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E-tabs, Endurolytes, etc.: Help or Hinderance?

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E-tabs, Endurolytes, etc.: Help or Hinderance?

Old 06-07-11, 01:37 PM
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goose70
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E-tabs, Endurolytes, etc.: Help or Hinderance?

Some fellow bikers have told me that sports drinks heavy in electrolytes can actually cause your performance to decrease relative to simply drinking plain water. The reason, as I vaguely understand it, is that your body typically has a more-than-sufficient electrolyte supply for at least several hours of hard exercise. Adding more electrolytes only diverts water from where it’s most needed to places where it’s less immediately critical (any more specific than that and I’ll get it wrong).

This news comes after I stocked up on Endurolyte electrolyte supplements, which I have used religiously in my water bottles. Do any of you know of any current articles on this topic to which you can point me?

I plan to pose the same question to Hammer Nutrition to see how they defend their Endurolytes, and to get a better feel for whether they recommend taking them if I’m already taking Hammer Gel and/or Perpetuem (methinks they’d like me to take as many of their products as possible, but we’ll see).

P.S.: This past weekend I joined a group of tri-geeks on a 102 mile charity ride through some fairly hilly terrain. I ate a Lara Bar about an hour before start, Hammer Gel shortly after the start and then about an hour later, and then drank Perpetuem thereafter. I also had an Endurolyte tab in my second water bottle throughout the ride. It was not smoking fast since I didn’t want to drop my very-fit-but-less-cycling-inclined partners, but it was nevertheless a solid, 6-hr, pace including two short stops. I finished with a lot of energy left in the tank, however, more than after any similarly long ride. This was my first 100+ ride without any solid food, and it worked out well despite the Endurolytes. The question is whether it would have worked out even better without them.
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Old 06-07-11, 01:44 PM
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I fill my water bottles with this EVERY Ride of 20 miles.-- https://www.nuun.com/#/?exn=nuunnews Fantastic sloution to cramps, and hydtration needs!
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Old 06-07-11, 01:45 PM
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Subscribed, as I'd be interested in any articles, studies, etc. in this regard as well. I suspect that like everything else, the answer is relative... climate, fitness level, temperature acclimation, pre-ride hydration level, etc. The summers here are long, hot, and humid, and you lose an enormous amount of water and salt as you ride. Because I'm on a carb-restricted diet for other reasons, I've found that Cytomax is a good compromise for me... has dextrose and electrolytes, and I do notice a positive difference when I drink it as opposed to straight water... but who knows, that may be tied more to the carbs than the electrolytes.

Enough anecdotal information... I'll await the scientific minds you were seeking.
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Old 06-07-11, 01:45 PM
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People tend to be vary in what works for them food and hydration wise, so you have to find what works for you.

Personally, I tend to have trouble cramping when it's really hot,and I'm making a hard effort more than 6 hours. Endurolyte tablets help me with cramping in that situation. Anything much shorter than that, and I don't use them.

I tend to think the bit about electrolytes hurting your performance sounds like BS, unless you've got way too much of it.

Also, there's the issue of hyponatremia. I'd rather err on the side of too much electrolyte, than too much water and not enough electrolyte.
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Old 06-07-11, 01:46 PM
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I use Endurolytes and sometimes salt tablets for 4-5 hour + rides/races.
If it's hot the the Endurolytes alone won't do it unless i eat fistfulls. They don't have much salt (or other electrolytes) in them.
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Old 06-07-11, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by i'm paramount View Post
I fill my water bottles with this EVERY Ride of 20 miles.-- https://www.nuun.com/#/?exn=nuunnews Fantastic sloution to cramps, and hydtration needs!
In my part of the country riding without Endurolytes = Cramps I don't know of any of our hard chargers (A or B group riders) who don't use some kind of electrolyte supplements on rides of over 2 hours
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Old 06-07-11, 02:02 PM
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I'd be interested to know where the OP was riding.
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Old 06-07-11, 02:04 PM
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Rule #1: Use what works best for you.

Rule #2: Realize the placebo effect is VERY strong in this situation.
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Old 06-07-11, 02:06 PM
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Personally, I need sodium to avoid cramps on long and/or hard rides. As much as I like the company, none of Hammer's stuff has much sodium in it, so I use something else.
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Old 06-07-11, 02:11 PM
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I use the Fizz's, Nuun's, and the ones Hammer make (forgot what they are called). I like the limon/lime. I feel they help with cramps (I cramp a lot) but I mainly use them to make my water taste better. One per bottle is enough to give some flavor. I depend on Hammer Endurolytes for cramps, the "Fizz" tables are just added insurance.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Rule #1: Use what works best for you.

Rule #2: Realize the placebo effect is VERY strong in this situation.
I generally agree with #1.

I can't acknowledge #2 without killing the effect.

BTW, just spoke with a Hammer rep, who of course pushed the Endurolytes (no studies to cite, but she was just the person who answers the question line), and also reminded me that Hammer Gel is pure carbs...no electrlytes. Perpetuem, on the other hand, supplies you with electrolytes for longer rides.

I'll probably continue to overthink this for a few days, then continue with what I've been doing.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:13 PM
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This thread is relevant to my interests.

Currently using GU Electrolyte Tabs. I like the flavor of the lemon/lime and the convenience.

edited to add: Just checked out Hammer Fizz tablets. Grapefruit sounds yummy.

Last edited by Ultraslide; 06-07-11 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ultraslide View Post
This thread is relevant to my interests.

