I don't understand how electrolyte tablets are useful when they contain such low electrolytes

Jools Holland

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Hi. I've been looking up electrolyte tablets so that I can keep my electrolyte levels stable throughout the day (as I sweat a lot when I move around all day - I don't know why) and also for when I play tennis. However, almost every pack of electrolyte tablets (that from what I can understand are supposed to be dissolved in around 500 - 600 mls of water) contain such a small concentration of electrolytes that I don't understand how they are useful when you lose such a high amount of electrolytes through your sweat.

For instance, every tablet I've seen contains anywhere from around 174 to around 320 mgs of sodium. But from what I can understand, most people will lose around 500 to 1000 mg of sodium through your sweat with just one hour of intense exercise, but on one of these packets it says that just one tablet is enough to replenish electrolyte levels for 90 minutes of intense exercise. But if you did 90 minutes of intense exersise, wouldn't that mean that you would lose around 750 to 1500 mgs of sodium, which is much larger than 174 to 320 mgs?

I'm sure there's something very obvious I'm not understanding about this because most of these products have very high reviews and people seem to find them useful.
 

TofuRobot

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Why do you think that sweating just waking around during the day means you need extra electrolytes? Usually that's not indicated for people unless you're running long distances out something similar. Perhaps there an underlying cause for your excessive perspiration. Have you talked to a doctor about it?
 
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Jools Holland

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Why do you think that sweating just waking around during the day means you need extra electrolytes? Usually that's not indicated for people unless you're running long distances out something similar. Perhaps there an underlying cause for your excessive perspiration. Have you talked to a doctor about it?

Because I'm aware that you lose electrolytes when you sweat. Also, I think I get hyponatremia easily. I had a problem for a while where I kept getting diarrhea in the middle of eating, or immediately after eating, having lethargy, excessive thirst and excessive urination, and all of these problems seemed to immediately and consistently go away when I started putting salt on my meals. I've been doing this for several weeks and all of these problems have not come back. Also I think I lose more salt than other people because I sweat a lot just from walking from place to place, or even when I'm not moving around in a hot climate (it can be very hot and/or humid where I live).

I think it might have to do with the fact that when I sleep very poorly I can feel hot all the time and that causes me to sweat more than usual. I've had bad sleeping problems for a while (waking up maybe around 10 to 20 times a night) that I don't know how to fix. I went to have a sleep study a few weeks ago and am waiting for the results.

Also, regardless of whether you think I am losing a lot of sodium. I was more interested in understanding how electrolyte tablets that you can buy are supposed to be sufficient for replenishing sodium levels after intense exercise when they have very low electrolyte contents. From what I can understand, people tend to lose between 500 to 1000 mgs of sodium per hour of intense exercise, but the tablets I have seen only contain anywhere from around 174 to 320 mgs. I presume there's something I don't understand because I understand that even when these tablets have such a low sodium content they seem to be useful for people who do intense exercise (judging by the mostly positive reviews that most of these products receive).