Do You Have Hyponatremia?

Do You Have Hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia is a sodium deficiency typically caused by over hydration or excessive sweating and rehydration without electrolyte replenishment. It may also be caused by illnesses and medications (which I am not addressing in this post).

 

Why should you replenish electrolytes when you sweat?

The ADA recommends a maximum of 2400 mg/day of sodium, the average american consumes between 3000-5000 mg of sodium per day. 85% of  this is through processed food. At first glace, it looks like you shouldn’t seek extra sodium.

85% of sodium intake comes from processed food, typically in unhealthy forms like MSG

 

However, the average person excretes 500 mg of sodium per pound of sweat. When you factor in the standard deviation, 95% of people excrete between 200-1100 mg of sodium in each pound of sweat. 1 gallon of sweat weighs roughly 8 lbs, which can contain up to 8800 mg of sodium.

 

American football players frequently loose upward of 15 lbs during a game. Some players frequently loose 20 lbs per game. This means that a player could loose up to 22,000 mg of sodium during the game.

 

Couple this with the fact that most people that workout are health conscious, and therefor avoid processed foods (eliminating 85% of their sodium intake) and you have a potential recipe for disaster.  I am not being dramatic when I say disaster, several marathoners die every year from hyponatremia

 

This does not just apply to competitive athletes. Studies show that outdoor workers, and those that work in hot environments, loose between 10,000-15,000 mg of sodium per shift.

for more, click http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267797/

 

Is this really dangerous?

In short, yes. Symptoms of hyponatremia include:

  • nauseau and vomiting
  • headache
  • confusion
  • fatigue, loss of energy
  • restlessness and irritability
  • muscle weakness, spasms and cramps
  • seizures
  • coma
  • death

for more see http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/basics/symptoms/con-20031445

 

Interestingly

Your body will actively (pumps grab and carry sodium from the gut to the blood, even against concentration gradients) and passively absorb sodium. However, if serum (blood) sodium levels are too low, you do not effectively absorb water. This is because water absorption is primarily through osmosis. So sodium is vital for hydration. In fact, low sodium levels actually impact all the way down to the cellular levels, as insufficient sodium levels cause cells to dehydrate and shrivel.

 

Cell hydration through osmosis

 

Do I need to supplement sodium?

Maybe. There are a few things to consider before deciding:

  • Do you typically loose more than 3 pounds over the course of the day due to sweating?
  • Do you normally avoid processed foods?
  • Are you a mineral excreter?
    • These are people on the higher end of the spectrum for sodium excretion.
    • It is typical for you to see a slight to heavy chalk on your clothes or skin after sweating.
    • Your skin or facial hair tastes very salty while sweating or after the sweat has dried.

 

 

IMG_20160713_102255160

What looks like fading is actually a slight chalking effect after the sweat has dried. This more evident on the bottom of the bill which has had no sun exposure.

What looks like fading is actually a slight chalking effect after the sweat has dried. This more evident on the bottom of the bill which has had no sun exposure. This is even more evident for the heaviest mineral excreters.

or

  • Did you loose more than 8 pounds due to sweating?
  • Do you have any symptoms of hyponatremia?

 

If you answered yes to all of the first three or either of the last two questions, then the answer is yes.

 

What should I supplement with?

Typically, if you have only lost a few pounds and have no symptoms of hyponatremia, a sports drink or two is plenty.

I recommend Propel for a zero calorie option.

If you have lost several pounds or have any symptoms of Hyponatremia, a sports drink or even several sports drinks will not be enough. If you are local to the Charleston area, Bana is the best option.

Best local option to combat hyponatremia

Otherwise, you can either add a few teaspoons of salt to your sports drink, or add Gatorlytes to your sports drink.

 

Can be added to a sports drink to make it Bana comparable for combating hyponatremia.

 

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