Salt is an interesting thing. We are told it is either really bad for us or it is really good for us. With a wide range of information about health, nutrition, and fitness flooding the internet, it can be really challenging to sort through what is true and what is not. If you keep yourself up to date following the wellness industry, then you have probably heard some hype on salt tablets. But if salt is really bad for us, why are athletes, bodybuilders, and nutrition experts all swearing by them? Keep reading because we are going to tell you everything you need to know about salt tablets!
What Are Salt Tablets?
If you have never heard of salt tablets, then you might be scratching your head trying to figure out what the heck these things are and why they’re beneficial to a keto diet– and we don’t blame you!
“Salt” tablets is a nickname for electrolyte tablets with high sodium levels. There are two electrolytes that makeup salt: sodium and chloride. Salt tablets can also include other electrolytes like magnesium, potassium. If you are someone who likes to work up a good sweat exercising, then you probably know the importance of staying hydrated with fluids. Maintaining good hydration and certain minerals known as electrolytes are important to your overall health and for supporting a keto lifestyle. Sweating is the body’s natural way to regulate and control body temperature. Sweat is made up of mostly water but also contains the electrolyte, sodium. This is why you may notice your sweat tastes a bit salty.
Salt tablets are used to help replenish the sodium levels we lose in our bodies when we sweat and thereby keeping you replenished on a keto diet! When we lose sodium, we're more prone to muscle cramps which is a sign that rehydration is needed. This is where a high quality product like Hi-Lyte Capsules would come in.
What Do Electrolytes Have to Do With Salt Tablets?
As we mentioned, sodium is an essential electrolyte found in salt tablets. Electrolytes are involved in many essential processes throughout the body! They are minerals that carry an electric charge found in your sweat, urine, and blood. They are extremely crucial to your overall health, keeping your body functioning the way it should.
When low in electrolytes, you’ll feel pretty crummy and experience keto-flu like symptoms. Here is a break down on electrolytes:
The electrolytes found in the body include:
Calcium. Necessary for nerve function, muscle contraction, blood clotting, cell-division, healthy bones and teeth.
Potassium. Regulates heart contraction, and helps maintain fluid balance.
Magnesium. Necessary for heart rhythm, muscle contraction, nerve function, bone strength, generating energy and building protein.
Sodium. Maintains fluid balance and necessary for muscle contraction and nerve function.
Chloride. Maintains fluid balance in the body.
Phosphate. Promotes energy storage and carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.
Your body is always aiming for balance. So when you become low in a certain electrolyte like sodium for an example, your body will naturally push out the remaining electrolytes. This can cause an electrolyte imbalance.
There are many causes for an electrolyte imbalance. A lack of electrolytes in the body can be due to:
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Inadequate diet and lack of vitamins from food.
- Loss of body fluids from prolonged diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, or high fever.
- Higher than normal blood pH.
- Malabsorption - your body may be unable to absorb these electrolytes due to a variety of stomach disorders, medications, or may be how food is taken in.
- Hormonal or endocrine disorders.
- Chronic respiratory problems like emphysema.
- Adjusting to a keto lifestyle
Of all the electrolytes, sodium is always the quickest to leave the body. Why? Because as we mentioned, sweat, urine, and tears are in high concentration of this super mineral. Replenishing your body with sodium - especially following a good sweat session at the gym - is of the utmost importance to keep your body balanced.
Signs that your sodium levels could be running low include:
- Fatigue and low energy
- Muscle spasms
When sodium levels become extremely low in the blood, severe hyponatremia can occur. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder that doctors encounter. In fact, research suggests that approximately 1.7 percent of people in the U.S. have the condition.
Salt and or Low Carb or Keto Dieting
We’ve all tried diets that are full of broken promises - “lose 20 pounds in 10 days” or “ drop 2 sizes in a week.” Some of us have even gotten sucked into them so we don’t blame you for the weariness when we mention the word “diet.” However, the ketogenic diet is a diet like no other. It’s a realistic food-based plan that doesn’t make any promises. It simply focuses on high fats and low carbs.
Keto alters the way your body fuels itself. When you restrict your carb intake, your body starts to burn fat, rather than glucose for energy. This forces your body into a state of ketosis - when your liver converts fatty acids into molecules called ketones, an alternative source of fuel. The results people are seeing from it speak for themselves which is why it’s become so widely known and more people are jumping on the keto bandwagon.
Some of the best benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle include:
Fat loss. When you’re following keto, your body uses stored body fat and fat from your diet as fuel. The result? Rapid weight loss. Ketones also influence your hormones that control appetite to help you to feel full. Ketones suppress ghrelin - your hunger hormone - and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which then tells your brain when you’ve eaten enough.
