General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Salt tablets/ salt stick Rss Feed  
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2014-06-06 11:51 AM

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Subject: Salt tablets/ salt stick
I've been doing triathlon for 7 1/2 years (all distances) and have never used salt tablets. Even training out here in Arizona during the summer. Listening to some recent conversations at my tri club, could I be performing better if I used them? I understand that everyone's intake levels are different on salt and you need to find what works best for yourself, but what am I missing? How does it help? Can I get a tutorial from BT?


2014-06-06 12:30 PM
in reply to: Fitzy

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Do you cramp up when the temp rises? If not, then you don't need them.

For ME, I need them when the temp is above about 90 and even more when it's 100+

For a lot of other people, they don't need them and a lot of those people believe if they don't need them no one does.

2014-06-06 12:51 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
You sweat, you lose water and salt

You drink to replace the lost water but you also need to replace the salt. If you only replace the water, you are at risk of something called hyponatremia. Been there, done that, not fun.

Depending on what you drink, you may be getting the sodium. For example Ironman Perform is very heavy on sodium.

If your drink does not contain sodium, you can take salt tablets.

My very simple rule of thumb is I want about 300mg of sodium per bottle of liquids I drink. If it's already in the bottle, great. If it's just water, I pop a salt tablet.
If I am drinking little, I don't bother. 2 bottles per hour, for sure I am watching my sodium.

So, I drink to replace lost fluids and the fluids I take, I make sure they are containing 300mg per bottle or I take a slat stick to keep a reasonable sodium level in my body

A little too much sodium is probably better than a little too little.





Edited by marcag 2014-06-06 1:21 PM
2014-06-06 1:32 PM
in reply to: Fitzy

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick

Just don't use Hammer's Endurolytes.  Those have about 1/4 the electrolytes (most notably sodium) of their competitors like Salt Sticks or S-Caps.

Hammer should be ashamed of themselves for having such a worthless product.

2014-06-06 1:39 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by GMAN 19030

Just don't use Hammer's Endurolytes.  Those have about 1/4 the electrolytes (most notably sodium) of their competitors like Salt Sticks or S-Caps.

Hammer should be ashamed of themselves for having such a worthless product.




Hell Yeah!!!!
2014-06-06 1:49 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by GMAN 19030

Just don't use Hammer's Endurolytes.  Those have about 1/4 the electrolytes (most notably sodium) of their competitors like Salt Sticks or S-Caps.

Hammer should be ashamed of themselves for having such a worthless product.




That depends on your needs. Some folks need more sodium than others, so everyone is different.

The key thing is, try them and figure out what works for YOU in training under similar conditions. It's true the different products out there have varying levels of nutrients, so be sure to find one that works for your particular needs instead of solely going on any of our opinions (including mine).

Here's another great one to try in addition to the one's mentioned.

https://guenergy.com/store/electrolyte-capsules.html/





2014-06-06 2:11 PM
in reply to: #5008244

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Pretty much everyone needs more than Endurolytes can provide. I'd just as soon take one Salt Stock capsule opposed to four Endurolytes, especially since they cost the same.
2014-06-06 2:58 PM
in reply to: Fitzy

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick

I'm partial to Margarita flavored Cliff Bloks  (which claims 3x the salt of their normal bloks- or about 300mg per package).  

And e-gels- 230mg.  The package is a bit larger, the consistency a bit thinner and overall I find them more functional (way more salt) than Gu (although Gu has some way better flavors- like espresso, peanut butter, chocolate.... yum)

These are expensive ways to just get salt- however, for long runs you need calories anyway, and they're the same price as other gels.  So, that's what I typically use.

 

 

I seem to need, ~300mg/hr (depending) to stave off getting headaches and just having the water I drink go right through me.  

Is it pretty much just the sodium that matters, not the other elements?

 

Anyway- the three salt products commonly available in cap form.  (you could also bring a little bag of Morton Salt with you I guess- that would be the cheapest- but not very convenient)

S-Caps give you 341mg of Sodium  (that's just the Na weight, not the NaCl mass)   $15/100 caps

Salt Stick gives you 215mg of Sodium, along with Ca, K, Mg and some Vitamin D (which you're probably already getting plenty of if you're running in the sun)   $20/100 caps.  I guess you pay a little extra for the potassium, magnesium, calcium and D.  Are these useful nutrients?  yes- they're useful nutrients of course, but the amount included in each cap is pretty small compared to normal dietary intake.  So- not sure there's much value there.  ???  but, a little extra Ca (22mg) and Mg (11mg) wont hurt you.

Thermotabs (available at your local Walgreens, etc) give you 180mg of Sodium.  So- it looks like you get about half the sodium... for about half the price (I guess that's fair)  $7 for 100 caps

2014-06-06 8:18 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by marcag

You sweat, you lose water and salt

You drink to replace the lost water but you also need to replace the salt. If you only replace the water, you are at risk of something called hyponatremia. Been there, done that, not fun.

Depending on what you drink, you may be getting the sodium. For example Ironman Perform is very heavy on sodium.

