By: Helen Mino Faukner
We’ve all heard that one of the main causes of dehydration isn’t necessarily not drinking enough water, but an imbalance of electrolytes. This can be a big cause of ‘bonking’ or cramping during longer hard efforts. But how do we know what’s too much and what’s too little when it comes to electrolyte amounts?
A new product that Tahoe Mountain Sports started carrying that I’ve used extensively is LMNT electrolyte mix. Some of the reasons I love it are that it doesn’t contain any sugar (the rest of my nutrition on runs is pretty much just sugar). It also has the highest amount of salt that I’ve found in any electrolyte mix. I’ve found that with a lot of other electrolyte brands they taste yummy but that’s about the only benefit because the amount of electrolytes is so low.
LMNT contains 1,000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium, and 60 mg of magnesium. Also important, LMNT chose to leave out calcium and phosphorus.
You might think that 1g of sodium is a lot, which is a lot more than most other brands. This 2011 JAMA Study found that about 5 grams of sodium per day was the sweet spot for minimizing heart attack and stroke risk. If you’re drinking 1 gram in a single serving that’s a great starting point to get you to 5 grams throughout the day. Note though that 5 grams is a starting point and depending on your lifestyle and diet many people require more. If you’re interested in reading more about the FDA’s guidance on sodium intake and why this might not be in our interest you can find more information here.
The amount of potassium and magnesium were also decided in this formula because it is 1/5th of the amount certain studies recommend. This is the same with the amount of sodium added to each serving. As always getting essential nutrients and vitamins through a whole foods diet is the best way to go, but sometimes we need a little help getting there. LMNT doesn’t contain calcium because most people are already getting the RDA through their diet and the same goes for phosphorus.
So far my favorite flavors have been watermelon salt and citrus salt, be warned with 1g of salt per serving surprise they taste very salty. Sometimes I’ll put one serving in two bottles to offset the saltiness. Unflavored is also a great option if you’re mixing it in with other liquid calorie mixes such as Tailwind or Skratch Superfuel. I’ve found that the saltiness helps my bottles not taste so sweet.
As always different nutrition and hydration practices work differently for different people. LMNT has been a game changer for me and my hydration, but might not work for you. I would recommend trying it on a shorter run/effort and really take notice of how your body is feeling. Tahoe Mountain Sports sells individual servings so you can test how it works for you and a flavor that you like!
Author: Helen Mino Faukner
Helen loves spending time outside and standing on the tops of things. She spends most of her time outside during the summer trail running and mountain biking here and there. During winter, she loves skiing! You can find her downhill, backcountry, and skate skiing.