Running for long distances or in hot weather is all about trying to keep your body cool and hydrated. Guzzling fluids to keep up with your hydration needs is important – however, hydration for runners is often more complex than just drinking plain water.
This is where salt tablets come in!
If it’s hot outside, if you’re sweating a lot, or if you’re exercising for more than 60-90 minutes, it’s also crucial to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.
Sodium is the primary mineral excreted in sweat, making salt tablets for runners a popular and viable solution to replacing the sodium lost in sweat and optimizing hydration.
Not all salt tablets are designed to meet the physiological needs of runners. Below we’ve carefully picked the best 6 salt tablets for runners, containing the specific ratio of key electrolytes lost through sweat in a form that is easy to take and absorb while on the go.
If you want to pick up salt pills for running, keep reading for a brief explanation of the benefits of salt tablets for runners as well as our recommendations for the best salt tablets for runners.
Let’s get into it!
Benefits of Salt Tablets for Runners
So, why should runners consider taking salt tablets?
Salt tablets contain sodium chloride, a key electrolyte lost through sweat. The best salt tablets will also contain other electrolytes excreted in sweat, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. They’re found in our body’s tissues, as well as fluids like blood, urine, and sweat, and each plays a vital role in various physiological functions including nerve conduction, skeletal muscle contraction, and heart muscle contractions.
Moreover, electrolytes have been found to increase the absorption of water and may help reduce muscle cramps and fatigue. They are, however, lost through sweat, which can cause imbalances and deficiencies in runners.
Most importantly, failing to replace electrolytes lost in sweat while consuming water to replace fluids can lead to hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition wherein the body’s sodium levels drop to dangerously dilute levels.
For these reasons, taking salt tablets during and/or after running can help replace electrolytes lost in sweat to ensure your body continues to function optimally.
A randomized controlled trial conducted during a half-ironman found that oral salt supplementation effectively increased fluid absorption and helped maintain sodium levels.
The 6 Best Salt Tablets for Runners
#6: Best Budget Salt Tablets for Runners: SaltStick Caps
SaltStick Caps are one of the most trusted and popular salt tablets for runners. They’re free from unnecessary fillers, are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian, and dissolve quickly to help replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.
The formula is designed to replicate the composition of electrolytes in sweat. Each capsule contains 215 mg sodium, 63 mg potassium, 22 mg calcium, and 11 mg magnesium, and you can take 1 capsule every 30-60 minutes during exercise.
#5: Best Sublingual Salt Tablets for Runners: Base Electrolyte Salt Race Vial
If you prefer a compact, dissolvable salt tablet for running, we recommend the Base Electrolyte Salt Race Vial. It has a unique crystalline form that dissolves sublingually (under the tongue).
This product is designed for athletes and is one of the best sublingual salt tablets for running. It’s portable and convenient, and this all-natural formula contains 84 essential minerals necessary to maintain fluid balance and prevent muscle cramps and fatigue.
Each serving contains 290 mg of sodium, 442 mg of chloride, 12 mg of magnesium, 2.6 mg of potassium, and 3 mg of calcium, so it’s a sodium-heavy salt supplement.
#4: Best Salt Tablet Capsules for Runners: Elite Electrolyte Tablets
If you prefer a salt tablet you can swallow, our pick for the best salt capsules for runners is the Elite Electrolyte Tablets.
These sugar-free, unflavored, keto-friendly, gluten-free electrolyte capsules contain 200 mg of sodium per capsule, along with 99 mg of potassium, 50 mg of magnesium, 50 mg of calcium, and 2.5 mcg of vitamin D.
This blend of electrolytes can help increase your absorption of fluids to improve your hydration during or after running. Moreover, Elite Electrolyte Tablets may help reduce muscle cramping and fatigue because they contain a high amount of magnesium and potassium.
