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Electrolyte depletion and recharge, story & questions (Read 257 times)
07/13/20 at 12:42:39

marcus   Offline
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Posts: 2
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Not exactly 340 related, but I imagine on a hot year this directly applies, and in general applies to any ultra marathon distances...

I was out doing a tough hike in the mountains north of Santa Barbara this weekend in hot weather, as in 88* shade temp, 95+* sun temp, low humidity, tons of reflected radiant heat coming off the ground. I summited Mt McKinnley which was 21 miles and 4000 vertical feet round trip. It was epic, grueling, and extremely beautiful. I highly recommend the trail, just when its less than 80*!

Anyways, I planned ok and made it though the day fine. I had 5L cold water from the start, a large brim sunhat with venting, thin white shirt, adequate calories and salt. (Cold water in extreme heat was a life saver!)

...buttttt my hiking partner had some issues, some due to bad luck, others due to bad planning and he ended up getting electrolyte depletion to the point I took him to the ER at the end of the hike. They said it was good he came in because his salt, potassium and magnesium levels were so low. The 'bad luck' was he got diarrhea about 4 hrs and 7 miles into the hike, we think due to an unclean camelback bladder, but are not 100% sure. At any rate we couldn't turn around because we needed to reach the water resupply at about 8.5m no matter what.

My question is-

1. what's your mitigation strategy to maintain adequate electrolytes during extremely high sweat situations? for reference, over the course of the day I drank close to 12L of water. (5L up, 3L at a spring, 4L down). I ate 4 PB and Honey sandwiches, 4oz beef jerky, and honey roasted mixed nuts and felt fine. Diet of champions.
Do you use electrolyte tabs, diluted Gatorade, Jerky, or anything else to maintain electrolyte levels? if so, have a ratio of 3L water to 1 oz jerky or a rule of thumb you follow?

2. If you get diarrhea in the wilderness (as in more than a couple hours from help), what do you do? I didnt have an ammodium tablet in my survival kit which I will now bring. He didnt want to eat too much once it started, but that probably made things worse. Can you even absorb calories or salt effectively if you have the runs?

3. If you are moderately to severely electrolyte deficient, can you recover without medical intervention? if so, what is the best way to replenish? He vomited water because his body was rejecting additional water. At that point I said "I think you should go to the hospital..." and we did.

In the end he was fine with no lasting effects, but was a close enough call that I will change my emergency kit to have an insurance policy for both diarrhea and electrolyte depletion. any tricks or tips appreciated from the Ultra distance or extreme heat folks.
 
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Reply #1 - 07/14/20 at 05:33:59

Terry Davison   Offline
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Posts: 402
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I have been using Osmo Active Hydration for years now and highly recommend it.  Osmonutrition.com
 
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Reply #2 - 07/14/20 at 10:11:29

Kirk Freels   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
3X Gritty Veteran
Race Volunteer
Oak Grove

Posts: 147
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Hey Terry - have you tried the Hammer product Heed? I was wanting to know if you have, which do you like better? I'm looking for the "magic powder" that won't make me review what I've had to eat and drink after 30 miles into a race.
Thanks - Kirk
 

You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you got
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Reply #3 - 07/15/20 at 05:54:27

Terry Davison   Offline
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Kirk, yes I have .I started using Heed for a couple of years in 2012. I never liked the taste. An extreme cyclist told me about Osmos and how well he liked it . That was 6 years ago and I use it regularly.
I have also heard good things about BioSteel sports hydration , though I have never used it.
 
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Reply #4 - 07/16/20 at 08:29:29

brad126   Offline
6X MR340 Veteran
Branson MO

Posts: 216
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I take a small bag of pills from Hammer Nutrition hourly, during long events. The bag contains Race Caps, Anti Fatigue Caps, Endurance BCAAs, Mito Caps, and most importantly, Endurolytes Extreme.  This has worked really well for me the past three or four years.
The one time it didn’t work was at the Water Safari last year. Heat index was 117, and we had broken our rudder and got passed by a bunch of boats. We were pushing too hard to regain the lead. At one of our supply stops, we were given three empty water jugs for the front three seats. So the three of us became severely dehydrated. I was throwing up my pills. Ended up eating a bunch of Salt Stick Chewables to get myself under control. Then went back to the pill packets. It wouldn’t have been an issue if we had water.
 
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Reply #5 - 07/17/20 at 08:42:07

Kirk Freels   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
3X Gritty Veteran
Race Volunteer
Oak Grove

Posts: 147
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Thanks for the insight, I now have a few things to try. I do take some of the Enduro caps and they seems to work well for me. I have some other boring underlying things to consider but I really appreciate your time to answer.

Kirk
 

You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you got
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