Shattering Myths About Sodium

Shattering hydration myths, how important is sodium?

1 Min Read

Over the years, there’s been a lot of controversy over sodium and sports performance. In the old days trainers used to give athletes salt pills thinking that it would help recovery. However, the western diet is already loaded with salt. In a recent Saint Louis University Study two groups of endurance athletes underwent two hours of exercise, which led to litres of sweat loss.

One group received sodium supplementation and the other placebo. The study results showed no advantage from sodium supplementation in thermoregulation or athletic performance. In fact it may have shown the opposite as two participants who were given the sodium supplementation started suffering stomach cramping.

In most circumstances, the sodium lost during exercise is more than made up for in the diet. Remember, excess sodium leads to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The only caveat to this would be ultra-endurance exercise, that is, efforts that last for over three hours. In these cases some sodium is needed to prevent hyponatremia, which is sodium deficiency in the blood.