Background: This study investigated the effect of hydration differences on body fluid and temperature regulation between tropical and temperate indigenes exercising in the heat.Methods: Ten Japanese and ten Malaysian males with matched physical characteristics (height, body weight, and peak oxygen consumption) participated in this study. Participants performed exercise for 60 min at 55% peak oxygen uptake followed by a 30-min recovery at 32°C and 70% relative air humidity with hydration (4 times each, 3 mL per kg body weight, 37°C) or without hydration. Rectal temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, skin blood flow, and blood pressure were measured continuously. The percentage of body weight loss and total sweat loss were calculated from body weight measurements. The percentage change in plasma volume was estimated from hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit.Results: Malaysian participants had a significantly lower rectal temperature, a smaller reduction in plasma volume, and a lower heart rate in the hydrated condition than in the non-hydrated condition at the end of exercise (P <0.05), whereas Japanese participants showed no difference between the two hydration conditions. Hydration induced a greater total sweat loss in both groups (P <0.05), and the percentage of body weight loss in hydrated Malaysians was significantly less than in hydrated Japanese (P <0.05). A significant interaction between groups and hydration conditions was observed for the percentage of mean cutaneous vascular conductance during exercise relative to baseline (P <0.05).Conclusions: The smaller reduction in plasma volume and percentage body weight loss in hydrated Malaysians indicated an advantage in body fluid regulation. This may enable Malaysians to reserve more blood for circulation and heat dissipation and thereby maintain lower rectal temperatures in a hydrated condition.
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