Salts and Sports: The Importance of Salt Supplementation for Athletes  

sport and motion
13 November 2023
יבגני וייסברג, רוקח, מנהל רפואי, סולגאר סופהרב
Bottom line, what’s most important for you to know?
  • The body maintains a normal balance of fluids and salts. The balance might be disturbed in case of increased perspiration and entails health risks.
  • While engaging in prolonged physical activity such as long-distance running, drinking water exclusively might cause a decrease in sodium concentration, which could be dangerous.
  • Increased perspiration while engaging in physical activity that lasts over two hours, causes the body to lose fluids and salts. This is why endurance athletes take salt capsules in addition to drinking water, in order to maintain the balance.
מלחים וספורט

Salt pills for maintaining a proper balance of salts ensures the athletes health, prevents muscle spasms and weakness and contributes to better performance. Curious to know how? Keep reading.

Salts are extremely important for our health and proper functioning our body’s various systems. They’re an important component is blood plasma, lymphatic fluids and extracellular fluids. Salts have great importance in muscular and nerval cell activity, in maintaining cellular volume, nerval conduction processes and the functioning of the heart. Our bodies constantly strive to maintain a balance (homeostasis) and a proper salts concentration, which are co-dependent for their activity.

Increased perspiration: loss of salts

Salts are lost through urine and perspiration and are returned to the body through food and drink. During prolonged physical activity or exposure to heat, our bodies lose salts mostly by perspiration. Increased perspiration causes an increased loss of salts, which is why there’s a need to replenish the body’s salt supply in order to maintain the body’s required balance, in addition to drinking fluids.

Who should take salt capsules?

During prolonged aerobic physical activity, such as long-distance running or cycling, it’s crucially important to consume salts in your daily diet and taking salts medicinally during activities that last over 2-3 hours, in addition to your sugar and salt intake. The disruption of your normal salt balance, in addition to damaging your athletic performance, also entails health hazards. That’s the reason athletes incorporate salt pills into prolonged training.

Danger: sodium deficiency

One of the greatest concerns for endurance athletes is the occurrence of hyponatremia, a situation in which sodium concentration in the blood drops to a level lower than 135 cubic milliliters (cc) per liter. Hyponatremia might be caused due to heightened loss of sodium through perspiration, which causes a dwindling of the body’s sodium reserves and might lead to a life-threatening state. In this case, drinking low-sodium water can even worsen the dilution, that’s why it’s important to take salts in addition to drinking fluids.

Athletes who engage in prolonged activities, such as long-distance runners and cyclists, are in the highest risk factor group for suffering hyponatremia and must maintain a normal balance of salts in their bodies during and after workouts.

How to maintain a normal balance of salts

it’s recommended to supplement the balance of salts in the body during aerobic physical activities that last over two hours. It’s possible to consume salts through eating sodium-rich foods (such as pretzels, crackers or salty cheeses), consuming isotonic beverages or salt capsules. Maintaining a normal balance of salts ensures the athlete’s health, prevents muscle spasms, weakness and fatigue and guarantees a better level of performance.

Salt capsules or isotonic beverages?

The advantage of taking salt pills over isotonic beverages is the ability to control the level of salts and supplements and required minerals – sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium more accurately. These are all important for the regular activity of nerval cells, muscles, and heart and vascular systems.


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