An increasingly popular trend among athletes is electrolyte supplements. These often go by many names, including but hardly limited to: rehydration tablets, hydration pills, electrolyte replacement, hydration tablets, electrolyte capsules, and other similar variants.
Whatever you want to call them, the principle is more or less the same in all of these products. The simplest way to describe rehydration tablets is to say they are concentrated doses of electrolytes essential for the bodies function. In this article we’ll be taking a look at SaltStick Electrolyte Replacement Capsules, which the nice folks at SaltStick were kind enough to provide us a sample to review. We want to find out if SaltStick – and this trend of electrolyte supplements altogether – is worth its salt!
Why Rehydration Tablets and Electrolyte Replacement is Important
The body has a natural cycle of taking in and expelling electrolytes. Electrolytes are acquired through diet and common food sources rich in them, and later they leave the body via sweating or are consumed as part of other essential bodily functions. When electrolytes are depleted from the body, imbalances and shortages can occur which can cause all sorts of physiological disturbances, including muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, and other negative symptoms.
Even before symptoms like these manifest themselves, running low on electrolytes can still have negative consequences for the body and impact physical and cognitive performance. Because electrolytes are normally acquired through food, it can be easy to run low on these essential nutrients between meals, especially for anyone engaged in intense physical activity or living in a hot climate
The idea behind SaltStick is to provide an easy way to replenish electrolytes which is fast, simple, and provides the body exactly what it needs. In theory, having access to a ready-made source of exactly the electrolytes you need should help your body maintain optimal conditions when the electrolyte stores might otherwise be running low. But how well does it work in practice?
Testing out SaltStick Electrolyte Replacement Capsules
I was originally attracted to the idea of rehydration tablets for one simple reason: I live in the tropics. Seeing as one of my favorite hobbies is cycling, and I’m always doing something athletic, this means there is quite a lot of sweat in my life. Anyone who has spent their afternoon sweating in the tropical sun can tell you there is no doubt that it takes something out of you.
I drink a lot of water, especially when I’m exercising, but water alone is not enough to properly hydrated the body. (Learn more about the essential role of electrolytes in the Electrolyte Depletion section of our feature Why Proper Hydration is Essential Everyday.) This is something that I know not only as a fact of science, but as a matter of first-hand experience. If I don’t have proper electrolyte balances, I feel fatigue as overall muscle weakness, a lack of motivation, mental fog and an overall feeling of “bleh.”
In the past I relied on sports drinks to help replenish electrolytes, but such products are way too sugary and overall not very good for you. Definitely not a long-term solution. So, as an alternative, I’ve tried several rehydration tablets and electrolyte pills to find something that works.
One thing which immediately makes SaltStick stand out from the crowd is the incredibly basic formula. The ingredients for a single capsule of SaltStick are: 100 IU Vitamin D, 22mg Calcium, 11mg Magnesium, 349mg Chloride, 215mg Sodium, and 63mg Potassium.
This is attractive in itself because unlike many of its competitors, SaltStick has included just what you need for electrolyte replacement and nothing extraneous. Many rehydration tablets are stuffed with different herbs and various additives which may or may not be beneficial. In contrast, SaltStick provides only the most essential electrolytes in amounts useful to the body, combined with Vitamin D to assist calcium absorption.
SaltStick Capsules arose out of careful consultation of scientific literature on the loss of electrolytes during sweating combined with extensive in-field testing to get the right concentration of ingredients to keep the body’s electrolyte balance optimized for peak physical performance. The founder of SaltStick, Johnathan Toker, holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry and is also an accomplished tri-athlete, which qualifies him much better than most to tackle the issue of producing effective rehydration tablets!
My Experience with SaltStick
Speaking more specifically, the formulation of SaltStick was tuned to replace the amount of electrolytes the body will use in about an 30-60 minutes of physical exercise. Personally, after using SaltStick as recommended during my cycling outings and days at the gym, I think they got it right. Taking 1 SaltStick capsule about every hour when I’m physically active, I can definitely feel a difference in my energy levels. I am less fatigued, suffer fewer cramps from cycling, and feel like I have more energy overall.
Now, it is not a dramatic difference. If you are expecting wondrous things from rehydration tablets, you are barking up the wrong tree. However, it certainly makes me feel better overall and I feel like I get more out of my exercise when I am properly hydrated. SaltStick contains no Banned Substances, which means you can use it in most athletic competitions or cycling events without concern (be sure to check the rules of your specific event before hand, however.) Athletes are all intimately aware of how important peak physical condition is, and electrolyte supplements are certainly an important tool in the kit for being all you can be.
Ultimately, I’m pretty impressed with SaltStick. It does what it says it is going to do, and helps me get more out of my physical activities. I’m awarding it 5 stars in this review, because I don’t feel like there is much to ask from an electrolyte supplement, and SaltStick definitely hits all the bases. And at around $20 for 100 capsules, it is also quite affordable.
Although the original reason I wanted to try SaltStick was for exercising and athletics, I’ve found it useful for some other things as well. Whenever dehydration strikes, hydration tablets come in handy immediately. I have nursed a few hangovers with the aid of SaltStick, and it certainly makes a difference.
In a similar vein, dehydration from sickness can also be helped out a bit by SaltStick. Keep in mind, SaltStick is not medicine and it should not be used as such. But after the flu left me feeling pretty awful and low, adding a SaltStick capsule every couple hours helped keep my energy levels up and made me feel a little less awful.
SaltStick Caps Plus and SaltStick Dispenser
Aside from the classic SaltStick caps we’ve been talking about so far, there is also SaltStick Plus, which adds 30 mg of caffeine to the mix for a bit of an extra boost. Personally, as a daily caffeine drinker, the relatively low-dose of 30 mg is a nice boost of caffeine to keep me pumped at the gym without being enough to keep me up all night. I actually like SaltStick Plus quite a lot and plan to stock up.
The other important mention is the SaltStick Dispenser (~$23 on Amazon.com,) which is a nifty device that can easily be mounted to a bicycle, worn on a running belt, or attached to a variety of other athletic devices. Providing a simple way to access SaltStick caps even during a cycling race or a marathon, the SaltStick Dispenser prevents the caps from getting wet, lost, or jostled around too much, all while providing a simple way to get one whenever you need. I haven’t had a chance to try to the dispenser myself, but if your a fan of SaltStick it is definitely worth checking out.
If you can’t decide if electrolyte supplements are right for you, try picking up this sample pack from SaltStick for just $5 and giving it a try for yourself. You’ve got basically nothing to lose!
Formulated For Optimal Rehydration
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- Rated 5 stars
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SaltStick Rehydration Tablets provides a simple way to get a boost of electrolytes in the form of an easy-to-take tablet.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.