4. Electrolyte Replenishment

Resupply these vital minerals to finish strong


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To keep your body functioning smoothly through a long workout or race, replenish the full spectrum of electrolytes consistently and completely.

Note: Extreme conditions may warrant higher levels of electrolyte replenishment.

Electrolytes are like the motor oil in your car: they don’t make the engine run, but they’re absolutely necessary to keep everything operating smoothly. Just as you wouldn’t wait for your engine to seize before you top off the oil, don’t wait to cramp up before you replenish electrolytes. Long before you cramp, your output will suffer from mineral depletion.

ELECTROLYTES 101

The goal of electrolyte replenishment is smooth, uninterrupted, uncompromised performance. Without the proper levels of electrolytes, your body can’t carry out critical body functions such as muscle contractions, normal heart rhythms, and nerve impulses, all of which are critical for performance and health.

SALT TABLETS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

Salt tablets are an unacceptable choice for electrolyte replenishment for two important reasons:

1. They can oversupply sodium, overwhelming your body’s ability to regulate electrolyte and fluid balance.

2. They provide only two electrolytes, sodium and chloride, when your body requires many types of electrolytes.

Your body has very effective mechanisms for monitoring and conserving its stores of sodium. Consuming excessive amounts of sodium interferes with this natural process. If your body detects a drastic increase in sodium from outside sources (salty food or electrolyte products too high in sodium), your body will stop filtering and recirculating sodium and instead begin purging the excess. The immediate results of this are swelling and elevated blood pressure, with extreme cases resulting in lethargy, muscle weakness, seizures, and even death.

SKIP THE SALTY FOODS

A similar process occurs if your diet routinely includes high levels of sodium. Consistently consuming excess sodium encourages the body to routinely dump sodium. If you’re consuming more than 2,300 milligrams per day, sodium loss during activity will be increased, increasing your risk of cramping and the need for electrolyte supplementation.

By building your diet around natural, unprocessed foods, you will consume sufficient sodium without interrupting your body’s natural regulatory processes. The average person stores 8,000 milligrams of dietary sodium in body tissues. Reducing sodium in your diet and replenishing sodium levels during exercise with the minimum amount necessary will enable your system to make the best use of your stores. Attempting to “sodium load” prior to activity triggers your body to rapidly dump it during exercise, perpetuating a cycle of high-sodium consumption and expenditure.

FULL-SPECTRUM ELECTROLYTE REPLENISHMENT

Proper electrolyte replenishment requires a consistent approach that properly balances all the necessary minerals—not just “salt.”

Endurolytes are designed to meet your body’s complete electrolyte requirements, which include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. These minerals help counter the effects of overheating, optimize bodily functions, and enhance performance, especially for activities that last longer than two hours.

We don't formulate Endurolytes to reflect the amount of electrolytes lost through exercise. As sweat loss varies greatly from person to person and depends on climate, there is no “one size fits all” approach to replenishment. It is essential that you correlate your dosing to dietary habits, the climate, and active temperatures.

When selecting your dosage, it is important to remember that the human body can assimilate only about 1/3 of the electrolytes it loses during exercise. Trying to replace more than this could cause gastric distress, edema, muscle spasms, cramping, and a host of other performancewrecking symptoms.

Hammer’s Endurolytes products help your body maintain proper electrolyte levels regardless of conditions or duration of exercise. They allow your body to perform better, especially in heat, by providing a full range of minerals in a proper balance that helps the body's normal control systems perform.

BOTTOM LINE

Salty Foods and salt tablets won't cut it when it comes to electrolyte replenishment. Instead, adopt a low-sodium approach in your daily diet with mineral-rich whole foods. During exercise, provide your body with comprehensive electrolyte support without compromising internal regulation.

COMPLETE Electrolyte Support

Salt tablets provide only two of the electrolytes your body requires. Endurolytes® provide the full spectrum, with complementary micronutrients. Precisely formulated without excess salt, refined sugars, or artificial ingredients, our full-spectrum electrolyte products support peak performance in the toughest conditions.

Calcium: Necessary for normal heart rhythm, healthy nerve transmission, and strong muscle contractions. During exercise, calcium-dependent enzymes produce energy from fatty acid and amino acid conversion.

Chloride: Critical for maintaining a proper balance and consistency of body fluids and electrolytes.

Manganese: Trace amounts help convert fatty acids and protein into energy.

Sodium: The average athlete already has a vast store of available sodium, so consuming excess amounts can cause serious problems. Endurolytes contain moderate amounts of sodium for proper replenishment.

Magnesium: Required for many of the enzymatic reactions for converting fuel to muscle energy.

Potassium: Needed for optimal concentrations of sodium.

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2 comments

When it comes to electrolyte replenishment dosing there are a number of variables that need to be accounted for:

1) The athlete’s body weight. Lighter weight athletes will almost always need fewer Endurolytes than larger, heavier athletes will.

2) The athlete’s fitness level. The fitter the athlete, the less electrolytic mineral volume will be lost via sweat. Early season training always sees higher electrolyte losses, which become less as the athlete becomes fitter.

