Salt Science

Why do most athletes need electrolyte supplementation?


Hyponatremia, a condition marked by low blood sodium levels, can lead to nausea, fatigue, vomiting, weakness, sleepiness, and in rare severe cases, even death.

Sweat typically has about 1000 mg sodium/quart; a typical sports drink has 440 mg sodium/quart. If, during the course of training, you ingest nothing but sports drinks (or worse, water), you will become hyponatremic at some point. That's what electrolyte capsules can help you deal with.

Why do I need more than just sodium. Table salt is easy and cheap to add to my drink mix...?

While sodium is the predominant electrolyte lost in sweat, a trio of other electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, and calcium) perform crucial roles in muscle contraction, relaxation, and performance. Loss of these electrolytes over time will impair your muscles to function normally. Table salt only contains sodium chloride. Furthermore, adding too much salt to a drink will make it unpalatable and you will be less likely to actually drink it. A capsule delivers the electrolytes you need without tasting bad.

Are you suggesting a high-sodium diet?

NO! We continue to support the strong scientific research that maintains the average western diet is already too high in sodium and would benefit from a reduction in sodium intake. As sodium consumption increases, output in sweat also increases to maintain a healthy level in our body. Your body become acclimatized to this intake, and "needs" more sodium to maintain this level of function. However, athletic performance drives up the loss of sodium through sweat. If your diet already contains a lot of sodium, you'll need to maintain a higher level of sodium in your body that is achievable by taking 2 or more SaltStickTM Caps per hour. If your diet is low in sodium, you can maintain your appropriate level with 1 SaltStickTM Cap per hour. In our estimation, the ideal situation is to live a low-sodium diet and supplement during heavy training and racing as needed. Using SaltStickTM Caps will allow you to do this in fewer capsules than our competitors and with a significantly better electrolyte profile than any other product.

What is the science behind SaltStickTM Caps?

Simple: What is lost in sweat should be replaced by your electrolyte capsules in a manner in which your body can absorb. Only SaltStickTM Caps do this in a single product. SaltStickTM Caps have been formulated to allow your body to absorb the electrolyte content in the suggested serving of 1-2 capsules per hour. Other products require 3-6 or more capsules per hour. Two SaltStick Caps equate to 430 mg sodium, 126 mg potassium, 22 mg magnesium, and 44 mg calcium per hour: The ideal ratio to keep you moving.

  Average Sweat SaltStick Caps
Electrolyte per 11oz / 315 mL per capsule
Sodium 220 215
Potassium 63 63
Magnesium 8 11
Calcium 16 22
bullet Electrolyte numbers represent milligrams of electrolyte, and are approximate
bullet SaltStickTM formulation is patent pending

What is bioavailability and why does it matter?

A nutrient's bioavailability is the proportion of the nutrient that, when ingested, actually gets absorbed by the body. Absorption rate is important because even when a drug is absorbed completely, it may be absorbed too slowly to produce any effect. SaltStickTM Caps contain water-soluble chelated potassium, calcium and magnesium citrates and gluconates that have high bioavailability and fast absorption rates. Sodium chloride present is also bioavailable and quickly absorbed. This is in contrast to some supplements that use forms of these minerals that have lower bioavailability, are insoluble, or require high stomach acid to digest. This means that SaltStickTM Caps will help get you to the finish line sooner!

For more information on electrolyte supplementation, click here, here,  and here for excellent summaries of electrolytes in sports drinks and supplements.