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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 05-11-05, 12:36 PM   #1
PolishPostal
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Sweat & Salt Residue - What does it mean?

I searched and can't really find anything to answer my question. I'm not sure if this is good, bad or neither. I would say that I sweat quite a bit more than the average person. Well after a hard ride, my face is covered with salt, white residue. And it is quite noticable. Before washing the chin strap to my helmet I can scrape salt off it with my fingernail. Does this say anything about my nutrition? Am I eating too much salt or what?

Thanks.
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Old 05-11-05, 12:52 PM   #2
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A friend of mine found the same thing, salt residue on his face, when running a marathon this year. Turned out he was drinking too much water, but I'm vague on the science of how that made more salt come out of him. I have salt marks on my clothes, camelbak straps, helmet straps etc after a long ride in summer, but to have a white residue on your face does sound extreme.
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Old 05-11-05, 12:56 PM   #3
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I hope this is not bad, as it happens to me all the time. I always just figured that sweat contains traces of salt, as it evaporates while you run or cycle, it leaves behind the salt.
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Old 05-11-05, 12:59 PM   #4
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I saw a write up on this the other day on the net so do a search. It may be you're drinking too much or too much salt. There was to be check stations along the Boston Mar. to check for this. Sorry I can't remember more.

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Old 05-11-05, 01:07 PM   #5
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Very interesting question!

So I googled... http://www.triathletemag.com/story.c...92&pageID=1705

I wondered about quanities of sodium and other electrolytes. It appears that sodium is lost through sweat a great deal more than the other 'lytes.


EDIT: a key point is that excessive sweating and/or salt residue isn't necessarily a bad thing -- see your doctor if you're concerned -- but being aware and replenishing is good.
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Old 05-11-05, 01:14 PM   #6
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Some people lose more sodium when they sweat than others. If you train in the heat, your body gets better at retaining electrolytes.

The only thing to watch out for is not to run out of electrolytes on a long ride. I've seen riders whose shorts were stained with salt, and they always seem to have trouble with muscle cramping. If you're of the salty type, remember to consume salt during a ride. Most sports drinks have salt in them, and you can carry salt supplements. I carry Endurolytes on long and hot rides.
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Old 05-11-05, 03:15 PM   #7
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There's a book on cycling nutrition that I have, forgot the author's name (Rafort?)... anyway, he said (and he's an M.D.) that under extreme conditions you can lose 1,000 mg of sodium per hour. That's why you get "crusty". You literally have grams of salt crusting your skin & clothes.

Sports drinks generally have small amounts of sodium... 75 - 100 mg per 8 oz serving. So to replenish 1,000 mg of lost sodium, you'd need to drink 80 oz of Gatorade per hour? Uh-uh, ain't going to happen, you can't take more than 32 oz per hour.

If you really get into some sodium losses, you are going to have to majorly replenish with some fluid or food that has 100s of mg of sodium per serving... tomato juice, V-8 juice, pickles, etc.

I think Endurolytes have 100 mg sodium per cap.
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Old 05-12-05, 01:28 PM   #8
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If you're concerned, go see a doctor about it. If you're not having a problem, but just are curious about it, then I probably wouldn't worry too much. When I get back from a long ride my dog can't stop licking me because I am very salty. I can't actually see crystals, but it's there nonetheless. If you sweat more than an average person, I would expect what you are describing. Just make sure you are drinking enough.
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Old 05-12-05, 02:12 PM   #9
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My husband always has white salt crust all over after a ride on a hot day. Then, he starting having problems with cramps. Put him on Endurolytes capsules and poof! No cramps. Gave some to a friend a few weeks ago who was starting to cramp on a ride. Fixed the problem in about 15 mins.
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Old 05-12-05, 02:26 PM   #10
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Racing stripes on my Chamois, what does it mean?
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Old 05-12-05, 03:27 PM   #11
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Racing stripes on my Chamois, what does it mean?
this thread is about SALT... not your skid marks!
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Old 05-13-05, 05:30 AM   #12
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It's no biggie - and not indicative. If it is a hot, humid day everyone sweats more and things can get pretty crusty. And some people just plain sweat more.
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Old 05-13-05, 11:22 AM   #13
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There is nothing to be concered about. You sweat proportionally to the amount of exertion, the temperature, and humidity level. The white residue is primarily salt that is a component of sweat. When you do a long ride, much of the perspiration evaporates in the wind leaving the salt behind.

The salt in your perspiration is the reason that salt is added to sports drinks.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:28 AM   #14
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To all of you that sweat a lot (like me) you don't have to be too concerned but you should be aware, because it can kill you!
It's called hyponatremia (Low sodium), google it, marathon runners die from it. Symptoms often get confused with dehidration and more water is given which makes it worse.