3) The temperature conditions. What you need at 8am, for example, will be different than what you need at 2pm, simply because the weather is hotter.

4) How well or poorly the athlete is acclimated to those conditions. If I, for example, go to one of the warmer/humid Southern states from Montana (usually much cooler and drier), I will need more electrolytic mineral support than the athlete who lives in one of these states, and is thus more acclimated.

5) Physiological disposition (some athletes, for reasons unknown, simply require more electrolytes because of their unique physiology. I know an athlete (great cyclist) who’s not at all heavy and is as fit as they come. Still, there’s something in his physiology that requires him to take 5-6 Endurolytes an hour to prevent cramping issues. On the flip side, a long-time Hammer athlete won the women’s division at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. She had blood work done prior to the race to measure her electrolytes. During the race she only took 1 Endurolytes per hour. After the race was over she had another blood test done; amazingly, her post-race electrolyte profile was almost identical to her pre-race electrolyte profile.

As you can see, there are a number of variables that will determine how many Endurolytes capsules will be needed. The dose can be anywhere from 1-6 capsules per hour, with the most common dosage being 2-4 capsules an hour.

In regards to sodium’s role in creating water retention/edema-like issues, what we first have to remember is that we all start with thousands of milligrams already stored in our bodies (we store two things very well: sodium and fat). When we start exercise, we will lose a pretty good amount of sodium, perhaps 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg. The problem that athletes make is that they assume that these initial losses will occur hour after hour after hour. The body is much smarter than that, however, and there is a hormone called aldosterone whose primary responsibility (in layman’s terms) is to monitor sodium levels in the body. And when aldosterone senses that sodium losses are becoming too great to maintain normal bodily functioning, it orchestrates a complex process by which sodium is recirculated back into the system via the kidneys. In doing so, aldosterone helps conserve our stores of sodium. Now, this recirculation/conservation process cannot take care of all our needs hour after hour after hour; we need to supplement with electrolytes to work with aldosterone and help maintain adequate electrolyte status.

The mistake that many athletes make is that they overdo it with the salt/sodium. They oftentimes look at the results of a sweat test they did and notice (for example) that perhaps a couple thousand milligrams of sodium has been lost during that first hour of that sweat test. Forgetting that the body will not automatically and repeatedly lose this amount hour after hour after hour, and not taking into account aldosterone’s actions to monitor, recirculate, and conserve sodium stores, athletes will start consuming too much salt (sodium chloride) every hour. Once the body detects an increase in sodium from exogenous sources (food, salt tablets, or products too high in sodium), the hormone aldosterone signals the kidneys to stop filtering and recirculating sodium. Instead, the body will excrete even sodium than before.

The fact is that when you consume too much salt—in your diet, prior to exercise (sodium loading), or during exercise—you’re actually doing more harm than good.

Additionally, when aldosterone’s functions are neutralized courtesy of too much salt/sodium intake, another hormone called vasopressin (aka the antidiuretic hormone) will predominate and cause fluid retention. While ingesting large amounts of sodium may temporarily resolve a sodium deficiency, doing so substantially increases the risk of a number of other problems, including increased fluid storage in the form of swelling (edema) in the extremities. Consequences also include elevated blood pressure and, as mentioned earlier, an increased rate of sodium excretion (i.e., when you consume too much salt, the body is forced to excrete even more salt than it originally was). Elevated blood pressure, excess sodium excretion, and dramatically increased fluid retention all inhibit performance.

When an athlete finishes a workout or race with swollen hands, wrists, feet, or ankles, or if they have puffiness under the eyes and around the cheeks, or if their body and clothing is covered in excess amounts of salt stains, your sodium/salt intake was too high.

Every capsule of Endurolytes contains 100 mg of salt, which is comprised of 40 mg of sodium and 60 mg of chloride. This is a significantly more modest dose than most-to-all of other electrolyte products, ones where the amounts of sodium are ridiculously high. These products wrongly emphasize sodium/salt at the expense of the other minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese) that work synergistically with sodium to not only help prevent cramping, but also to ensure the proper functioning of many important bodily processes that rely, at least to some degree, on electrolytes.

The beauty of the Endurolytes product is that ALL of the minerals are impeccably well balanced, which means that they all work together much more thoroughly and effectively than a product that has far too much sodium and only trace amounts of the other important electrolytic minerals.

A dose of 6 Endurolytes capsules will supply a total of 600 mg of salt—240 mg of which is in the form of sodium, and 360 mg of which is in the form of chloride. From my own experiences in many years of ultramarathon cycling events, I have never needed more than 6 capsules hourly, and that dose was only required during the hottest weather conditions. I never had cramping issues nor did I experience the unpleasantness and performance-inhibiting effects of water retention/edema that too much salt/sodium would cause.

Steve J Born

As a sponsored athlete and supporter of all things Hammer, I rely heavily on the knowledge/advice of the experts on the Hammer staff. One question I have regarding electrolyte replacement is the recommended dosage. Your literature states edema is one of the effects of overdosing on the electrolytes, but also states there is moderate amounts of sodium in Endurolytes. Since Sodium is the main contributor to edema, can you clarify?

thanks

Ralph Schmook

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