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How does sweating affect electrolyte losses?

Michael Bergeron, PhD
Sports Medicine
Sweat electrolyte losses, particularly sodium and chloride, vary by individual. Muscle cramping due to exertional heat stress can be attributed to an electrolyte deficit caused by sweating, as the sodium and chloride lost through sweat are not matched sufficiently by dietary salt intake. Replacing sodium is crucial to enhancing body-water retention and distribution. Some athletes are referred to as “salty sweaters” because they have a relatively high concentration of sodium in their sweat and a high sweat rate. This combination puts these particular athletes at an elevated risk for developing muscle cramps. Knowing how much fluid and electrolytes your body loses through sweating helps you to properly rehydrate after training or competition.

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