Do I need potassium, magnesium, or calcium in an electrolyte drink?

All three mentioned minerals are lost through sweat. However, their relative losses compared to sodium are much lower, and in the case of calcium and magnesium, could be said to be negligible.

Sodium thus remains the main electrolyte we lose through sweat, and it is this electrolyte that everyone should focus on when deciding which sports drink to use for hydration.

Several studies (more here, here and here) have tried to determine the exact values of sweat losses for these minerals. Studies generally agree, even though the loss values varied among individuals, that average losses of potassium are low and in the case of magnesium and calcium entirely minimal.

The found average sweat loss values are as follows:

  • Potassium 200 mg per one liter of sweat
  • Calcium 20 mg per one liter of sweat
  • Magnesium 12 mg per one liter of sweat

Magnesium

The Myth Called Magnesium

We often hear (from athletes and traditional dietary supplement manufacturers) that it is essential to significantly replenish magnesium (lat. magnesium) during activity, mainly to prevent cramps, unfortunately, this is not true. A deficiency of magnesium in the human body is certainly an undesirable condition and can contribute to the occurrence of cramps, for example, during sleep. This problem is usually addressed with medications intended for long-term use, such as the drug Magnosolv, to balance the level of magnesium in the body. It’s not a short-term process because magnesium is not a mineral that is easily absorbed by the body and can be replenished quickly with so-called “one dose.”

Why not magnesium during activity?

  1. Sports activity or the race itself are not suitable moments for replenishing magnesium, as it cannot be sufficiently absorbed at these times and may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
  2. From a practical point of view, its losses through sweat are negligible. Magnesium is lost in an average amount of 12mg per liter of sweat, which is 16x to 160x less than in the case of critically important sodium.

To maintain the correct magnesium level in the body, it is important to replenish magnesium daily, either through a regular diet or supplementation. If you arrive at the starting line with a low magnesium level, you will not be able to replenish it effectively during the race.

Iontmax HydroDrink was designed to fully cover the sweat losses of potassium, calcium, and magnesium without causing stomach issues or other discomfort during activity. Therefore, one liter of HydroDrink always contains 250 mg of potassium, 48 mg of calcium, and 24 mg of magnesium.

 

For more details about this topic you can check the following articles:

Electrolyte Water: Benefits and Myths

Muscle cramp? Drink electrolytes, not water, study shows

 

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