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Athletes and researchers could benefit from a simple and universally accepted technique to determine whether humans are well-hydrated, euhydrated, or hypohydrated. Two laboratory studies (A, B) and one field study (C) were conducted to determine if urine color (Ucol) indicates hydration status accurately and to clarify the interchangeability of Ucol, urine osmolality (Uosm), and urine specific gravity (Usg) in research. Ucol, Uosm, and Usg were not significantly correlated with plasma osmolality, plasma sodium, or hemato-crit. This suggested that these hematologic measurements are not as sensitive to mild hypohydration (between days) as the selected urinary indices are. When the data from A, B, and C were combined, Ucol was strongly correlated with Uhg and U„sm. It was concluded that (a) Ucol may be used in athletic/industrial settings or field studies, where close estimates of Usg or Uosm are acceptable, but should not be utilized in laboratories where greater precision and accuracy are required, and (b) Uosm and Usg may be used interchangeably to determine hydration status.

The authors are with The University of Connecticut Human Performance Laboratory, 2095 Hillside Rd., Stoms, CT 06269-1110.