Hydration Performance Drink Aims to Address Fatigue, Dehydration From Cancer Treatments


SWORD Performance Hydration is a natural drink that helps to hydrate and energize individuals, and could even assist with some toxicities that are a result from chemotherapy.

What has been considered a sports drink to help hydrate and energize athletes is now also an option for patients with cancer undergoing treatment.

SWORD Performance Hydration is a natural drink that could help patient refuel and energize following treatments that have certain toxicities or cause fatigue afterwards. “This is great to drink to help them battle through that and just maintain their energy levels throughout their procedures,” said company founder Shawn Stasko.

SWORD Performance was founded in 2013 by Dr. Scott Black, a sports medicine physician, and Stasko, a muscle fatigue expert and sports nutrition specialist. At the time, the student-teacher duo from the University of Kentucky found common ground in identifying the need for improved hydration alternatives to maintain steady energy for muscles and a clear mind with focus in the brain. Now, what started as a product evaluated in individuals in the athletic community, the pair hope to spread awareness of SWORD to help patients with cancer address side effects, like fatigue and weakness, associated with treatment.

“Scott and I were trying to find a great combination of hydration and fuel to help delay feelings of tiredness and fatigue during strenuous exercise – a mechanism that uniquely parallels chemotherapeutic-induced tiredness,” Stasko explained. “During my doctoral work I investigated compounds and physiologic mechanisms found in some chemotherapies that result in muscular fatigue. My education motivated me to find a way to make that science more accessible to everyone, that way patients and athletes alike they wouldn't feel so tired so fast.”

With just six natural ingredients and no added colors, artificial flavors, sweeteners or artificial preservatives, SWORD Performance Hydration – which is available as a powder or bottled drink – mimics an IV in terms of the level of electrolytes from sodium and fluid to address hydration. To assist with energy, the drinks contain a combination of starch from wheat.

“It's primarily a starch and some real fruit pulp for flavor,” Stasko explained, adding that it differs from other sports drinks in offering individuals more energy.

“(With sports drinks that are sugary), you drink it, and then you immediately get a bunch of energy in your body. But then about 10 to 15 minutes later, you crash, because your body metabolizes that sugar really fast instead,” he said. “So, what we use in SWORD is a combination of fruit pulp, which goes to your liver, and primarily the starch, which your body breaks down over the course of one hour. So, you get this nice boost of energy, but then a stable energy delivery over the course of one hour. You never get these waves of energy and crash. It's always this nice, consistent feeling. And when your body is working hard to either battle through different chemicals or exercise, and you're working hard and you just need more fuel to keep pushing forward.”

In addition, the company has a sister product, called SHIELD, which is the light version of SWORD, with fewer calories, Stasko explained.

“(Both products are) great, natural, very easy to drink, great tasting hydration and fuel products that one can drink when they are undergoing chemotherapy, or they are exercising hard or anywhere where they're really stressing their muscles and they're fatiguing themselves,” he added. “It really helps you prevent that feeling of tiredness and fatigue, so you can go about your day, or you can perform at your highest level.”

The products are available for purchase on Amazon or the company site: https://drinksword.com.

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