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Health and Sodium
By CARLOS GIROLA / USPTA
The definition of hyponatremia is low concentration of sodium in the blood. When we sweat we loose salt (sodium) and water. If an incomplete or improper hydration occurs, for instance, if we just drink a lot of water, it will dilute the little sodium left in our body and that is when hyponatremia takes place. Minor results could include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and fatigue. Serious results could lead to attacks, coma, and death.
Importance of Sodium
It balances the fluids in our body system (no muscle cramps), it helps the electrical conduction along nervous pathways (keeps your reflexes sharp) and it betters the uptake of nutrients (it helps to transport and distribute any nutrient through the blood).
High Blood Pressure
When talking about salt intake, people are afraid of causing high blood pressure. It is true that if you consume salt in large quantities it will favor hypertension. But it is also true that high blood pressure or hypertension could simply be genetic. A precondition of the athlete to hypertension could simply be the reason for it. The inability of the kidneys to release sodium can also cause hypertension. Know that Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., interfere with the regular functioning of the kidneys, so be careful with the use of anti-inflammatories.
How Much Sodium Do We Need?
2.3 grams per day (1 teaspoon of salt).
Where Do We Find It?
Power drinks, like Gatorade or Powerade - however know that you would have to drink 9 bottles of 20 oz. Gatorade to get 2.3 grams of sodium - not a good diet! Keeping a low fat approach, the following list of foods will provide adequate sodium. These quantities of sodium are contained in a serving of 100 grams (less than 1 quarter pound): salmon 1.8 grams, pretzels 1.7 grams, cornflakes 1.1 grams, hard cheese 1 grams, tortilla/potato chips 0.8 grams, caned tuna 0.8 grams, grape nuts 0.7 grams, dry cereals 0.7 grams, pickle juice 0.3 grams.
We lose an average of 0.5 grams per 1 pound of sweat. It is calculated about 2 pounds per hour, therefore 1 grams of sodium per hour.
According to the American College of Sport Science, it is recommended that players consume .08 grams of sodium 2 hours prior to the match. That's three 20 oz. Gatorades or 1/3 of a teaspoon of salt. During play, 1.5 20 oz. Gatorades every 20 minutes is suggested. In an hour and a half match, this would be equivalent to a total of 1.6 grams of sodium, which would also be found in 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt. After the match, it takes about two hours for the body to complete the process of eliminating excess water. Be moderate when drinking during this time, and make sure that you do not interfere with this process.
It is Recommended: to prevent not only dehydration or heat stroke, but also hyponatremia to take the appropriate precautions for better hydration. Remember to read the labels and do intelligent research rather than act on the traditional hydration rumors. Always apply your knowledge and evaluate the results.