Impact of 3-day high and low dietary sodium intake on sodium status in response to exertional-heat stress: a double-blind randomized control trial

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Purpose: To determine the impact of altering dietary sodium intake for 3 days preceding exercise on sweat sodium concentration [Na+], and cardiovascular and thermoregulatory variables. Methods: Fifteen male endurance athletes (runners n = 8, cyclists n = 7) consumed a low (LNa, 15 mg kg−1 day−1) or high (HNa, 100 mg kg−1 day−1) sodium diet, or their usual free-living diet [UDiet, 46 (37–56) mg kg−1 day−1] for 3 days in a double-blind, randomized cross-over design, collecting excreted urine (UNa) and refraining from exercise. On day 4, they completed 2 h running at 55% V˙ O2max or cycling at 55% maximum aerobic power in Tamb 35 °C. Pre- and post-exercise blood samples were collected, and sweat from five sites using absorbent patches along the exercise protocol. Results: UNa on days 2–3 pre-exercise [mean (95% CI) LNa 16 (12–19) mg kg−1 day−1, UDiet 46 (37–56) mg kg−1 day−1, HNa 79 (72–85) mg kg−1 day−1; p < 0.001] and pre-exercise aldosterone [LNa 240 (193–286) mg kg−1 day−1, UDiet 170 (116–224) mg kg−1 day−1, HNa 141 (111–171) mg kg−1 day−1; p = 0.001] reflected sodium intake as expected. Pre-exercise total body water was greater following HNa compared to LNa (p < 0.05), but not UDiet. Estimated whole-body sweat [Na+] following UDiet was 10–11% higher than LNa and 10–12% lower than HNa (p < 0.001), and correlated with pre-exercise aldosterone (1st h r = − 0.568, 2nd h r = − 0.675; p < 0.01). Rectal temperature rose more quickly in LNa vs HNa (40–70 min; p < 0.05), but was similar at the conclusion of exercise, and no significant differences in heart rate or perceived exertion were observed. Conclusions: Three day altered sodium intake influenced urinary sodium excretion and sweat [Na+], and the rise in rectal temperature, but had no effect on perceived exertion during moderate-intensity exercise in hot ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105-2118
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Cycling
  • Endurance
  • Plasma osmolality
  • Plasma volume
  • Running
  • Salt
  • Sweat

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