We don’t need to replace sodium during endurance efforts after all?

I’d go with the liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Is that a result of the sodium, or the chlorine from using table salt? Personal experience is that it’s the former, and I have better experiences when I use hydration products or custom mix that provides at least some of the sodium via sodium citrate vs. mix that is 100% sodium chloride. I started doing that based on (among other things) prior discussion here.

Strongly disagree. (with respect, of course.)

Here’s why:

First sign of too much sodium: mild reversible gut upset.

First sign of too little sodium: you’ve already invisibly lost massive performance due to decreased blood volume from subclinical hyponatremia and are starting to swell. Sometimes not reversible during exercise because gut function is now too impaired to absorb adequate sodium to recover blood sodium levels.

Second sign of too much sodium: moderate less-reversible gut upset. Can still ride. Performance only impaired by gut sensation and/or need to use bathroom.

Second sign of too little sodium: clinical hyponatremia. Massive performance impairment, imminent need for medical attention. Excessive thirst. Increased likelihood of cramps from combo of electrolyte issue and riding above ability, given the performance impairment.

Third sign of too much sodium: emergency diarrhea. Maybe some thirst. Maybe not though because gut upset.

Third sign of too little sodium: DEATH.

(I’ll take emergency diarrhea for 1200, please.)

Even further…

4th, 5th, 6th, & 7th signs of too much sodium: Just more gut upset. That’s it. Dehydration caused by sodium takes an impossibly large amount of sodium that one simply could not and would not consume on the bike. Think like 5000mg per liter of fluid. Ultra salty flavor. Nasty. Like drinking concentrated sweat.

When taken to extremes, deviations from optimal sodium consumption go from bad to worse very quickly in the “too little” camp. When taken to extremes in the “too much” camp, you just learn how much your gut can tolerate and can do a little less next time.


I’m not someone who adds salt to food routinely. But, I do add salt to my water bottle on longer rides, but not for the sodium, rather the thirst, ie, it seems to trigger thirst and hence encourages me to drink more, more often. My sport dietician is a fan of relying on just tap water for hydration, ie, energy drinks aren’t the best means of getting nutrition. As an example of her style - her favourite post event nutrition is tinned creamed rice pudding!