Drinking too much ?

Drinking large quantities of fluids has become synonymous with professional as well as recreational athletes, but can you drink too much while you’re exercising? This post looks at some issues that have occurred due to this and how reduction has managed this. Are certain electrolyte boosters  recommended?


We lived in Boston for a number of years, home of the famous Boston Marathon – I didn’t compete but did watch! In 2002, before we lived there, the New England Journal of medicine (NEJM) published a major article showing that 13 percent of runners in the 2002 Boston Marathon might have suffered from hyponatremia, (low sodium concentration in the blood), caused drinking too much fluid.

If Boston has a 13-percent rate of hyponatremia, what about other marathons? Such exercise imbalance can be fatal.

I’ve also lived in London, home of the London Marathon, and hyponatremia has been recorded as decreasing significantly, potentially as a result of more awareness – keep up the good work, and remember we’re talking strenuous exercise, it doesn’t have to be a marathon!

The 2002 study concluded that the strongest single predictor of hyponatremia was a considerable weight gain during the race – also sports drinks doesn’t protect you from hyponatremia.

It went on to say that consuming sports drinks was any different than consuming water – sports drinks are mostly water themselves and contain only small amounts of sodium.

Remember too (this is the dentist talking) that sports drinks have to be acidic to dissolve the minerals, acid and teeth are not the perfect marriage! We’ll cover that in the future.

The advice is clear,  runners should not stop drinking fluids during their marathons, simply aim for a safe middle-ground in their hydration strategies.

Suggestions for hydration during strenuous sports, (especially in hot weather), include;

1) Don’t drink obsessively in the several days before a marathon. Drink when you’re thirsty; that’s usually adequate.

2) Don’t take NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium before, during, or immediately after strenuous exercise.

3) Weigh yourself before the marathon, and write your weight on the back of your race number. If you need help at the finish line, the marathon medical staff will find this pre-race weight useful when attending to you.

4) During the marathon, drink when you’re thirsty, understanding that water, sugars, and electrolytes will help you feel and perform your best. Again, drink fluids in moderation.

5) Be mindful if you plan to run for over four hours, especially if you have an unusually small or large body size. Drink less if you begin to feel nauseous.

6) Drink sports drinks rather than water, but don’t expect sports drinks to prevent hyponatremia alone.

7) Don’t drink excessively immediately after the marathon. This is a time, according to a 2003 London Marathon report, when the risk of hyponatremia can be high, as stomach fluids are absorbed into the bloodstream rapidly. Small amounts of solid foods and a variety of drinks slowly until you feel recovered.

Electrolyte drinks.

Put aside the Gatorade!

 Consider these 5 Natural Electrolyte Boosters as good options in heat or following strenuous exercise.

Article courtesy of ‘Calmful Living’ by Natural Vitality.

Do you know electrolytes are important (even if you don’t fully understand why) but feel hesitant to consume the artificial drinks famous for replenishing them?

You may be onto something.

It’s true: electrolytes do matter. They regulate muscle and nerve function, hydration, blood pressure and your body’s pH level. Deficiencies or imbalances in electrolytes—which include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, hydrogen phosphate, bicarbonate and chloride—can cause everything from fatigue and muscle cramping to irregular heartbeat and seizures.

Woman running in yellow shirt on path between trees

When we sweat, we lose electrolytes; so, it’s important to replace them. It’s also true that popular sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, which do contain electrolytes, are full of artificial ingredients and refined sugar.

Fortunately, when we need them there are ways to get the electrolytes required without resorting to heavily processed products.

Here are some natural electrolyte boosters:


Sodium is one of the electrolytes that we’re quickest to lose through sweat. Luckily, ingesting salt is a quick and easy way to replace what we lose. Salt also contains the electrolytes magnesium, calcium and potassium; so, it’s good for more than just sodium replenishment. Go for sea salt over table salt because it’s less processed.

If you like, Himalayan and Celtic sea salts are widely available in most grocery stores. Just put a pinch in your water and drink. It’s that easy (or use table salt (chemically is the same) but cheaper.


Packed with nutrients and low in sugar, coconut water is a great way to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes, especially potassium. There are a lot of coconut waters on the market.


Lemons are the queen of citrus when it comes to electrolytes. They’re a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Add that to their ability to detoxify the liver, balance pH levels and boost the immune system with vitamin C, and lemons are officially a solid addition to any drink.

Squeeze a whole lemon into warm or cold water for a sour jolt of electrolytes but be aware that too much or too frequently can damage your tooth enamel.


No list is complete without a reminder to eat more green vegetables—and electrolyte replenishment is no exception! Leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, beet greens, bok choy and spinach are packed with electrolytes.

They are especially rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium. Celery, broccoli and avocado are good sources as well. You can add an electrolyte punch to any meal by adding in something green.

See article on sports drinksCLICK BELOW

 Dr. Stephen Bray 2019

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