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Normative data on regional sweat-sodium concentrations of professional male team-sport athletes

Ranchordas, MayurK., Tiller, NicholasB., Ramchandani, Girish, Jutley, Raj, Blow, Andrew, Tye, Jonny, Drury, Ben
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2017 v.14 no.1 pp. 40
athletes, males, medicine, pilocarpine, questionnaires, retrospective studies, sodium, sports, sports nutrition
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this paper was to report normative data on regional sweat-sodium concentrations of various professional male team-sport athletes, and to compare sweat-sodium concentrations among sports. Data to this effect would inform our understanding of athlete sodium requirements, thus allowing for the individualisation of sodium replacement strategies. Accordingly, data from 696 athletes (Soccer, n = 270; Rugby, n = 181; Baseball, n = 133; American Football, n = 60; Basketball, n = 52) were compiled for a retrospective analysis. Regional sweat-sodium concentrations were collected using the pilocarpine iontophoresis method, and compared to self-reported measures collected via questionnaire. RESULTS: Sweat-sodium concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in American football (50.4 ± 15.3 mmol·L⁻¹), baseball (54.0 ± 14.0 mmol·L⁻¹), and basketball (48.3 ± 14.0 mmol·L⁻¹) than either soccer (43.2 ± 12.0 mmol·L⁻¹) or rugby (44.0 ± 12.1 mmol·L⁻¹), but with no differences among the N.American or British sports. There were strong positive correlations between sweat-sodium concentrations and self-reported sodium losses in American football (r ₛ = 0.962, p < 0.001), basketball (r ₛ = 0.953, p < 0.001), rugby (r ₛ = 0.813, p < 0.001), and soccer (r ₛ = 0.748, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The normative data provided on sweat-sodium concentrations might assist sports science/medicine practitioners in generating bespoke hydration and electrolyte-replacement strategies to meet the sodium demands of professional team-sport athletes. Moreover, these novel data suggest that self-reported measures of sodium loss might serve as an effective surrogate in the absence of direct measures; i.e., those which are more expensive or non-readily available.