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Saltstick Electrolyte Caps review summary: The capsules are vegetarian-friendly and contain five of the six main electrolytes to help with electrolyte balance and hydration during exercise. Each capsule contains 215 mg of sodium, 63 mg of potassium, 22 mg of calcium, 11 mg of magnesium, 349 mg of chloride, and 100 IU of vitamin D.

Saltstick is one of the most well-known brands in sports nutrition, specializing in electrolyte supplements for hydration.

Your gastrointestinal tract begins at your mouth and tongue, meaning the sense of taste also plays a role in how well you process fuel. When you’re going fast and far and already consuming plenty of sweet energy gels, bars, drinks, and other sugar-packed snacks to maintain your glycogen stores and replenish calories, sweetness or taste fatigue is a regular side effect. It’s when you’re so sick of the same overly sweet flavor that you can’t or don’t want to take on more fuel.

Therefore, handling your “electrolyte business” with a tasteless, sugar-free option is not a bad idea. Saltstick Electrolyte Caps are created to allow you to separate your carbohydrate and electrolyte intake and be more precise with hydration.

Below is my experience using the Saltstick capsule on a 42 km trail run that lasted just under six hours.

What are Saltstick Electrolyte Caps? Marketing claims

Saltstick Electrolyte Caps are vegetarian-friendly capsules containing five of the six main electrolytes to help with electrolyte balance and hydration during exercise. Here are four selling points underscored on the product website.

  1. The only electrolyte capsule that was formulated to closely resemble the electrolyte profile lost during activity: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium,” the company stated. 
  2. Cleanly sourced, buffered ingredients to avoid stomach discomfort. “Buffered” means the company used mineral ascorbates, which are gentler on the stomach. 
  3. The bottle also listed benefits in reducing heat stress, cramp prevention, and improved stamina. I’m okay with these claims, which are the natural results when properly hydrated. 
  4. Each capsule provides 100 IU (2.5 mcg) of vitamin D to help with calcium absorption.

What are the ingredients and nutrition facts of Saltstick Electrolyte Caps?

Each capsule contains 215 mg of sodium, 63 mg of potassium, 22 mg of calcium, 11 mg of magnesium, 349 mg of chloride, and 100 IU of vitamin D. (Here’s a comprehensive piece on why electrolytes, in particular sodium, are superduper important)

Other ingredients include:

  • Hypomellose (vegetarian capsule shell).

  • Magnesium stearate and stearic acid (has lubricant properties for capsules and tablets).

When and how should you take Saltstick Electrolyte Caps?

Saltstick recommends taking 1-2 capsules per hour. Sweat rate and sodium loss during running vary greatly from athlete to athlete. The average runner can sweat away 1-1.5 liters and 200-300 mg of sodium per hour. A heavy, salty “sweater” can lose up to 1000+ mg of sodium hourly.

When we reviewed Precision Fuel & Hydration’s Electrolyte Capsules, a similar product, we provided several resources to help you self-evaluate what kind of sweater you are. Click here to read the piece.

I’m a regular sweater, so a capsule per hour is about right for me, and sometimes 2-3 for extended sessions in high temperatures. Always listen to you body and improvise accordingly.

Depending on how comfortable you are with swallowing pills, make sure you have an adequate amount of fluids on hand to help you take the capsule. It’s not small.

How’s the packaging of Saltstick Electrolyte Caps?

Each bottle of Saltsick Electrolyte Caps contains 100 capsules. The bottle is probably too big to bring on runs and rides, so I recommend packing the necessary number of capsules in a ziplock bag to carry in your pockets, belts, or vest.

Also, make sure your hands are not too wet when reaching into the baggie. For runs that last multiple hours, too much moisture in the bag may dissolve the capsule shell.

Conclusion: Does Saltstick Electrolyte Caps work?

YES, they do. They worked well during a 42 km trail run that lasted just under six hours.

Sports nutrition marketing is full of fancy concepts and fads that may or may not work. Even when a gimmick is backed by a slew of scientific studies and anecdotal evidence and provides benefits behind the scenes, you seldom feel noticeable performance advantages when exercising.

In my humble opinion, only three external and exogenous interventions deliver a notable performance boost:

  1. Sugar
  2. Hydration (including fluids and sodium)
  3. Cooling on a hot day (cold drink, ice, shades, dousing yourself in cool water, etc.)

 

Sodium is the most crucial electrolyte for endurance sports hydration, followed by potassium. The other ones are also important but less impactful on performance. If you eat a well-rounded diet, there shouldn’t be negative effects from not replenishing them on runs that last a few hours.

Saltstick Electrolyte Caps provided both sodium and potassium in spades in a tasteless capsule. I liked the fact that I just had to remember to take one every 45-60 minutes, and the electrolyte part of the fueling plan was taken care of. I much prefer water over sugary sports drinks, anyway.

At no point during the run did I feel dehydrated.

This type of product also helps me be more precise by separating my caloric/carbohydrate consumption and hydration.

When you’re mentally and physically exhausted during a race, consuming too much or too little of certain key nutrients is a common error because you forget what was in your bottles and how many packs of energy gels you have eaten. Gastrointestinal problems and bonking are often the disastrous outcome.

A bottle of 100 capsules costs USD23.5 or USD0.235 per pill on many online retailers. Considering each capsule, on paper, can sustain you for an hour, it’s also an economical option.

Runivore gives Saltstick Electrolyte Caps two thumbs up.