To be clear, sweating a lot is not the problem, it's drinking too much water or sports drink with not enough sodium (salt).

Look at this article:
Hyponatremia - Water Intoxication - The danger of too much water
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/h...ponatremia.htm

or this one:

http://www.ultracycling.com/nutritio...natremia2.html

"As little as 2% dehydration adversely affects performance[1]. But as little as 2% overhydration can cause life-threatening hyponatremia"
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Old 10-06-09, 07:24 AM   #15
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Maybe that's why water alone in those bottles does not do much. Since riding is an exercise, there's a lot of replenishing going on.

I often hear that some riders carry two bottles with one just water. To me, that does not make much sense.
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Old 10-06-09, 11:07 AM   #16
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I have never seen another person who sweats more than I do. I will have white marks on my clothes after the sweat dries, but I've never seen salt residue on my skin.
I don't think this residue thing is a function of the amount a person sweats. I think it's the saltyness of a person's sweat that is the issue.
Just my opinion.

Last edited by sknhgy; 10-06-09 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-06-09, 12:22 PM   #17
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Maybe that's why water alone in those bottles does not do much. Since riding is an exercise, there's a lot of replenishing going on.

I often hear that some riders carry two bottles with one just water. To me, that does not make much sense.
The purpose of drinking water is to replenish the fluid lost during sweating. It helps keep you cool. Any ride where you are only drinking 2 bottles of water is unlikely to cause your Sodium levels to drop to a dangerous level regardless of what you put in your bottles. So it's just a personal preference.
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Old 10-08-09, 02:15 PM   #18
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On long rides, or really hot days 90+ degF, I have one 24 oz bottle with water and another with sport drink. If you use the powder it's really cheap. I occasionally sip on the gatorate to replenish lost electrolytes and it has a little sugar in it for fuel. Generally, the straight water is more satisfying to sip on. After hot rides my helmet strap is caked up with salt. This is normal. If this stops after heavy sweating, then you have problem.
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Old 10-08-09, 11:11 PM   #19
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I have never seen another person who sweats more than I do.
Ride with me sometime. I was known for leaving pools of sweat during military exercises. All of my gear had/has salt stains. I had to put TT bottle holders on my bike so I can carry 4 full-sized water bottles. I need to drink 2 full bottles an hour in moderate heat.

I've always gotten headaches from electrolyte loss and drank Gatorade by the gallon. The Hammer capsules don't have enough for me so I use the S!Caps. Finally no more headaches.

Listen to your body. It will tell you what you need.
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Old 10-18-09, 10:17 AM   #20
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I have never seen another person who sweats more than I do. I will have white marks on my clothes after the sweat dries, but I've never seen salt residue on my skin.
I don't think this residue thing is a function of the amount a person sweats. I think it's the saltyness of a person's sweat that is the issue.
Just my opinion.
I also sweat a lot. On a real hot day I've lost 8 lbs on a 2 hour ride, in spite of drinking 5+ lb of water.

On the residue thing, it's about the amount of salt, could be lots of dilute sweat or less sweat at higher salt concentration. That salt does need to be replaced. If you are drinking water, it is highly unlikely you are getting too much salt.

Being cheap, I make my own electrolyte drink to keep the cramps away: lite salt (a mix of potassium & sodium salts) + Kool-Aid & sugar for taste and a little extra energy.
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Old 10-18-09, 09:21 PM   #21
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I don't think it's a big deal. I get salty crust on my face and hlmet straps after almost every ride and I'm still here.
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Old 10-19-09, 08:42 AM   #22
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Stop eating salt and products that contain it, its poison and your clearly over indulging if its coming out your pores...
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Old 10-19-09, 11:05 AM   #23
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Some things to consider

First off, everyone will have virtually the same levels of salt in their blood. You do not sweat out the excess in your diet. You excrete it in your urine.

Secondly, some people sweat more than others. I am quite comfortable in pretty low temperatures. In warmer weather I sweat profusely.

Generally, I sweat so much that I do not get the salt residue you mention. The sweat flows off. On rides in warmer weather, I just drink a bunch of water to avoid dehydration.

But when I lived in MI and rode on cold days, the sweat used to dry on my face. I used to get home and there was this "grit" on my face. I figured out that it was not a "grit" at all, it was just dried sweat.

Even with my sweating, my sodium levels are fine and I do not eat excessive amounts of it.
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Old 10-19-09, 11:32 AM   #24
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i dont know about you but when i sweat that much, i feel damn good about myself.
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Old 10-19-09, 01:34 PM   #25
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Stop eating salt and products that contain it, its poison and your clearly over indulging if its coming out your pores...
I discussed this concern with my MD. He suggested more salt, especially while riding for two hours or more.

Telling endurance athletes to stop consuming salt is silly.

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