Sodium and Potassium in Sports Drinks

With regular sports drinks and gels or energy bars, I can’t seem to get the right amount of sodium and potassium.  Any tips for adding it? 

It’s difficult to get the 400+ milligrams sodium and 100+ milligrams potassium per hour needed per hour during intense training with standard sports drinks and bars.  First, take a look at individual brands and determine which ones will work the best for you – there can be a huge difference in the amounts of electrolytes from one brand to another.  For example, Powerbar gels have 200 mg sodium while most other brands contain ~50 mg.

Then, to close the gap, I recommend adding sodium and potassium with electrolyte supplements, electrolyte drinks, salt or sodium/potassium combination salts.

A few to try:

  •  S-Caps (per capsule): 341 mg sodium, 21 mg potassium
  • Hammer Endurolytes (per capsule): 40 mg sodium, 25 mg potassium, 50 mg calcium, 25 mg magnesium
  • NUUN (1 tablet): 360 mg sodium, 100 mg potassium, 12 mg calcium, 25 mg magnesium
  • Camelbak Elixir (1 tablet): 420 mg sodium, 70 mg potassium, 33 mg calcium, 18 mg magnesiu
  • Salt (per 1/8 teaspoon): 300 mg sodium
  • Morton’s Lite Salt (1/8 tsp): (145 mg sodium and 175 mg potassium)

You can use these products mixed into, or alongside your normal training foods.  I prefer these over really high milligram salt tablets as sodium is retained better, better tolerated, and more balanced with other electrolytes when small amounts are taken consistently rather than a large amount at one time.

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

  • Anonymous

    Huge fan of Endurolytes….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelli-Myers-Jennings/571783190 Kelli Myers Jennings

      Yes, I like Endurolytes, too. Sorry for the delay in my response! It does take quite a few capsules to get adequate electrolytes with them for long rides.  This is good because they are digested and used well in small amounts (compared to a whole bunch of sodium at one, for example).  It can be a bit cumbersome for athletes to remember to take them throughout the ride.  But, overall, great product.