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Old 12-06-11, 02:02 PM   #1
trobinson017
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Can you consume too much electrolytes?

My cycling has ramped up considerably the past 8 months. I try to get in a quick 15 mile ride during weekday lunch hours and typically do between 35-45 miles on Saturdays. I'm doing my first metric century in 25 years this weekend. The past 12 weeks I've started using Nuun type of electrolyte tables in one water bottle (plain water in the other). I consume both alternately during the course of a ride. I've also started eating a sports bar mid-ride (PureFit, PowerBar, etc). From what I learned the sports bars include electrolyte components. So my question is, am I taking in too many electrolytes between the water bottle mixture and the sports bar? Should I be cautious about how much sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. I take in per hour? BTW, I live in Florida where even today it was pretty hot out, so sweating heavily is a given. My diet otherwise is healthy (except the beer!).
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Old 12-06-11, 03:25 PM   #2
Bill in Houston
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I'm pretty sure you can take in too many. I'm not sure if you are or not. How much sodium does it all add up to each day?
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Old 12-06-11, 04:24 PM   #3
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That's a tough question to answer. I don't track all the sodium in everything I eat. The bars I eat contain an average of 6% RDV (recommended daily value). The drink additives, on the other hand, range from 14% RDV to 38% RDV. I do eat lightly salted nuts just about every day (mostly cashews, almonds, pecans). I don't add salt to my food after cooking, but when I cook I may add approx. 1 tsp of sea salt to the dish for flavor. After I posted my query I thought "why not Google the question?". So I did and the livestrong.com site has some good info on it. They pretty much say it's very, very hard to over do electrolytes with drinks and bars. You'd have to drink like a gallon in one sitting to put yourself into danger. From the sound of it, I'm safe.
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Old 12-06-11, 11:52 PM   #4
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If you are really thirsty all the time you're on the bike, or if you have to pee every hour, yes, probably too much electrolytes. If not, not. I try to use enough electrolytes that I get thirsty enough to want to drink enough water that I have to pee about every two hours, maybe three. If you're somewhere in that ballbark, you're probably fine. You can also pee on a special stick or strip, but I think the metric I mention works well enough.

Search for "urine sticks" on Amazon.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:07 AM   #5
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Back off.

You probably don't need anywhere near that much. I think I once took two Nuuns in a day, but that was exceptional -- 7 hours' riding on a 90/90 day after a week of similar rides. The rest of that tour I'd pop one every day or two. For 15 miles a day, I'd suggest you skip it entirely and see what happens. My guess is nothing.

If I guessed wrong, and you start getting some signs of hyponatremia and dehydration, then take some salt, or add it to your diet.
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Old 12-07-11, 10:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
If you are really thirsty all the time you're on the bike, or if you have to pee every hour, yes, probably too much electrolytes. If not, not. I try to use enough electrolytes that I get thirsty enough to want to drink enough water that I have to pee about every two hours, maybe three. If you're somewhere in that ballbark, you're probably fine. You can also pee on a special stick or strip, but I think the metric I mention works well enough.

Search for "urine sticks" on Amazon.
Great info! I was unaware of the urine sticks. I may try that. Thanks!
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Old 12-07-11, 10:34 AM   #7
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Back off.

You probably don't need anywhere near that much. I think I once took two Nuuns in a day, but that was exceptional -- 7 hours' riding on a 90/90 day after a week of similar rides. The rest of that tour I'd pop one every day or two. For 15 miles a day, I'd suggest you skip it entirely and see what happens. My guess is nothing.

If I guessed wrong, and you start getting some signs of hyponatremia and dehydration, then take some salt, or add it to your diet.
Thanks for the info. The reason I started using the water bottle tablets (CamelBack Elixir and SportAktive) was due to feeling weak and lightheaded about 3/4 the way through a 36 mile weekly ride. Once I started using them, no more problems. I use the sports bars more for nutrition during the ride. I just found out about their electrolyte components, hence my original query. What I think I'll do for my weekly ride (now 36-50 miles) I'll use the tablets but replace the bars with regular granola or something with less sodium, potassium, etc. I'm doing a fully supported metric century this Saturday so that'll be a good test of what my body needs during such a ride. Oh, and FWIW, I only use 1 tablet in a water bottler per day of riding, even tho the product says to use 2 in a single water bottle.

Last edited by trobinson017; 12-07-11 at 10:44 AM. Reason: additional info
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Old 12-07-11, 01:37 PM   #8
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If you experience symptoms of hypernatremia, then you've over-consumed on electrolytes. Otherwise, you're probably getting more than you need but not enough to worry about medically.
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Old 12-07-11, 02:55 PM   #9
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If you experience symptoms of hypernatremia, then you've over-consumed on electrolytes. Otherwise, you're probably getting more than you need but not enough to worry about medically.
Wow!! No, no, I'm not suffereing from hypernatremia! Dang, that's some pretty severe symptoms. Thanks for that link!!
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