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Salt Tablets

Postby GreenMountainBoy » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:27 pm

Greetings,

Anyone have any experience with taking Salt Tablets to combat dehydration, perspiration,etc. There seems to be a general medical opinion on the subject that they aren't a good idea, but just looking for some real world feedback from anyone that may have experience using them.

Thanks
But feel, til the very end, the triumph of being alive.

Gunnar Björnstrand, The Seventh Seal

CG_old

Re: Salt Tablets

Postby CG_old » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:37 pm

I use them all the time for trail / ultra running. A long run would be essentially impossible without some type of well thought out electrolyte replacement strategy. Check out Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes or Succeed S-Caps if you want good commercially made ones. I make mine myself so I can customize my electrolytes to exactly what I need.

You can make them yourself quite easily, in any ratio of sodium:potassium you wish. Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, etc sell pill capsule fillers and empty pill capsules.

If you want something to add to water, nuunis awesome.

Nearly all "electrolyte replacement drinks" (ie, Gatorade) have sodium concentrations below blood plasma levels, so they only serve to further push you towards hyponatremia.

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby thebeave7 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:52 pm

Well, whether or not it is a good idea depends on the individual and the type of activity being performed. I take electrolyte caps(home made) regularly while running during warmer months of the year(April-Sept), but usually only on runs of greater than 1hour in length, as much as 800mg/hour. Taking supplementary electrolytes, not just sodium salt, but potassium, magnesium, and calcium can be very beneficial if you are sweating quite a bit. This is a very regular practice among ultra marathon runners, who's 3-35 hour races can severely deplete electrolyte stores within the body, to the point where just drinking water can cause hyponatremia, which can be just as dangerous as dehydration, if not more so.

So the general answer is yes, it can be safe and is something that many people practice. In regards to you specifically it depends on the level of exertion you are planning and how much you sweat during exercise. Personally I'm a high salt sweater, meaning that when I sweat I develop a lovely crust of salt on my skin(I can even chip off flakes sometimes), so I have to supplement more than others might. If you are hiking at a low level of exertion, then just eating some salty foods should suffice, but if you wish, supplementing your water with 100mg of salt per 12-20oz (give or take a little) can be beneficial to hydration. Many of the drink mixes you buy (Gatorade, GU2O, Heed, Accelerade, and so on) for hydration include between 50-200mg of sodium per 12oz exactly for this reason. If you feel that you're drinking lots of water, peeing a lot, but still feeling the effects of dehydration then maybe try supplementing with a little salt. Remember, everything in moderation.

The reason MDs tell people not to take extra salt is that many people eat way too much in their daily diet, thus don't need the extra, just look at your specific situation. I try to avoid all those prepackaged meals, microwave dinners, and canned foods specifically for that reason, they are insanely high in sodium.

Eric
Me fail English? That's unpossible. http://www.ericjlee.com/Blogs

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby GreenMountainBoy » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:59 pm

Thanks Gents, this is fantastic feedback. In addition to staying hydrated, i'm also interested in trying to curtail some of the lovely excessive sweating as well that you mention. Doesn't seem to matter if its 20 or 80 degrees, humid or dry, i'm an excessive sweater as well, which besides being gross and inconvenient is also dangerous in cold weather or survival situations, to say the least. have you seen any of these commercial products or your homemade ones cut down on sweating?
But feel, til the very end, the triumph of being alive.

Gunnar Björnstrand, The Seventh Seal

CG_old

Re: Salt Tablets

Postby CG_old » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:35 pm

No, not really... I sweat like a fat hog and have my whole life. If you figure out how to stop it, let me know :-)

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby peakmind » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:17 pm

I tend to sweat a lot as well. My only solution is to start early when the temps are lower and wear very little clothing (thin base plus shorts) on the uphill hike. It doesn't keep me from sweating, but does reduce the volume so that the electrolytes in whatever bars I'm eating works for all but the longest or hottest days. I always drink a lot of water, and I rarely get swelling in the tissues (edema).

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby smoove » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:31 pm

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby sunny1 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:50 pm

Chris Gerber wrote:No, not really... I sweat like a fat hog and have my whole life. If you figure out how to stop it, let me know :-)


Being serious here - hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating does have treatment options including (but not limited to) prescription strength anti perspirants, meds and/or Botox for the armpits or even minimal surgery. Hyperhidrosis means you sweat excessively/uncontrollably even at rest and in cool temps and above and beyond typical factors that provoke sweating: heat, exercise, nervousness, fear, anger, etc. That doesn't sound like what's being described here...
I was once told that the better shape you are in physically, the more you'll sweat with exertion. Sweat with pride! :D =D>
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby cheeseburglar » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:48 pm

I always like to see the super freak android hyperactive runners chime in. Good fun.
I've never felt I needed additional salt or electolytes, other than in normal eating food (mostly nachos) and gatoraid type drinks, unless I'm really sweating for more than 6 hours. And I like to and do sweat quite a bit, it's good fun. I don't sweat much on the descent, so most 14'ers I don't take anything like that.
I have no idea how to decrease sweating. I've never thought about it. You can do some things with clothing to make it evaporate more quickly. Smartwool supposedly decrease the odor factor a bit.
Hey, you super freak android hyperactive runners have fun in Moab this weekend!

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby drodriguez » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:39 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:I've never felt I needed additional salt or electolytes, other than in normal eating food (mostly nachos) and gatoraid type drinks, unless I'm really sweating for more than 6 hours.


Amen. Salt tablets may work, but Pringles taste a hell of a lot better.
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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby tauma » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:23 am

Salt tablets are one solution but as other posters have stated a variety of salts and electrolytes are essential on the longer runs. 2 hours plus. With high temperatures and humidity this cannot be overstated.

On a recent 24 hour 62.5 mile mountain marathon in temperatures upto 38'C I came across a chap writhing in agony with cramp and a rigid leg. Luckily I had some salt tabs with me and within 10 minutes he was 'fine'. Obviously he could not continue but he could hobble under his own steam to the nearest check point. I doubt very much that this would happen on a day hike on a 14er, but thought I could add an example to the theory.

As for the sweating I leak big too but on mountain hikes if I am chilly / cold at the trailhead I figure my layers must be about right and once I get going I will be toasty without too much dripping. This theory does not work much above 25'C for obvious reasons. So I guess it should just be a thong on a summer hike up Como.

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Re: Salt Tablets

Postby thespoonybard » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:38 am

Chris Gerber wrote:No, not really... I sweat like a fat hog and have my whole life. If you figure out how to stop it, let me know :-)


In all seriousness, I too have been struck with this predicament, whether through excessive daily exercise or just pressure and stress of the work day, I used to sweat excessively. I have tried several things, however have found one thing that I truly do swear by. It is called "CERTAIN DRI". Google it!

It can be found at your local store in the deodorant aisle/section. I use the roll on kind after trying both kinds (roll on and stick). I think the liquid applies better and does the job more efficiently, you just have to watch out for the pit hair, it likes to yank the hell out of it sometimes. All and all, pretty powerful s**t.

I apply it every night before bed and then slap on some regular deodorant (small amount) the next morning mostly because the stuff doesn't have a scent to it. All in all, I find that the stuff quells my sweating all day long, however still allows me to cool myself with a very very light sweat when I am running. Happy camper here.

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