There are other electrolytes besides sodium, and those are more likely to be the problem. Generally, you'll only have problems with hyponatremia if you drink very large amounts of plain water after sweating.
So if you've been sweating a huge amount, substitute something else for *part* of the plain water. Fruit juices are generally high in potassium and some other minerals. Chocolate milk is the classic post workout drink because it has small amounts of all sorts of minerals, plus a little sugar. If you don't want the sugar, plain lowfat milk would have most of the same effect.
And I personally have had really good experiences with coconut water to stave off dehydration headache or cramps. The first time I had it, I was on a jungle hike (and I was NOT fit) when a friend noticed I didn't look good, so he grabbed a coconut off a tree and hacked it open for me! But the stuff in a can seems to do the trick just as well without the risk of losing fingers. Just read the label to make sure it's just coconut water (sometimes called green coconut juice) without a bunch of added sugar.
If you do really need to add sodium, then iodized table salt kills two birds with one stone. Iodine is important for thyroid function and some other things I can't remember right now, and most people don't get enough. Adding iodine to table salt was probably the biggest public health victory in history, or maybe second to polio vaccination, but now that people are trying to lower their sodium, we're starting to see a re-emergence of the old problems. It might even be a minor factor in the "obesity epidemic." A tiny sprinkle of regular old table salt a few times a week won't hurt you if you're not worried about excess sodium, and it might help.
Fitness Minutes: (1,740)
74 5/13/13 11:36 A
It could potentially be difficult for a doctor to track down the problem. It can appear and disappear pretty fast. Tests can very easily miss it.
A while ago I had mineral problems to the extent that my heart was beating wrong. Lots of cramping too. I went to the doctor of course - nothing. No problems whatsoever.
The thing that helped most was careful review of my diet, including work with a registered dietician.
My level of exercise was pretty high, and it turns out that my particular body goes through a lot of minerals really quickly. I can go from just fine to badly fouled up - and back again - in just a few days.
I learned to watch for early signs that my body gives. When I see those I go from normal maintenance intake to hitting the beans and potatoes.
Cramping is almost to be expected when you do a lot of exercise. I think the first place to look is to double check the diet. Doctor checks are in-and-out and geared toward actual medical problems instead of simple dietary issues. They don't spend the time needed for careful dietary review, and are more likely to prescribe some medical treatment - if you have a hammer every problem is a nail.
If nothing is wrong and there is cramping, by all means go see someone. But I think diet is an important rule-out.
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Fitness Minutes: (8,929)
5/13/13 8:21 A
Thanks for the replies. I don't think dehydration was the culprit as I am very careful about my water intake and normally attempt to get rid of my headaches etc first by drinking more water! :) I'll look into seeing my doctor if it happens again. Thanks again and happy Monday!
I don't have a problem with not enough sodium. Even without using any processed foods, and being very, very careful, it is hard to keep it under the 1700 mg./day that I need to. My beef is that even in all the Spark recipes, the sodium count is way too high. Vegetables have natural sodium also. If you are having trouble, I totally agree that you need to see your doctor and get some answers.
Dehydration can also cause cramping.....do you sip water throughout your workout sessions?
Other signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, headache.
Also muscle cramps can be cause by low magnesium and other vitamin difficencies and even certain drugs...and there are a series of diseases that can cause cramping as well.
The answer may not be to increase your sodium intake, if the cramps do not go away with more water intake please make an appoinment with a medical professional for individual advice.
Fitness Minutes: (34,605)
22,649 5/13/13 6:17 A
Perhaps talk with your Dr to see if there is anything going on medically causing the cramps, etc. He/she can also do blood tests to see if you need more sodium and advise you based on your health and results. Sometimes it is best to not assume.
I am not a Dr - please check with your qualified Health Professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan
Fitness Minutes: (1,740)
74 5/13/13 2:28 A
I have trouble keeping my minerals up enough to prevent cramping from about 45 minutes a day of cycling. I lose minerals by sweat, but muscle contraction uses them too. In my particular case my cramps are mostly from magnesium deficiency.
For sodium I often microwave a potato every so often and dose it with soy sauce. I also make a salad with black beans, pickles, and other vegetables. There are lots of fat soluble things that are important, so I generally make sure I get a little fat when I eat - a little cheese or salad dressing in my potato, for example.
Fitness Minutes: (8,929)
5/12/13 9:31 P
Hello SP! I am hoping for some advice... I have been eating very clean and sticking to whole foods for about 6 weeks but have noticed that my sodium levels tend to be quite low without all the processed foods. In trying to get more sodium in to my diet is adding table salt really the best way to do this? I workout six days a week, three of which with a personal trainer so I am sweating regularly. Two weekends ago I followed a personal training session with a five mile run and started getting leg cramps and had a headache I just couldn't shake. When I checked out my sodium levels from my food tracker I was we'll under 1,000 mg for both the day and few days prior. In order to not repeat what I assume was an electrolyte imbalance I am trying to more closely monitor my sodium levels. Any advice or suggestions about adding sodium in a healthy way would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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