Evaluating and testing hydration status is increasingly requested by rehabilitation, sport, military and performance-related activities. Besides commonly used biochemical hydration assessment markers within blood and urine, which have their advantages and limitations in collection and evaluating hydration status, there are other potential markers present within saliva, sweat or tear. This literature review focuses on body fluids saliva, sweat and tear compared to blood and urine regarding practicality and hydration status influenced by fluid restriction and/or physical activity. The selected articles included healthy subjects, biochemical hydration assessment markers and a well-described (de) hydration procedure. The included studies (n = 16) revealed that the setting and the method of collecting respectively accessing body fluids are particularly important aspects to choose the optimal hydration marker. To obtain a sample of saliva is one of the simplest ways to collect body fluids. During exercise and heat exposures, saliva composition might be an effective index but seems to be highly variable. The collection of sweat is a more extensive and time-consuming technique making it more difficult to evaluate dehydration and to make a statement about the hydration status at a particular time. The collection procedure of tear fluid is easy to access and causes very little discomfort to the subject. Tear osmolarity increases with dehydration in parallel to alterations in plasma osmolality and urine-specific gravity. But at the individual level, its sensitivity has to be further determined.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 72 (1), pp. 69-76, Jan 2018.