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  1. #1
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    Issues with Electrolyte Additives

    I've recently started experimenting with water additives as I always only rode with water in the past. During a recent group ride I started talking to others about what they were drinking when I realized almost no one just had water. I have tried a few and see real improvement in recovery time and within ride performance but my problems stem around the side effects of drinking electrolyte enhanced water. They all seem to leave my mouth dry and gummy, make me constantly want to spit, produce thick phlegm, and most burn the back of my throat.

    I would like to continue using additives as I believe in the benefits but was hoping others who have experienced these might chime in with what works for them.

    I've tried Nuun and Heed dissolving tablets, GU powder, and different ratios of Gatorade and water mix but always get the same problems listed above. I know there are a lot of other products, but I don't want to keep buying a bunch of stuff that doesn't work.

  2. #2
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    It's all very personal by taste, I've been using OSMO hydration mix - works for me. Did not like some of the others, with Nuun tablets the taste varies greatly by flavor - I use those for mid ride hydration. Unfortunately you're going to have to experiment until you find the right solution for you.. pun intended.

  3. #3
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    100 cal of fruit juice and 1/8 level teaspoon of salt in a 24 oz water bottle is as good or better than anything else. Fruit juice for the sugar and flavor and table salt to help absorption and replace the sodium lost via sweat. Sodium is the only electrolyte lost in consequential amounts in sweat. The only thing missing in this is the specious claims and marketing BS, IMO.
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  4. #4
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    Weird, I have had great luck with Nuun tablets. You may just need to stick with Gu packets and clear water.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  5. #5
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebnash View Post
    They all seem to leave my mouth dry and gummy, make me constantly want to spit, produce thick phlegm, and most burn the back of my throat.
    I think Gatorade is the worst for that. Especially on a 90 summer day.
    You can try diluting your mixtures. Or carry two bottles. One with mixture and one plain water. Alternate between them to clean your mouth out.


    Here's a good article about making your own mix. Which is just as effective as the fancy name brand stuff. One thing I do is rather than use plain salt, I use lite salt. Which is a mixture of salt and potassium.
    Cycling DIY: How to Make Your Own Sports Drink | Bicycling
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  6. #6
    jkc
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    Here's a different take:
    New series: Fluid intake, dehydration and exercise | Science of Sport
    Sports drinks, sweat and electrolytes - part 1 | The Science of Sport

    I was taking Nuun for a while but all it did was make me more thirsty. After the Costco value pack was used up, I switched back to plain water and noticed the difference in fluid intake. I came across the above while deciding whether to continue use of Nunn or other sport drinks. Now I only get a bottle of Gatorade near end of a long ride after eaten through all my solid food and in need that additional sugar boost. It doesn't happens too often.

  7. #7
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    100 cal of fruit juice and 1/8 level teaspoon of salt in a 24 oz water bottle is as good or better than anything else. Fruit juice for the sugar and flavor and table salt to help absorption and replace the sodium lost via sweat. Sodium is the only electrolyte lost in consequential amounts in sweat. The only thing missing in this is the specious claims and marketing BS, IMO.
    ^^^This.

    Salt and magnesium (No Salt) for the electrolytes and glucose powder if added energy is required (rides over 2 hrs for me) with an inch of fruit juice for a bit of flavor. It costs pennies and you're not paying for "the specious claims and marketing BS" as you said.
    Last edited by Mike T.; 03-25-2016 at 05:36 AM.
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  8. #8
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    I hate the taste and texture of the fruit flavored drinks, and for whatever reason, most of them give me a headache.

    last spring, I discovered Lyte Balance, which is basically just unflavored concentrated electrolyte water that you can just add to normal water. It does have a slightly salty taste, which I don't mind at all. I will occasionally put a few drops of flavored stevia (orange or lemon), or a little bit of real lemon juice (if I have it on hand) in with it just to give it a little taste.

    The nice thing about this stuff is you can add as much or little as you like/need based on the ride.

    According to their label, one bottle of the concentrate has about the same amount of electrolytes as 64 servings of gatorade.

    Amazon.com: Lyte Balance Electrolytes - BUY 2 SAVE 20% - 64 servings Pure, natural hydrating energy boost; high Potassium + Magnesium formula. Easy to mix in favorite beverage. Recover faster, better.: Health & Personal Care

    Edit: If you were inclined to go the 'fruit juice' route, you could add this concentrate to your juiced water instead of the salt.

