For too long, I've suffered through nausea during long runs. Like so many things in life, I didn't realize that there was a better way. Over the summer, since a sour stomach crippled me at the FL50, I've been experimenting with nutrition and hydration. What I've found is exciting, but my work is far from complete and probably doesn't apply to everyone. For me, it all starts with electrolytes.
|Orignal G 02 something... what??|
It's just Gatorade right?
We are all not the same, obviously. For instance, my stomach simply cannot handle the amount of sugar in Gatorade, not compared to the amount of water and electrolytes I need. The ratio is way off. Throw in a couple GUs and I'm toast. That combination initiates a very bad cycle that I have a very hard time recovering from. Some people can have GU and sports-drink all day and might even enjoy it (sickies if you ask me).
Considering I've been drinking Gatorade for years, I thought I would have a lifetime tolerance to the stuff. However, I've found that drinking even only a few ounces as a supplement during prolonged exercise, is enough to make me nauseous. That was an eye-opener. Comparing that small amount to what I would drink over the course of 20 miles, no wonder I was getting so sick.
|Nuun: I opened up the tube and|
it smelled so good I wanted
to eat a tablet.
It was a revelation. My nausea disappeared and I was both thirsty and hungry all through out my runs. Now I could ingest as much GU or Sport Beans as I wanted. My stomach was no longer the determining factor in my performance. With the sugar component separated out, I could control it in my body's best interest.
Nuun is not perfect however... I can't imagine a way of using while in a race in which I'm not carrying my own bottle. So, if I want to race light, and who doesn't, how do I get my salt? That's were SaltStick comes in.
SaltStick is a capsule filled with, you guessed it, salt. So, theoretically, I could just carry a half dozen with during the race and pop them every half hour or so. Obviously during a race, I'm at the mercy of the water stops, for both taking the salt and the fuel (Neither of them should be taken without water). Therefore I've been practicing with timing and how to carry this stuff.
|SaltStick: Doesn't taste great|
sitting on your tongue.
Or maybe I should say, I'm determined to make it work. There were issues, but I'm confident they can be worked out. They have to. I work too hard to be tripped up by stomach acid. The price of a stable stomach doesn't come cheap. Nuun is by far the most expensive, but Saltstick isn't exactly a bargain either... it's just salt!
So, if I had a choice, I would choose Nuun. It just works better, plain and simple. For my next ultra, it will be on the top of my check list. SaltStick works for the most part, although I have to put more thought into it's use. Which has been a problem thus far. Gatorade is no longer an option, except maybe after mowing the lawn. Unfortunately I bought two huge tubs of "G" at Walmart, when they were on sale.
SaltStick Ingredients (~$15 for 100 capsules):
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
|Each Capsule Contains||%DV|
(as 550 mg sodium chloride)
(as potassium citrate and potassium chloride)
(as calcium citrate and calcium gluconate)
(as magnesium citrate and magnesium gluconate)
|Vitamin D3||100 IU||25%|
|Other Ingredients: Vegetable cellulose (capsules), magnesium stearate, stearic acid (flowing agents)|
Nuun Ingredients (~$7.50 for 12 tablets):
The following is the nutritional information for a serving of Nuun based on one tablet dissolved in 16oz (500ml) of water. There are under 8 calories per Nuun tab.
|Active Ingredients||level (mg)|
|Vitamin B2||500 mcg|
|Nutritional value per serving|
|Serving size||8 US fluid ounces (240 ml)|
|Energy||50 kcal (210 kJ)|
|- Dietary fiber||0|
|Potassium||30 mg (1%)|
|Sodium||110 mg (7%)|
How on earth you can compare these, I don't know. Just looking at the salts though, you can see how much more SaltStick and Nuun have compared to Gatorade (plus calories and sugar).
Feel free to leave a question or comment about this post!