PRIME Hydration Drink: Does it Deliver the Goods?

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PRIME has certainly made waves across the world, and recently in South Africa. Does this drink live up to the hype that it is receiving? M2Biome’s Cardiometabolic Product Developer and Registered Dietitian, Wilna Eksteen, takes a look at the nutritional information of the PRIME Hydration drink and put things into a perspective that we can all understand.

Is it worth the hype? Not really.
Is it something you should be concerned to use more than any other sports drink? Not really.
Is it healthy? Not really.

Firstly, it is important to review the nutritional information of PRIME to understand what it contains. This
information can be seen in the table below.

PRIME Hydration is a very low-energy combination of vitamins and minerals along with some branch-chain amino acids (BCAA) and non-nutritive sweeteners. The base is coconut water which is a functional
ingredient with some health benefits, but the purity of the coconut water used can be questioned.1 Recent studies establish that the previously established negative effects of aspartame need to be revisited for more accurate results.2  BCAA cannot be synthesised by the body and needs to be provided externally through the diet. BCAA include valine, leucine and isoleucine. Red meats and diary contains high levels of BCAA. By eating a variety of proteins in moderation (animal and non-animal based) the body is adequately supplied by BCAA and no extra supplementation is required.3 The benefits of BCAA are user dependent. It does have a place in sports nutrition for muscle repair.4

Can all the above ingredients be found in food along with the additional benefits of soluble and insoluble fibre? Yes, definitely. The question here is not if PRIME is specifically bad for you in the sense of whether it will cause harm (if consumed occasionally in moderation), but rather, ‘Does it provide you with specific special health benefits?’ Then the answer is no. 

Like most products – supplements or food – PRIME needs to be seen as a product with a specific purpose for a specific market. You will not feed a steak to an infant. Steak is not unhealthy or poisonous, but it is not an appropriate source of protein for an infant. PRIME is not necessarily the appropriate drink for example children, pregnant or lactating women, just because different individuals have different dietary needs. This should be taken into consideration with basically any food or supplement. Fluid’s main aim should be to optimally hydrate and promote overall bodily mechanisms to function effectively. Adequate clean water consumption can lower obesity risks and promote healthy eating habits. 5

PRIME Energy Drink

There is 200 mg of caffeine in the PRIME Energy drink. This is about the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee. This product should also be seen as consumer specific. You do not want children, for example, to consume caffeine. However, caffeine does have some specific benefits to athletes.6

Who is an ideal consumer for PRIME?

PRIME cannot really be seen as a one-shoe-fits-all kind of drink that will be beneficial to a wide range of
consumers. Take into consideration that an individual will consume it for a specific reason and not only for conventional reasons. PRIME Hydration can be used by athletes as an addition to a recovery meal/drink. PRIME Energy will provide some cognitive benefits similar to what you will get from coffee. Gamers and tournament athletes will benefit from this if taken with an additional source of energy. 

So, what is the takeaway message? 

The PRIME Hydration drink, while gaining attention globally and in South Africa, falls short of the health hype surrounding it. We evaluated Prime and determined that the drink is deemed neither particularly beneficial nor harmful. Comprising vitamins, minerals, branch-chain amino acids (BCAA), and non-nutritive sweeteners, with coconut water as the base, PRIME offers minimal energy. However, the necessity of its supplementation, especially with BCAA, is questioned, as these amino acids can be obtained through a varied diet. While PRIME may not be harmful when consumed occasionally and in moderation, it lacks specific health benefits, and its appropriateness varies among individuals, highlighting the need for a targeted market approach. CLICK HERE for 8 tips to increase your water intake to manage your hydration

Conclusion

The most relevant criticism of this specific drink is that it is not an energy drink. The energy and carbohydrate content is too low to be seen as a source of energy. This can be misleading to the general consumer that wants to benefit on a physical level from a source of energy, such as endurance athletes during an event.

With all of this taken into consideration, there are definitely healthier, more appropriate sources of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, energy, and caffeine that will result in better outcomes.  Nutrients in a food source are far more superior than what you can obtain from drinking supplemented drinks. Educating from a young age that hydrating your body is very important and the source for hydration should be primarily water. Drinks that are supplemented with vitamins, minerals, energy, electrolytes, or protein are always aimed to benefit a person performing a specific task. Make sure to understand what the purpose is of the product and if that applies to your own personal needs.

Moderation is key. Never underestimate the power of scientifically sound, clinically based evidence to guide your opinion and decisions.

References

  1. Zulaikhah ST. 2019. Health benefits of tender coconut water. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 10(2). Available here
  2. Czarnecka K, Pilarz A, Rogut A, et al. 2021. Aspartame – true or false? Narrative review of safety analysis of general use in products. Nutrients, 13(1957). Available here.
  3. Polis B & Samson AO. 2020. Role of the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other metabolic disorders. Neural Regeneration Research, 15(8): 1460-1470. Available here.
  4. Siddik MAB & Shin AC. 2019. Recent progress on branched-chain amino acids in obesity, diabetes, and beyond. Endocrinology and Metabolism, 34:234-246. Available here.
  5. Vézina-Im LA & Beaulieu D. 2019. Determinants and interventions to promote water consumption among adolescents: a review of the recent literature. Current Nutrition Reports, 8:129-144. Available here.
  6. Karayigit R, Naderi A, Akca F, et al. 2021. Effects of different doses of caffeinated coffee on muscular endurance, cognitive performance, and cardiac autonomic modulation in caffeine naïve female athletes. Nutrients, 13(2). Available here.
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Spread the health, every byte counts
Wilna Eksteen

Wilna Eksteen

Registered Dietitian

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