  9. #9
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    original question is impossible to answer without knowing length of rides and conditions. This is probably the best piece on the subject especially for extended periods like an ironman. He also points out toward the bottom the importance of other electrolytes not typically in sports drinks or homemade brews.

    The Math of salt loss - Slowtwitch.com

  10. #10
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    I use an infinite nutrition custom blend. If you go to their home page you'll find a place you can create a custom blend or set up an appointment for a session with someone that will use an interview approach to create one for you. You can let them know issues you have with other mixes and they can let you know what they can do to minimize or eliminate. Before using them I used Skratch labs hydration mix which has a pretty light taste to it, just not enough calories for me, and I got tired of all the gels on longer rides, they're a mess to deal with.
    Nothing succeeds like excess

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  11. #11
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    As others have suggested, try diluting your electrolyte drink. Marketing dictates the flavor intensity and other factors as the consumer has to perceive they're getting something for their money. If they don't readily perceive sweetness/taste, they won't think the drink is effective. But much research shows electrolyte drinks are too concentrated and thus empty from the stomach too slowly or just aren't effective.

    So decrease the concentration of your electrolyte drink until its taste qualities meet your needs.

    Also, try reading the book, First In Thirst. It's the history of Gatorade. It also explains away some of the myths about electrolyte drinks.

    P.S. I use only water regardless of the ride length or conditions.

  12. #12
    Road Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolhand View Post
    Weird, I have had great luck with Nuun tablets. You may just need to stick with Gu packets and clear water.
    Nunn is good stuff However from the descriptions of your symptoms, it sound like your starting dehydrated.. Ensure you start hydrating long before the ride starts and then use the Nunn have fun

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    I use only water regardless of the ride length or conditions.
    Then you should read up on Hyponatremia.
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  14. #14
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    Nuun does not agree with me. Bubble gut.

    I like skratch labs now. In the past, i have used powered Gatorade diluted to 25-50% of the suggested amount.

    I think it ends up as personal preference. You may have to try some different products and see what works for you.

    I also use one botle with water and one with mix.

  15. #15
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    I have been using Skratch labs exclusively for the past 2 years. The flavors aren't over powering like some other drinks/mixes and the energy boost I get seems to last longer. Before that I used Gatorade, it was just a sugary, sticky mess and the effects were short lived.

  16. #16
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    Try Extend by Scivation, you can get small sample size packets to try. No fizz, just mix with water.

  17. #17
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    It's the specious claims and marketing BS that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  18. #18
    .je
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    100 cal of fruit juice and 1/8 level teaspoon of salt in a 24 oz water bottle is as good or better than anything else. Fruit juice for the sugar and flavor and table salt to help absorption and replace the sodium lost via sweat. Sodium is the only electrolyte lost in consequential amounts in sweat. The only thing missing in this is the specious claims and marketing BS, IMO.
    Ive had great success with this, which is a lot like what you posted above. Basically, 1/10 or 1/8 or your 750mL bottle is orange juice, then 1/8 teaspoon or so of salt, then maybe up to 3 tablespoons of sugar if you'll be out a long time. Thirst quenching and lots of energy. Only caveat is to not over do the sugar and salt, it sits in your gut a little, tho TBH I often have another bottle first that's just water.

    Issues with Electrolyte Additives-untitled.jpg

  19. #19
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    Yeah I use Coach John Hughes' recipe from one of his feeding/hydration e-articles at RoadBikeRider.com - 60g of glucose powder, 30g of fructose powder, salt and magnesium and fruit juice for flavor.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks to all who responded as this gives me a lot of different methods to achieve a more tolerable drink for me. one thing I'm definitely guilty of is not hydrating throughout the day when I'm not on the bike so I'm sure that attributes to the mucky mouth when I start drinking anything but water during my ride.

    I have also recently found that if I make up my bottles the night before, the burning sensation almost disappears completely. I've always been intolerable of powdered mixes so preparing ahead of time will help for sure. I'm usually on 2-4 hour rides so I'll also start doing 1 water only and one supplemented bottle so I can rinse when needed...

    Once again, thanks for all the info.

  21. #21
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    Adding a few thoughts here:
    - everybody is different so ultimately you'll have to experiment on yourself
    - most of the packaged mixes include some kind of sugar... I prefer not to have any calories in my electrolytes, instead getting calories from food.
    - Skratch labs powders are the best I've personally used like this. But I only use Skratch when I've been given a freebie packet.

    Here's a good homemade recipe that I've used often:

    Rehydration Drinks

    - add a splash of fruit juice for flavor if you like
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