Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I just realized hadn't posted the electrolyte formula

Went into the local spice shop a few days after the dehydration incident and got started talking with the owner- also a biker- and mentioned looking for something without so much sugar.
"We have a mix, would you like the recipe?"
Oh yes, indeed I would.  I've been using it, and seems to work.  Here 'tis:
Sports Splasher

  • 2 quarts water
  • 6 tablespoons honey powder (you can use honey, but honey powder is a bit easier to mix)
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink sea salt 
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (if you prefer another citrus juice, you can use it instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract  (for flavor; without it, the taste is fairly blah)
I've been using it the past couple of weeks, and it seems to work.  And you can tweak the ingredients to suit you:
I'm using that amount of salt, but you can drop it if you choose.
I'm only using 3 tablespoons of honey, seems to be plenty.
Can also use orange juice or lime juice, big factor is some type of citrus.
Sea salt still has the other minerals in, but you can use table salt.

I had some of this on the long run over the weekend, and it really helped; I just didn't have enough of it or water with me, should've stopped at stores a couple of times and bought a bottle(but noooo, I wanted to make time...)


Alien said...

I've used weak orange Gatorade with some success, the powder mixed just strong enough to add some flavor to the water. It's a PITA to clean out of a camelbak, though, if you let it dry inside and the sugar gums up.

How does this formulation compare to gatorade?

AM said...

Electrolyte balance in the human body is an important thing. It isn't just replacing salt (sodium chloride) that you need, it is ensuring the right balance is being maintained. Generally there is enough ion reserve that simply replacing sodium chloride will fix the symptoms of dehydration.

But if you want something a little more tuned to human physiology, I recommend substitutine half the salt in your recipe with "Morton's Lite Salt" which is a 50:50 blend of NaCl and KCl. This will give roughly 75% sodium ions and 25% Potassium ions. The sodium potassium ratio in your body is important for nerve function.

Sea salt will generally have higher traces of magnesium and potassium than Himalayan pink salt, but adding the "Lite Salt" to the mix will take care of the potassium.

Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are both available in salt form as de-icing salts, but I haven't been curious enough yet to add them into an electrolyte mix with a 2:1 ratio to see how it affects me.

You can see the amounts of sodium to potassium here for a number of commercial products.

Firehand said...

Alien, used Gatorade till I found this mix; seems to work as well from what I can tell.

AM, I'm definitely going to give that a try, and thanks for the chart

Pawpaw said...

The only way to make time is to keep the wheels rolling. The time to load your bike is before the ride, not during it. Those little 10-minute stops really cut into your true average speed.

Sailorcurt said...

As alien mentioned in passing...a Camelbak is the bomb on long rides.

And I just fill it with the age old remedy for dehydration: water.

I'm sure there's some study or another that says I'm killing myself by drinking plain water, but it seems to me that it worked fine for preventing dehydration for all those years of my youth working out in the fields from sunup to sundown.

And it seems to work equally well for me now, so there you go.

I'm sure another study will eventually come out telling us that the electrolytes in our sports drinks are killing us and what we should REALLY be using is XXXXX.

AM said...


Drinking plain water will keep you hydrated, but won't replace electrolytes. Your body cannot pump water at the cellular level, so it pumps electrolytes to make the water follow.

That is why your sweat is so salty, your body is pumping out salt to bring the water along with it so you can shed heat by evaporation. If that situation goes on long enough without adequate electrolyte replacement you'll get muscle cramps like nobodies business.

Eating salty snacks like beef jerky, cheeses, or other high sodium foods is generally enough to restore the ion reserves in your body. But if you are dealing with extreme heat or exertion, ions in water is a good thing for speeding the uptake of water as your body will pump the ions and the water will follow.

Your body will also absorb plain water, just more slowly.

Firehand said...

Since I have to stop every 1-2 hours to give my ass and legs a rest, stopping then for more water- or just to drink what's with me- isn't a problem.

Curt, I've found(damn near the hard way) that in this kind of heat-humidity mix(especially on roads), water alone helps but doesn't cover it all for me, therefore the supplement.
And yeah, since they can't say "Fat will KILL YOU!!" anymore, they'll have to have another target. That study probably in the making.

sailorcurt said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing your choices, just saying that water works fine for me.

We used to carry salt tablets out to the fields with us when I was a kid, but those were only used if someone started feeling bad.

I've never had problems with cramping up so I must just naturally have enough electrolytes. I just find it interesting how many things we're told we're supposed to do (or not do) or use (or not use) that we didn't do or use (or did or did use) when I was young and we weren't dropping like flies back then.

Granted, the life expectancy now is slightly longer, but I think that's due more to the advancements in medical treatments than because we put little packets of stuff in our water or refuse to use house paint that lasts more than a couple of years...but I digress.

Most of the people I ride with stop every 90 minutes or so. When I'm by myself I try to go until I need gas. On my Valkyrie, that's about 3 hours.

Firehand said...

Oh God yes; fat, coffee, meat, etc. ad listofeverything...

Unfortunately, I discovered a short time ago that in real dry-you-out conditions I'm going to have to have some additions to the water(be so much simpler if I didn't).

I can make about the 90-minute point, sometimes 120, then I've GOT to stop for a few minutes.

Windy Wilson said...

There is some disagreement about whether the sugar in your electrolyte drink has to be glucose or can be more complex like dextrose or fructose.
I think that might be where we'll see the "ZOMG!! You're poisoning yourself with sugar and will be dead within the year!!!!!" controversy.

Thanks for the recipe, I've been using the "Arnold Palmer", half unsweetened tea and half lemonade for a while. Before that, a powdered mix from the backpacking and mountaineer shops called "Gookinaid" which always hit my stomach kind of hard at first. I'm also going to try the Sodium-Magnesium salt substitute.