Salt Tablets During Exercise
True or False: You should take salt tablets to replace salt lost during exercise.
Our bodies are already over-supplied with salt. In fact, the average person’s diet contains 20 to 50 times the amount of salt we need. Gargantuan portions of salt are served to us in fast foods, snacks, refined foods and by our own hand which automatically reaches for the salt shaker before we’ve even tasted our meal.
It’s true that heavy exercise causes salt loss, but it’s minimal compared to what we ingest. The average male has 90 grams of salt in his body. Doesn’t sound like much until you realize the average body only needs two grams a day. But let’s say you ran 20 miles in a day — you’d still only lose 2-6 grams at the most, and that’s if you ran 20 miles! Besides, most physicians and trainers have found that an overdose of salt is more harmful than a lack of it.
When your body needs salt, it will crave it causing you to seek out salty foods. What salt tablets can do is cause you serious health problems. When they hit your stomach, a reaction begins that pulls water from surrounding tissues into your stomach to dilute the salt concentration. You can become dehydrated without even knowing it and collapse. Excess salt can also cause high blood pressure with its impressive list of potentially deadly complications like heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure.
Extra salt increases urination which means a fluid loss that could lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. That fluid loss also washes out potassium and low potassium level leads to fatigue. In women, the bloating and pressure induced by salt can aggravate menstrual cramps.
Just remember that the better trained you become, the better your kidneys and sweat glands learn to retain the salt they need. Salt tablets only counteract that natural process.