If your drink does not contain sodium, you can take salt tablets.

My very simple rule of thumb is I want about 300mg of sodium per bottle of liquids I drink. If it's already in the bottle, great. If it's just water, I pop a salt tablet.
If I am drinking little, I don't bother. 2 bottles per hour, for sure I am watching my sodium.

So, I drink to replace lost fluids and the fluids I take, I make sure they are containing 300mg per bottle or I take a slat stick to keep a reasonable sodium level in my body

A little too much sodium is probably better than a little too little.






This is not entirely wrong, but is somewhat misleading.

Our sweat compromises a much higher concentration of water than salt, compared to the normal concentrations in our bodies. Therefore, when we sweat, we actually increasing the concentration of salt in our system. Adding more salt, by taking salt tabs, further increases the imbalanced concentration of salt in the system.

Yes we lose salt in sweat, but not to the extent that taking salt tabs, or endurolytes, or any concentrated salt pills, warrants. Too much salt doesn't seem to have a negative effect until you get the the extremes, so people take it and likely feel a placebo affect.

Those who suffer hyponatremia are not suffering because they are low on salt, they are suffering because they drink way too much water.

Cramping is not a low salt issue, it's an under training issue.

Edited by DV 1 2014-06-06 8:18 PM
2014-06-06 9:11 PM
in reply to: DV 1

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by DV 1

This is not entirely wrong, but is somewhat misleading.



In what way is it misleading ?
2014-06-07 11:31 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Thanks for all the input. I've never really had an issue with cramping (well maybe one race). After reading all this, I think I'm okay. Say what you want about sports drinks, but I do like & use Gatorade G2. It has 270 mg of sodium which probably covers it for me. I'm going to forward this thread on to LeBron James though.


2014-06-07 6:38 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by marcag

Originally posted by DV 1

This is not entirely wrong, but is somewhat misleading.



In what way is it misleading ?
[/QUOTE

It's misleading because the actual length of time someone would need to exercise to put themselves in any medical danger or even performance disadvantage due to a lack of sodium in the body is exponentially longer than you, the OP, or 99% of the BT members will ever experience. The evolutionarily triumphant super computer we call a body is laughably better at monitoring and adjusting salt concentrations in our system than those "experts" at Gatorade, Powerade, Salt Tab, Hammer Nutrition, or any other financially driven retail outlet.

So to say in your original post that we lose water and salt therefore we need to replace water and salt ... is ... well ... "somewhat misleading" ... unless of course you plan to go exercise for a day or two nonstop.
2014-06-07 6:38 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by marcag

Originally posted by DV 1

This is not entirely wrong, but is somewhat misleading.



In what way is it misleading ?

[/QUOTE

It's misleading because the actual length of time someone would need to exercise to put themselves in any medical danger or even performance disadvantage due to a lack of sodium in the body is exponentially longer than you, the OP, or 99% of the BT members will ever experience. The evolutionarily triumphant super computer we call a body is laughably better at monitoring and adjusting salt concentrations in our system than those "experts" at Gatorade, Powerade, Salt Tab, Hammer Nutrition, or any other financially driven retail outlet.

So to say in your original post that we lose water and salt therefore we need to replace water and salt ... is ... well ... "somewhat misleading" ... unless of course you plan to go exercise for a day or two nonstop.
2014-06-08 7:15 PM
in reply to: DV 1

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58
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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by DV 1

Originally posted by marcag

You sweat, you lose water and salt

You drink to replace the lost water but you also need to replace the salt. If you only replace the water, you are at risk of something called hyponatremia. Been there, done that, not fun.

Depending on what you drink, you may be getting the sodium. For example Ironman Perform is very heavy on sodium.

If your drink does not contain sodium, you can take salt tablets.

My very simple rule of thumb is I want about 300mg of sodium per bottle of liquids I drink. If it's already in the bottle, great. If it's just water, I pop a salt tablet.
If I am drinking little, I don't bother. 2 bottles per hour, for sure I am watching my sodium.

So, I drink to replace lost fluids and the fluids I take, I make sure they are containing 300mg per bottle or I take a slat stick to keep a reasonable sodium level in my body

A little too much sodium is probably better than a little too little.






This is not entirely wrong, but is somewhat misleading.

Our sweat compromises a much higher concentration of water than salt, compared to the normal concentrations in our bodies. Therefore, when we sweat, we actually increasing the concentration of salt in our system. Adding more salt, by taking salt tabs, further increases the imbalanced concentration of salt in the system.

Yes we lose salt in sweat, but not to the extent that taking salt tabs, or endurolytes, or any concentrated salt pills, warrants. Too much salt doesn't seem to have a negative effect until you get the the extremes, so people take it and likely feel a placebo affect.

Those who suffer hyponatremia are not suffering because they are low on salt, they are suffering because they drink way too much water.

Cramping is not a low salt issue, it's an under training issue.


Nailed it.