Currently using GU Electrolyte Tabs. I like the flavor of the lemon/lime and the convenience.

edited to add: Just checked out Hammer Fizz tablets. Grapefruit sounds yummy.

We were given some samples from Hammer for the team, the Fizz is interesting. I tried one in a bottle today for the first time, Lemon Lime. Flavor wasn't too bad, but the fizz was long gone by the time I started drinking it.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jwible View Post
We were given some samples from Hammer for the team, the Fizz is interesting. I tried one in a bottle today for the first time, Lemon Lime. Flavor wasn't too bad, but the fizz was long gone by the time I started drinking it.
The GU tabs don't have any fizz once they've dissolved either. That's okay by me. I just like the light flavor and "It's Got Electrolytes!" :-)
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Old 06-07-11, 03:42 PM
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I use Endurolytes on any endurance rides; lots when it's hot outside, and lots on the fast 200k rides (sub-6.5 hrs). Our group finds them invaluable and an important part of on-bike nutrition. Maybe it's a placebo effect, since I've never cramped or had a problem, but surely they are a help in some way.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:42 PM
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I generally don't use electrolyte supplements on rides shorter than a few hours. I always use them on longer rides, even if it isn't warm. Everybody is different, but I tend to get cramps on really long rides (6+ hours) if I don't take some in. As someone mentioned in a previous post, it could be placebo but it works for me. Do what works for you and don't worry about it.
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Old 06-07-11, 04:04 PM
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Usually I bring a Cliff Bars Shot Blocks gummy thing with me on rides 2-4 hours. Over that, I bring more.
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Old 06-07-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
The reason, as I vaguely understand it, is that your body typically has a more-than-sufficient electrolyte supply for at least several hours of hard exercise. Adding more electrolytes only diverts water from where it’s most needed to places where it’s less immediately critical.
Great theory. That is why when an emergency doctor does a resuscitation, he infuses plain water.

Wrong! A balanced electrolyte solution is infused. Like lactated Ringer's. So don't listen to ill-informed gossip. Put electrolytes in your drink for replacement, lest you succumb, as have others, to hyponatremia.

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Old 06-07-11, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Personally, I tend to have trouble cramping when it's really hot,and I'm making a hard effort more than 6 hours. Endurolyte tablets help me with cramping in that situation. Anything much shorter than that, and I don't use them.

I tend to think the bit about electrolytes hurting your performance sounds like BS, unless you've got way too much of it.

Also, there's the issue of hyponatremia. I'd rather err on the side of too much electrolyte, than too much water and not enough electrolyte.
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I sweat quite a bit, and I get all covered with salt on the outside. ...That used to be on the inside!
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Old 06-07-11, 04:25 PM
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I tried riding regularly with Endurolytes for quite some time, then ran out and just didn't get any more for a while. I noticed absolutely no difference in performance or cramping.

However, I always use HEED or Pereptuem and gels for nutrition, so I've concluded that the Endurolytes just don't add anything. Except for very long, hot rides (like climbing centuries in hot weather), I don't bother. Even then, I can't prove it helps, but I just don't want to take the chance it might.

While, I am a huge fan of good nutrition in general, and Hammer Nutrition products in particular, I believe that the electrolyte-depletion theory of cramping is over-used. I'm more inclined to believe that many cramping situations are the result of muscle fatigue, as described here: https://www.ultracycling.com/training/cramping.html

Besides, does anyone know how long it takes for an Endurolyte capsule or other electrolyte solution to enter the blood stream and replenish the tissues affected? Is it really fast enough to make a difference in a few minutes?
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Old 06-07-11, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
BTW, just spoke with a Hammer rep, who of course pushed the Endurolytes (no studies to cite, but she was just the person who answers the question line), and also reminded me that Hammer Gel is pure carbs...no electrlytes. Perpetuem, on the other hand, supplies you with electrolytes for longer rides.
Hammer gel has some electrolytes.

I prefer to seperate my food and electrolytes so I can adjust my intake seperately to match conditions.
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Old 06-07-11, 05:13 PM
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If you produce a lot of salt, does that mean too much electrolytes?
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Old 06-07-11, 05:31 PM
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This was my first 100+ ride without any solid food, and it worked out well despite the Endurolytes
How you arrive at this conclusion is a little puzzling.
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Old 06-07-11, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
Great theory. That is why when an emergency doctor does a resuscitation, he infuses plain water.

Wrong! A balanced electrolyte solution is infused. Like lactated Ringer's. So don't listen to ill-informed gossip. Put electrolytes in your drink for replacement, lest you succumb, as have others, to hyponatremia.

Actually, the reason you use saline or LR is because it's isotonic. You could use whatever you want, really, as long as it's isotonic. That's why you can get away with things like hespan, which is electrolyte-free. LR is actually mildly acidic. And you'd never use the bag of D5LR for acute fluid resuscitation anyway because of all the dextrose.

Also, you'd have to consume HUGE amounts of water to become hyponatremic. I'm talking gallons. One thing the body does quite well on its own under the vast majority of circumstances is regulate sodium--even patients with stage 5 renal insufficiency will almost never run into problems with hyper/hyponatremia. Drink too much water and you'll probably pee a lot and little else.
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Old 06-07-11, 06:01 PM
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One thing no one's mentioned: some of these supplements can actually increase nausea for some people.

NOT a performance-enhancing effect!

YMMV.
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