Join Date: May 2010
Bikes: Viner, Klein, Caad9, Giant
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good thread. All about electrolytes. (e.g. sodium, potassium, calcium, etc.)
One thing I found out (the hard way) - taking water without electrolytes helps but has a down side: you actually dilute your body electrolytes with plain water. Extra water is of course good. But diluted electrolytes can leave you feeling faint, sluggish, maybe closer to the wall. There's also some optimal mix of water, potassium, salt but I haven't figured out what it is yet.
So I take electrolytes - potassium regularly, also calcium, salt, and a mix of "liquid trace minerals". Some of the product names:
Tablytes is a good electrolyte mix and comes in liquid form too, Thermotabs is a buffered salt supplement which I don't take all year - only when the sweat runs the most. But what I think helps the most is the high-potassium foods and drinks (some vegetable juices), and some generic potassium tablets. Great thing about generic potassium tabs: you can take many bananas' worth of supplement in the volume of less than half a banana - this way you can bring a bunch on your long ride and keep taking a little at a time the whole way. Easier than carrying that many bananas.
Check the USDA or other official site for the recommended daily allowance of potassium - this one's dangerous if you overdo it, so they don't even sell tablets larger than 100mg by law. With calcium what I've heard it is true, and just apply the same rule to other supplements: it's better to spread out the intake over the day than to take it all at once. With calcium, the body can only absorb so much at a time, so beyond that it just goes to waste. 2 tablets 3x a day beats 3 tabs 2x a day.