I will take them more for the placebo effect. I think it helps, even though sodium levels, or lack of it, have virtually nothing to do with cramping.
2014-06-09 5:38 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by DV 1

It's misleading because the actual length of time someone would need to exercise to put themselves in any medical danger or even performance disadvantage due to a lack of sodium in the body is exponentially longer than you, the OP, or 99% of the BT members will ever experience. The evolutionarily triumphant super computer we call a body is laughably better at monitoring and adjusting salt concentrations in our system than those "experts" at Gatorade, Powerade, Salt Tab, Hammer Nutrition, or any other financially driven retail outlet.

So to say in your original post that we lose water and salt therefore we need to replace water and salt ... is ... well ... "somewhat misleading" ... unless of course you plan to go exercise for a day or two nonstop.



I am not saying you take salt to avoid being at a medical danger or performance disadvantage due to lack of sodium

You take it to maintain proper sodium concentrations as you ingest liquids, that are needed to maintain your hydration levels. In hot conditons, for events of a few hours (HIM, century ride, IM training ride) a person can easily consume 3-4L of liquids. Drink liquids without taking sodium and you can become hyponatremic.

Some sports drinks provide the right amount of sodium and there is no need for supplementation. If they don't or it's water only, salt tablets can help.







Edited by marcag 2014-06-09 5:40 AM
2014-06-09 7:12 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by marcag

Originally posted by DV 1

It's misleading because the actual length of time someone would need to exercise to put themselves in any medical danger or even performance disadvantage due to a lack of sodium in the body is exponentially longer than you, the OP, or 99% of the BT members will ever experience. The evolutionarily triumphant super computer we call a body is laughably better at monitoring and adjusting salt concentrations in our system than those "experts" at Gatorade, Powerade, Salt Tab, Hammer Nutrition, or any other financially driven retail outlet.

So to say in your original post that we lose water and salt therefore we need to replace water and salt ... is ... well ... "somewhat misleading" ... unless of course you plan to go exercise for a day or two nonstop.



I am not saying you take salt to avoid being at a medical danger or performance disadvantage due to lack of sodium

You take it to maintain proper sodium concentrations as you ingest liquids, that are needed to maintain your hydration levels. In hot conditons, for events of a few hours (HIM, century ride, IM training ride) a person can easily consume 3-4L of liquids. Drink liquids without taking sodium and you can become hyponatremic.

Some sports drinks provide the right amount of sodium and there is no need for supplementation. If they don't or it's water only, salt tablets can help.




Gatorade sure has done their job well.


2014-06-09 7:22 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Originally posted by DV 1

Gatorade sure has done their job well.



I'd like to understand

I'm going for 4-5hours. I sweat a lot. I am trying to replace fluids to not lose more than say 4-5lbs.

Can I drink just water ?

I would really like to know. I am diabetic. I can't take on carbs. Gatorade is not my friend. First HIM was in Florida, all water, I did lose body weight. I did not try to replace lost fluids 1 for 1. I did end up being hyponatremic. Diagnose through blood tests in the medical tent.

Are you saying I didn't need sodium ? Should I have just drank less and lose 4+% of body weight ?




Edited by marcag 2014-06-09 7:27 AM
2014-06-09 8:49 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Salt tablets/ salt stick
Common exercised induced hyponatremia is an elevated concentration of fluid in blood plasma caused by excess drinking, not by a lack of available salt in the system. Yes, you drank too much. And that's where the sports drink industry has everyone by the balls. Your body can only absorb "x" oz fluid per hour into cells (where it's needed). Any more and it starts to store the excess in your blood plasma. It has almost nothing to do with salt ... according to the actual studies; for which there are VERY VERY VERY FEW. The ones that are available bust a bunch of myths having to do with fluids and salt (dehydration, hyponatremia, cramping, etc...).


Here's the real juxtaposition of your question, "Should I have drank less and loss 4+% body weight?"

What risks are you willing to take for your finish time?


Are you willing to risk DNF, hyponatremia, dehydration, fainting, heat stroke, and all the other risks we accept when we sign the race waiver and go out and push ourselves to the limits. It's no mystery that what most of us do isn't the healthiest way to exercise. But we're willing to take certain risks with our bodies in order to hit the finish line, set a PR, win our AG, qualify for Kona ... whatever your goal is.

Dialed in nutrition and hydration can help reduce some of these risks, but simply pumping more water down your gullet than your body can absorb and popping more salt tabs won't mean you can run farther or faster. It's not a 1=1 equation.

If you were hyponatremic after your last race, you simply drank too much.

1. Drink less and lose more body weight (and deal with those consequences)
2. Drink the same with the same results
3. Slow down
4. Find other ways to cool yourself down
5. Other

FWIW - I sweat a lot. On a hot Ironman day I drink about 35 oz fluid/hour on the bike (which is more than my body can absorb, but I'd rather error on the side of a bit too much so my level is full when I get to the run). It's usually whatever they have on course (gatorade, Powerade, etc...) so a bit of electrolytes in there. On the run I drink about 25 oz an hour of water and the on course sports drink. I've transitioned off salt tabs and have seen no difference in performance.
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