Hyponatremia is an electrolyte imbalance in which the sodium concentration in blood plasma falls lower than normal. It has been believed, for many years that we "lose" salt through our sweat.
This is why our high school track coach encouraged us to take salt pills. Hyponatremia is also what sports drinks are supposed to prevent. As far as most coaches were concerned back then, we were losing salt by the gram as soon as we started sweating.
Continue Reading » Do Sports Drinks Prevent Hyponatremia?
This is a pseudo-Part V of our series on Muscle Cramps - I was tempted to call it Part V, but it's a little bit of a departure from what we've been talking about. In our next article, which we will be calling Part V, we'll wrap up this really challenging series and try to summarize all of the comments and our articles into one concluding piece.
Continue Reading » Muscle Cramps Part 4.5
Over the past three articles, we've taken what has turned out to be a pretty intense look at muscle cramps. We began with a discussion of how muscle cramps were first attributed to a low serum electrolyte concentration, without any substantial evidence for this theory. We then moved on to show that, in fact, people who cramped have the SAME electrolyte concentrations and levels of dehydration as those who do not cramp - this is pretty strongly suggestive that cramping is not caused by either dehydration or electrolyte depletion. Then in Part III, we described a new model for muscle cramps, involving a 'malfunction' in the reflex control of muscles during fatigue.