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Thread: Sodium

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Louisville, KY


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    Hi there,
    I'm kinda new and haven't posted much, but I do need some help with this.

    I have a huge sodium intake (4000mg/day average), I have a low potassium intake (1000mg/day average). Sodium should be around 2500 and potassium should be around 4000. I have a lot of muscle cramping and soreness.

    So, my question is not about my diet. I eat healthy for the most part; just a ton of sodium. I'm working on that, so don't scold me

    My question is this: Since my sodium is so high, when I'm riding in the heat, do I really need to replace it? I am sensitive to muscle fatigue and general fatigue when I'm riding in the heat, even if it's only 20 mins or so. I am overweight but I'm not out of shape. Been working out for a long time. When I ride in the heat, I do have a salt crust on my face, arms, etc. So, what I would like to do is only take in the potassium, calcium, magnesium through an electrolyte drink by EmergenC. They make one without sodium because most diets are high in sodium.

    But, is it the lack of sodium that causes the fatigue, or is it the quick DROP or CHANGE in sodium levels, whether or not your normal sodium levels are high? Would it be a problem, if I sweat a lot, to forego taking in more sodium as I workout, or should I leave it in my electrolyte drink and just continue to lower it in my diet (which I will work on with/without sodium in my drink mix)?

    Or, another option, are there drinks/mixes/tablets that have sodium, but have more potassium than sodium to balance me out?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Quite honestly, your best bet is probably to have a consult with a nutritionist. There are some really wise folks out there who can make sense of requirements and diet patterns and suggest great solutions for issues.

    Your insurance should cover at least one consult if it is recommended by your primary care doctor.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I'll second the nutritionist.

    Some people actually just need more salt - you may find that what you think is a high intake is actually correct for your body, and you may need to continue to replace it while exercising. I don't have the expertise to tell you if that's what you specifically need, just speaking from experience.

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    West MI
    I sweat like a horse and I've had people comment on the relatively high amount of salt crust I end up covered in (face, clothes, etc....my cats love when I walk in the door like a human salt lick after a ride or run). I pop Endurolytes like candy on long, hot weather rides. I'm super prone to cramping and gave up on Marathons, as a result. I just couldn't get enough fluids or electrolytes in while running for that length of time.
    run/bike log

    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I agree that you are safest discussing this with your MD. I started a super low sodium diet two years ago. 800mg/day max. My doc said that I should supplement that if I was going to do any endurance events....but should be fine otherwise. Also said....hardly anyone with a "typical" American diet should have to supplement Sodium.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    How many miles are you riding on average each day, for your "extra" sodium intake?

    I totally agree with Seajay, the typical North American diet already has alot of salt because many of our processed/packaged foods have salt already ....even though we may not know it. For instance, Cheerios does...

    Try to remember that other parts of the world are hotter and more humid for much longer time periods than Kentucky. People there don't voluntarily make and eat salty foods just to make up that so-called deficiency. Think about the farm workers working out in those tropical countries under the bright sun.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-21-2011 at 01:39 PM.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Do see a nutritionist or a sports medicine doctor for factual advice.

    My little knowledge on the matter is that your body needs a balance of potassium and sodium. Imbalance between the two can cause all sorts of havoc with your body. I just know it as sodium potassium pump in cellular metabolism. It's very important to nerve function.

    I also know that too much potassium in your body can be very dangerous as it can cause the heart to stop functioning.

    Again please see a nutritionist or a specialist in sports medicine.



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