Dear FIT Professionals,
I’m confused about salt tablets. Do they really help prevent cramping and dehydration? What’s the difference between salt tablets and an electrolyte supplement?
That Salt She Wrote
Dear That Salt She Wrote,
Well, the simple equation is Endurolytes > salt tablets. But why, you ask?
Sodium is a vital electrolyte, and your body needs it to function properly. During long runs, multi-hour rides, or tough workouts in the summer heat, you will lose much of your body’s electrolyte stores through sweat. Not only will your sodium levels be thrown off, but so will the balance of other essential minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The result is dehydration and consequent cramping, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, or dizziness.
A common perception is that salt tablets are a way to reduce muscle cramping due to dehydration. While taking a salt tablet can help quickly restore the sodium levels in your body, sodium alone can’t replenish or balance electrolyte stores, meaning you may still experience the negative effects of dehydration as well as problems directly related to the use (or misuse) of salt tablets. What exactly are the negative side effects of salt tablets?
Consuming more sodium than you need will cause your body to retain water, making you feel bloated and sluggish.
High Blood Pressure
Salt tablets also increase the amount of sodium in your blood, meaning the amount of water in your blood rises as well. The combination of extra sodium and water increases your overall blood volume, meaning your heart has to pump harder to do the same amount of work. The result? A major rise in blood pressure. The increase in blood pressure will be even more severe if you are sensitive to sodium or have pre-existing kidney problems.
Hypernatremia is a serious condition that occurs when you have too much sodium in your blood. Hypernatremia can range from mild to severe and includes many of the same symptoms as dehydration. Even moderate cases of hypernatremia require hospitalization.
Long-term usage of salt tablets can increase the amount of calcium you excrete in your urine, making you susceptible to kidney stone formation. Moreover, high blood pressure caused by long-term use of salt tablets can also damage the kidneys.
So what do Endurolytes do?
Because you are losing more than just water and sodium when you sweat, you need to supplement your fluid intake with more than just sodium to adequately replenish electrolyte stores. Electrolyte tablets like GU Brew and NUUN are an easy way to infuse your water with essential electrolytes.
However, sometimes your body will require greater amounts of electrolytes than drinks or gels can provide—at least not without upsetting your stomach or risking the negative side effects of ingesting too much fluid.
Endurolytes is an electrolyte supplement that you can take with one swig of water. Endurolytes provides you with a consistent supply of all electrolytic minerals (not just sodium and potassium) without the danger of over-hydrating or causing stomach issues. The electrolytes in Endurolytes are rapidly assimilated by the body, meaning you can meet your specific electrolyte needs, down to the hour.
Endurolytes are especially beneficially for people who struggle with muscle cramping and twitching. Many athletes who have been unable to avoid cramping during long races such as marathons and Ironmans have found that Endurolytes prevent muscle spasms and even stop cramping that has already begun. (Yep. That can save your race.)
Bonus fact: Taking two or more Endurolytes before bed can help prevent night cramps after a long day of training or racing.