Fuels and strengthens your brain. In addition to weight loss, ketones provide your brain with immediate fuel. They are so powerful that they can supply up to 70% of your brain’s energy needs - a much more efficient source of energy than glucose! All those tasty good fats on keto also feed your brain to keep in strong. In fact, did you know that your brain is the fattiest organ in the body, made up of more than 60% fat? To keep your brain strong and healthy, it needs lots of good fats.
Keto stabilizes blood sugar. We already know that carbs turn into glucose - aka sugar - in the body. Eating one too many carbs causes your blood sugar to spike, but when you switch from carbs to fat for energy, you stabilize your blood sugar. Keto can be particularly beneficial for diabetics, who have high blood glucose levels. Now, we aren't saying keto is the cure for diabetes, but many diabetics are able to come off their medication when switching to keto which is pretty impressive if you ask us!
Gives you more energy. When your brian uses ketones for fuel, you don’t experience the same low energy slumps as you do when your diet consists of mostly carbs. When you’re on keto, your brain will never start to panic, wondering when it will get its next fill of energy. Why? Because when your metabolism is in fat-burning mode, your body can simply tap into its readily available fat stores for energy. The result? No more brain fog or energy crashes.
Lowers inflammation. Your body’s natural response to an invader it deems harmful is inflammation. Too much inflammation is bad news and can be quite dangerous to your overall health. In fact, chronic inflammation - when your body constantly pumps our inflammatory chemicals for months, and even years - is at the root of chronic diseases including heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Following keto switches off inflammatory pathways, and ketones produce fewer free radicals compared to glucose. Damage from too many free radicals causes inflammation.
Protects your heart. The whole goal of keto is to restrict your carbohydrates and eat less than 50 grams of net carbs a day. (For those following strict keto, no more than 20 grams of net carbs a day) Cutting down on carbs increases your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels which is known as the “good” cholesterol. In fact, HDL is what turns on your anti-inflammatory pathways and protects your heart from disease. Eating low-carb also lowers blood triglycerides - fat molecules in your bloodstream. High levels of blood triglycerides are linked to coronary heart disease.
Understanding all of the incredible benefits that low-carb eating has to offer, it’s easy to see why the ketogenic lifestyle has become increasingly popular over the years. However, as with any diet, minerals can be lost and some vitamins need to be supplemented. When it comes to the keto diet, there is a lot of focus on healthy fats and minimal carbs while the protein intake is limited. Because of this, our bodies can lose important minerals such as electrolytes including sodium. That’s where salt tablets come in!
As we mentioned, the keto diet revolves around taking in fewer carbs than you would normally to force your body into a state of ketosis. However, following a low-carb plan like the keto diet usually results in your body needing more sodium than before which is fine when you have a supplement like salt tablets.
Why is more sodium needed, you might ask?
In a nutshell, when your body needs sodium it can lead to your insulin levels falling. This makes your kidneys excrete more water and sodium, passing it through sweat or urine. If you don’t replace the amount of sodium your body gets rid of while in ketosis, your body will naturally push out the other essential electrolytes as well, in an attempt for balance. This might cause you to experience symptoms of the infamous “keto flu”, which can include:
- Brain fog
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle weakness
Additionally, many keto appropriate foods don’t have lots of sodium because of the complete carb reduction. This means keto dieters don’t get the extra salt that your body may be used to which is why salt tablets are important for complete nutrition.
Salt Tablets and Endurance Athletes
Endurance athletes like runners, cyclists and swimmers - as well as athletes who play ball sports - use salt tablets to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and to eliminate cramps. Salt tablets like Hi-Lyte Capsules from Adapted Nutrition also have been shown to support certain medical conditions such as Dysuatonomia, POTS and EDS and even to support a keto diet and beat keto flu. If you are following the keto diet and thinking about trying salt tablets for the first time, do the following:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Read all the ingredients in the tablet which should list the electrolytes and have a mineral breakdown.
- Do your research and follow advice and tips from medical professionals, only using salt tablets when needed.
- Listen to your body. Use salt tablets only when you feel your body could benefit from an electrolyte boost. For example, if you have a bit of a headache following a great sweat session at the gym, it could be due to a loss of sodium and a salt tablet would be deemed appropriate.
The health and wellness industry has really shifted in the right direction with consumers all over the world working towards optimal health through the keto diet! Salt tablets have been around for decades and are a quick and easy solution to help fitness enthusiasts replenish the electrolytes they lose. Salt tablets make a great addition to any wellness arsenal being a quick and efficient way to keep your body moving when it needs to perform at its best! Keep in mind that not all salt tablets or supplements are made equal as most are filled with added sugars and fillers that will kick you out of ketosis. When looking into supplements that can support your keto lifestyle look for a reputable company like Adapted Nutrition that only offers high-quality, keto-friendly supplements. After all, if you want to feel your best you have to fuel it with the best.