If you are an avid long-distance runner, you are probably used to sweating quite a bit.
When we sweat, we lose more than water. Salt also rushes out of our body, and that can cause an electrolyte imbalance if we aren’t careful.
When we lose electrolytes, it can cause muscle cramps, severe dehydration, and vomiting or diarrhea.
To prevent those symptoms, we must increase our sodium intake. Let’s look at how electrolyte tablets, commonly referred to as salt tablets, can help us.
Salt Tablets Explained
Salt tablets are dissolvable tablets that contain high quantities of sodium chloride to replenish electrolytes in the body.
Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have electricity to give your body energy.
You lose 99% water and 1% salt and fat when you sweat. That salt contains electrolytes that help your body to function correctly.
If you don’t take care of an electrolyte imbalance, it can lead to severe dehydration and other health risks.
This is where salt tablets come into play. While sports drinks can replenish electrolytes, they often contain plenty of sugar.
Salt tablets are essentially an electrolyte drink without added sugar. They include the right amount of sodium chloride to create an electrolyte balance in your body.
If you running long distances is your jam, this is a great way to help prevent muscle cramps and dehydration.
When to use An Electrolyte Drink
Before you start tossing back electrolyte drinks, let’s figure out if you need to use one.
In general, if you run for less than 60 minutes, you might not need to replenish electrolytes. It depends on the amount you sweat. Some people sweat more than others, and there’s not much you can do to change that.
The more fit you are, the quicker you will work up a sweat. Running in scorching weather in the heart of the summer means a lot more sweat than usual.
While it seems like we are stating the obvious, it’s essential to take these things into account, so you don’t have too much salt in your body.
Too much sodium leads to things like high blood pressure and other issues.
If you know that you sweat more than the average person, there is a chance that a salt tablet might be what you need.
Best Salt Tablets for Runners
Once you decide that you need to increase your sodium intake after long runs, it’s time to decide on the right salt tablet.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites.
Skratch Labs created a hydration drink mix rather than a tablet to replenish electrolytes in the body.
While it’s more expensive than some alternatives at $39 for a pack of 20, runners everywhere swear by the natural taste and high quality ingredients.
Dr. Allen Lim, one of the founders of Skratch Labs, created this hydration powder with the intent of keeping an electrolyte balance in the body and being easy on the stomach.
Some artificial ingredients can cause an upset stomach so Lim sweetened the Skratch Labs hydration drink with real fruit.
It tastes great and is light on the stomach.
It’s ideal for long runs as it has more sugar than most competitors because of the natural fruit included for better taste.
While an excellent salt tablet for runners or active individuals, Rehydr8 is known for helping anyone who is dealing with an electrolyte imbalance due to sickness or poor health.
This effervesent salt tablet comes in three flavors to enjoy–lemon-lime, orange, and apple blackcurrant.
It contains 1.38 miligrams of sodium and 0.78 miligrams of potassium along with other active ingredients to help when you lose electrolytes.
These salt tablets are great because they are extremely affordable at $15.99 for 20 tablets. It’s as easy as popping one into your filtered water bottle and off you go.
The Zym salt tablets are excellent for restoring electrolytes for runners or any active individual.
Zym has expanded its product to feature tablets that boost immunity too.
That is a definite win in today’s world. Not only do they have sodium and potassium to increase electrolytes but they feature vitamin C, B6, and B12 to boost your immune system.
Zym contains no sugar so runners who want to avoid extra carbs will love that feature.
They also feature salt tablets that have caffeine for those that need an extra kick start to their run. There are various flavors and ten tablets are $8.
We like Zym for their selection.
How to Use Salt Tablets
Different salt tablets may recommend different things when it comes to when to use your tablets.
In general, it’s best to bring the salt tablets with you during your run. Refueling during a long distance run makes for a better performance.
Some people prefer to use salt tablets after their run, but it’s better to maintain hydration throughout your run.
It’s an easier hill to climb rather than becoming dehydrated and then having to get re-hydrated.
By maintaining your electrolyte balance and sodium concentration in your blood, your body can perform better and avoid things like cramping.
Risks of Salt Tablets
Like any supplement, there are some risks to consuming salt tablets. For the most part, side effects occur when someone is using salt tablets and they don’t need to be.
If you aren’t losing many electrolytes, it’s best to steer clear of increasing your sodium intake. That can lead to high blood pressure, swelling in the legs, increase heart rate, muscle twitching, or dizziness.
If the sodium levels in your body are already high, electrolyte supplements are not for you.
It’s when low blood sodium levels occur after long runs with profuse sweating that you need to take a salt tablet.
As always, check with your doctor before taking any electrolyte supplements, especially if you already have any health conditions.
If electrolyte replacement is apparent for you after running on the best treadmill or hitting the pavement outside, then dive into any of these sodium supplements to aid you in better muscle function and overall health.