The instructions for use are to take 1-3 electrolyte capsules before running or working out, 1-3 capsules every hour during your workout, and 1-3 an hour afterwards, as needed, so long as you do not exceed 10 capsules in 24 hours. The salt pills must be taken with 250mL of water.
We love how easy these are to take and since you just have to swallow them, there’s no salty taste to choke down and it’s nice that they contain a little vitamin D.
#3: Best Salt Pills for Runners: Safrel Sodium Chloride Tablets
Most of the best salt tablets for runners contain the other key electrolytes lost in sweat, primarily potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
In general, it makes sense to take an electrolyte or salt tablet that contains these electrolytes as well, because even though their concentration in sweat is much lower than sodium, they are still crucial for physiological function and must be balanced in a precise ratio relative to sodium.
With that said, sodium is certainly the predominant electrolyte runners need when rehydrating the body, so basic salt tablets for running can also be a viable option.
Our pick for the best plain salt pills for runners are Safrel Sodium Chloride Tablets 1 gm. Each salt tablet contains 1000 mg (1g) of sodium chloride (equivalent to 394 mg of sodium), offering an efficient way to replenish depleted sodium and aid rehydration during or after running.
The suggested use is to dissolve a single salt tablet in 4 ounces of water and then drink the isotonic sodium chloride solution.
These are some of the best cheap salt tablets for runners being high quality, high potency, and contaning 300 tablets for less than $13.
#2: Best Salt Tablets for Runners Who Sweat A Lot: Reviver Salt Tablets Electrolyte Pills
Reviver Salt Tablets Electrolyte Pills are another great option of salt tablets for runners. Easily swallowed, these gluten-free, vegan salt pills are unflavored, contain no calories or artificial colors or sweeteners, and come in capsule form so that you can swallow them with water.
One of the benefits of Reviver Salt Tablets Electrolyte Pills is that they are buffered with BioPerine, and the formula is designed to increase electrolyte absorption by 30% relative to sports drinks, helping you rehydrate faster and more effectively.
They are manufactured in the United States with full transparency in the labeling, so that you know exactly what’s going into your body and in what amounts.
These high-quality electrolyte tablets contain 225 mg of sodium, 99 mg of potassium, 397 mg of chloride; 30 mg of calcium, 30 mg of magnesium, 5 mg of BioPerine (black pepper fruit extract), 2.5 mcg of vitamin D3, and 2 mg of vitamin B6.
They are designed for athletes and active individuals with the directions of use to take 1-2 capsules with at least 12 ounces of water 30-60 minutes before exercising; 1 capsule every 30-60 minutes with water during the workout; and 1 capsule after exercise.
Again, always take the capsules with 12 ounces or more of water and do not exceed 10 capsules per day.
#1: Best Salt Tablets for Runners Overall: SaltStick FastChews
Our pick for the best chewable salt tablets is SaltStick FastChews. These electrolyte replacement tablets dissolve very quickly in your mouth as you chew them, enabling the electrolytes to rapidly enter the blood stream.
Each chewable salt tablet contains 50 mg of sodium, 15 mg of potassium, 3 mg of magnesium, and 5 mg of calcium, a mixture of electrolytes that replicates the typical ratio of electrolytes lost in sweat.
Given the lower concentration of electrolytes in these tablets, the suggested usage is to take 1-2 chewable tablets every 15-20 minutes during activity.
SaltStick FastChews come in several flavors, including Watermelon, Lemon-Lime, Mixed Berry, Orange, Peach, and Tropical Mango, which means you have quite a few options to find something appealing to your palate. Our personal favorite is watermelon.
Other perks of SaltStick FastChews are that they are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, nut free, and manufactured with high-quality ingredients.
Overall, given the convenience of being able to chew these salt tablets, their great taste, the clean ingredients, and the ratio of electrolytes in each salt pill, we think the SaltStick FastChews are the best salt tablets for runners overall.
Want to refuel well after your run?
Check out how to make your own healthy protein bars here.