What to Know About Salt Tablets

When people think about their sodium consumption, they often think about it in terms of reducing their sodium intake. Consuming too much salt can result in issues like headaches, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and strokes, which is why people are generally advised to keep to the recommended daily limit of 2300 mg of salt a day[1] – or about a teaspoon's worth. 

However, this recommendation is not a hard and fast rule. There are some people who will need to consume more salt than usual, whether due to certain health conditions, or because they are losing an excessive amount of salt through sweat (such as athletes and laborers). 

Low levels of blood sodium (hyponatremia) can result[2] in nausea, headaches, fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness, and, in severe cases, muscle spasms, swelling of the brain, coma, and even death[3]Other effects of low sodium intake include greater insulin resistance (which may cause type 2 diabetes) and even possibly a greater risk of hospitalization due to heart failure[4].


How Salt Tablets Work

Salt tablets contain salt – specifically, sodium, an electrolyte essential to your body's healthy functioning and basic cellular activity[5]Some salt tablets may also include other electrolytes, such as potassium.  

These electrolytes are generally in a state of balance within your body. However, there are some instances where they may become imbalanced, such as due to certain health conditions like dysautonomia and due to excess intake of water. Dehydration can also affect the electrolyte balance in your body. 

In such situations, salt tablets can help return balance to your electrolytes. Sodium, for example, helps with the proper functioning of your muscles and nerves, and if it is imbalanced, you can experience severe side effects, as mentioned above. Salt tablets help address these issues. 


Benefits of Salt Tablets

Aside from helping balance your electrolytes, salt tablets also help maintain healthy hydration levels. Treating low fluid levels with water is not enough – if your fluid and sodium levels are both imbalanced, the water you consume will quickly be lost, returning your fluid levels to lower than ideal. 

Additionally, these tablets help you retain fluids. This is because when you consume sodium, your body holds on to water to manage the water-sodium balance. However, this is only the case when you also drink enough water to maintain the balance. 

If you consume too much sodium without balancing it with water, your kidneys work overtime to excrete the excess sodium to prevent an unhealthy buildup. The end result is you will feel further dehydrated. 

Salt tablets, in particular, are highly beneficial for long-distance athletes. Studies[6] have found that sodium chloride helped men retain fluids better than a different rehydration method using glycerol. They also show[7]consuming salt orally helps improve the concentration of electrolytes in the bloodstream and decreases the loss of water weight during a half-Ironman race, which involved swimming, cycling, and running. While the loss of water weight is generally a temporary concern, losing too much water, even temporarily, can be dangerous and affect the healthy functioning of your organs. 

As mentioned above, the effectiveness of salt tablets is not limited to athletes – it can also be effective for people with low blood sodium levels. Low sodium is often an issue for older adults, as they are likely to be prescribed diuretic medications and have a greater likelihood[8] of suffering from problems of the:

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal gland

These issues can all result in low sodium levels.

Furthermore, some conditions like chronic vomiting, dysautonomia, cystic fibrosis, and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) can also result in hyponatremia. Other reasons you may have low blood sodium levels include the usage of the recreational drug Ecstasy, certain prescription medications, and hormonal changes[9].

In all of these situations, balancing your blood sodium levels is essential. This is where salt tablets come in. Doctors will often prescribe salt tablets to people who have symptoms associated with hyponatremia to help address low blood sodium. They may also be prescribed as a precautionary measure for people who are at risk of developing hyponatremia.


How to Consume Salt Tablets

As mentioned above, ensuring your sodium and fluid levels are balanced is essential. Because of this, you should always swallow salt tablets with water.  

Make sure you read the complete list of ingredients when using salt tablets, as many contain other electrolytes aside from salt. For example, Klaralyte contains 250 mg of sodium and 50 mg of potassium per tablet. Knowing the exact makeup of the pill you're taking will help you determine how many tablets you need to take.  

Read the instructions on the packaging very carefully, and check the recommended dosage. Klaralyte, for example, can be taken 2-5 times a day, and you can take 2 tablets with water on each of these occasions. 

At the same time, make sure you consult your doctor about dosage. The amount of sodium a person with hyponatremia needs to make up for their current shortfall will differ from person to person, based on the severity of their condition. A doctor will be able to guide you as to what your new daily sodium intake should be, following which you'll be able to decide how many salt tablets you need to consume daily.


Side Effects of Salt Tablets 

Salt tablets are not without side effects. While they are generally safe to use over the counter, excessive use of salt tablets can result in hypernatremia or higher-than-normal blood sodium levels. Symptoms of excessive sodium in the body include headaches, delirium, flushed skin, restlessness, dizziness, and swelling of the tongue. 

This is also why it is recommended you consult a medical professional before adding salt tablets to your routine. Not all people who have conditions like dysautonomia and cystic fibrosis will need to add sodium to their diet, and assuming you will need to take salt tablets can result in severe consequences. 


Final Thoughts

Salt tablets are a highly effective way to boost sodium intake in people with hyponatremia and long-distance athletes who lose sodium in their sweat. They are quick and easy to consume, making them a great option when you need an immediate sodium boost, and they allow you to increase your dietary sodium consumption without changing the types of meals you eat. 

However, they should always be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. While they are available over the counter and are generally safe, consuming too many salt pills can result in hypernatremia and have significant health consequences. A doctor will be able to tell you precisely how much additional salt you need to consume, following which you can supplement your intake with salt pills as needed.

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Additional Information

*Not Evaluated by FDA: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Klaralyte LLC manufactures dietary supplements and medical food products that should be used under the direct supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner.

Designated Medical Food: Klaralyte Salt Capsules are classified as a medical food under 21 U.S.C. 360ee(b)(3), and are intended for specific dietary management based on recognized scientific principles, as evaluated by a physician.

Comparative Advertising: Klaralyte is a registered trademark of Klaralyte LLC. Registered trademarks, brand names, images, or any information that could refer to another brand are used solely for lawful comparative advertising. This follows FTC-defined criteria for objectively comparing brands based on attributes or price, while clearly identifying the alternative brand.