix with straight up water and enjoy. I won’t hold that against any powder, but I have been mixing these with some other concoctions to make it into a more friendly smoothie (fruit, almond and pea milk, etc), and it was quite enjoyable. “The protein shuts down the breakdown from exercise and enables muscle repair, while carbs provide glycogen to increase performance and energy after a workout. The small amount of caffeine in conjunction with carbs and protein has been shown to accelerate glycogen replacement by 66% over carbs and protein alone.”

Though these are obviously formulated for everyone, Osmo also has a line of hydration optimized for women.

Women have been excluded from this human performance research in the past because hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle impact performance. The same fluctuations of hormones that alter physiological responses to exercise, metabolism, recovery, and training that present challenges for researchers can impact female athletes’ abilities to achieve peak performance. Where some researchers saw a challenge, we saw an opportunity to provide hydration and nutrition that would help elite female athletes hit peak performance at any point in their cycle. We developed our Optimized for Women line based on peer-reviewed science, including research done by Dr. Stacy Sims, who developed all our products.

There is a lot to be intrigued about with Osmo, so consider giving them a shot.

Company: Osmo Nutrition (Facebook | Instagram)

Products & Price:

More about Osmo:

No matter what you’re doing, you should feel and perform your best while doing it. We made Osmo to bring you the best hydration before and during your workout, and to help you make a quick recovery after. Osmo is made to help every athlete in any sport feel and be great.

Founded in 2013, Osmo Nutrition uses a science-driven approach to improve athletic performance through better hydration and recovery. Osmo’s goal is to help athletes of every level maximize their potential with hydration and nutrition formulas that help prevent cramping and fatigue. Currently, the company is the official hydration sponsor of German cycling team BORA-hansgrohe. Osmo has also been the hydration brand of choice for three-time world champion Peter Sagan since 2013.

Thank you to Osmo for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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