August 26, 2023 3 min read

In recent times, high sodium supplement drinks have garnered attention for their supposed benefits, with claims ranging from enhanced performance to improved hydration. While these drinks might find a place in the regimen of endurance athletes or those with elevated sweat rates, the reality is that for the average individual, they are often more hype than help. In fact, not only are these supplements unnecessary for many, but they can also be needlessly expensive. Seriously, take the time to read the ingredients on some of these supplements and seriously consider the cost of some of them. Sodium citrate is notably more expensive as a sodium source than is sodium chloride (common table salt) so there is an argument to made for higher pricing on product lines like Skratch that use the better quality, more expensive ingredients. 

Targeted Audience: Endurance Athletes vs. General Public

 Most of us in the triathlon and cycling realm are endurance athletes and will have different and more extensive hydration and nutrition needs than the average non-athlete or only occasional athlete.  Endurance athletes and individuals engaged in prolonged, intense physical activities can undoubtedly benefit from sodium supplementation. During extended workouts or races, the body loses essential electrolytes, including sodium, through sweat. This can lead to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and impaired performance. So, for endurance athlete like ourselves, high sodium drinks can aid in replenishing lost electrolytes and maintaining optimal hydration levels. Of course, the question still remains in terms of determining the appropriate level for each individual.  

Average Individuals: A Different Story

However, for the average person engaged in regular daily activities or moderate exercise, the body's sodium balance is usually well-maintained through a balanced diet. The recommended daily sodium intake for adults is around 2,300 milligrams, which can easily be achieved through natural dietary sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Introducing high sodium supplement drinks into this equation can upset the delicate balance and potentially lead to excessive sodium intake, contributing to health issues such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.

Marketing and Expense

One of the key drivers behind the popularity of high sodium supplement drinks is marketing. Clever advertising and endorsements often make these products seem indispensable, even for those who don't necessarily need them. Moreover, these drinks can come with a hefty price tag. For the majority of individuals who don't fall into the category of endurance athletes or those with extraordinary sodium losses, investing in these supplements might be a case of overspending on something that doesn't provide tangible benefits.

Hydration and Health: A Holistic Approach

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and well-being. However, for most individuals, the emphasis should be on maintaining a balanced diet rich in electrolyte-containing foods and drinking adequate water. Rather than relying on high sodium supplement drinks, a holistic approach that considers one's activity level, dietary habits, and individual needs is more prudent.

In conclusion, the prominence of high sodium supplement drinks as a health-enhancing solution requires careful consideration. While these products can be beneficial for endurance athletes and those with high sweat rates, they hold little value for the average person and can even be detrimental to health due to excessive sodium intake. Instead of succumbing to marketing trends, individuals should focus on a well-rounded diet and appropriate hydration practices to ensure their overall health and fitness goals are met without unnecessary expenses.

Elise Gaudet
Elise Gaudet

Sign up for our Newsletter