Saturday, July 23, 2005

Preliminary Review Elete Electrolyte Water

This is a preliminary review of ELETE




Take this review with a grain of salt because each one of us is an individual and what works or doesn't work for me may or may not work for you. YMMV !
*Note I am not sponsored, employeed or have any affiliation with this company. Just tried it out like anyone can*

Elete is a highly concentrated electrolyte solution that is mixed directly with your water or energy drink and can be placed into camel baks or water bottles.

Background:

I personally have a hard time in the heat. I just seem to wilt and melt away and performance starts to really suffer. Headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, etc. I sweat like a hose. Jersey soaked, helmet pads dripping, headbands, or helmet liners get wrung out into huge puddles.

Who knows exactly the cause of why I feel bad in the heat. Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, etc. And it's not like I go out on a 3hr ride with just one small water bottle. I use a camel bak, and bottles with energy drink.

In addition I cramp, bigtime. Muscle cramps in the legs have been my biggest bane to my racing career. I'll cramp in cold weather races too but the situation worsens significantly in the heat.

As any good bike racer, I'm always looking for that magic bullet. Especially when it has to do with cramping. I've tried salting food more, Endurolytes from E-caps / Hammer, and tried Glycerol Hyperhydration. I think the Endurolytes helped some with performance in the heat and in prolonging when the cramping happened but they never stopped the cramps completely in races. And I did not care for the form factor (horse pills) especially in races. They didn't mix well in water leaving a gritty feeling.

I saw mention of Elete at Jeff Kerkove's Blog. Jeff is a pioneer of the bike racer BLOG. And even if he might be sponsored by them, I don't think he'd push anything that would diminish his chances at success, and I think he's a pretty straight up guy too. I called them up and asked for some samples. My request sort of got lost in the shuffle, but they did find it and sent extras for my patience.

They included the following information and disclaimers in an email.
Please keep in mind that if you run into an electrolyte deficiency or an electrolyte imbalance or a fluid and electrolyte imbalance it is very likely that you will cramp, but these are not the only causes of cramps. We recognize that ELETE will help the large majority of people who suffer from cramps but there are some who will not be helped because there cramps are due to something unrelated to electrolyte imbalance. This is one of the reasons that we guarantee if you buy ELETE from us and it does not help you with your cramps, we will refund your purchase price including any shipping and handling upon your request. We believe that if ELETE doesn't help you, you shouldn't have to pay for it.

ELETE is a blend of electrolyte minerals in electrolyte for which makes them highly absorbable. Because it is a pure electrolyte add it, it can be added to whatever you want to drink and turn it into an electrolyte drink. For serious endurance rides most people prefer to drink water because when they consume the typical sports drinks they max out on the sugar before their hydration needs have been met. ELETE when used according to label directions can be used to make a pure electrolyte water that still tastes like water. The mineral taste is very minimal.

Some people who are serious crampers find that it is helpful to add double the recommended amount of ELETE to their water. This will add more of a mineral flavor to the water but most serious crampers find this preferable to the muscle cramps they endure. Adding a little lemon or lime juice to the mix can be helpful with flavor issues.

The electrolytes in ELETE are essential in controlling fluid balance which is why the product is good for being consumed with all fluids. They are also essential to energy conversion and utilization as well as for proper muscle function. Electrolytes are also used in the body to help with the elimination of waste. All of these things contribute to helping people with muscle cramps.


My ultra scientific method for evaluation of this product consists of the following. Trying it out and seeing how I feel. Riding in similar conditions w/o it and seeing how I feel. No timed courses, or double blinds, sorry.

Packaging
Elete comes in several different sizes for mixing.



For that huge water cooler of yours


P1010135

I have tried the little one in a water bottle, and the clear one for mixing in a gallon of water
P1010137.

The 'rip' part of the little rip package didn't work all that well and scissors worked better.


Taste

There is definitely a taste to this stuff. In regular tap water I don't like the taste at all, and it didn't go away. Take their advice and mix it in distilled water. The taste was better and did seem to go away after sweating some. If you can keep it cold it seems to taste better. I haven't tried mixing in some lime or lemon juice though. And I haven't tried mixing it directly in an energy drink.

I've used it in a water bottle or directly in my camel bak. It is real nice that the stuff can keep for a long time in a camel bak, cause I don't clean it out until I can't see through the tube!

Testing Environment

I'm in South western Virginia. It has been HOT. 85 to 90s with humidity in the 80-90%. And I've been doing rides in the afternoon the worst part of the day. Road rides, with lots of hills so going slow and baking in the sun. Mountain bike rides with low speeds and no wind. 1.5hr to 3hrs in length. Pretty much miserable conditions perfect for wilting away, and testing how well a product like this will work.

I mixed the product according to the directions, and have not tried double strength yet. Really straightforward. Open the package, pour into desired container, shake it up. Ta Da! When in my camel bak I started using it immediately. When it was in a water bottle, I alternated between that bottle and a regular bottle of water. Hammer Gel was used for energy for the most part, sometimes the Power Bar Energy drink.

Did it work?
What I do know is that when I did NOT use the product, I felt like utter and complete crap. Headaches, nausea, light headed. Pretty much par for the course for me when riding and baking in the heat.

When I did use the product. I felt normal, good in general. Hard to explain, just felt like the first hour or so on a 65 degree day. But with this stuff I felt like this 3hrs into 85-90 degree day. It's not like it turned me into a superman or anything, but I think it kept me from turning sub human and getting into the downward spiral of what usually happens when I ride in the heat.

On one road ride, 2:45 into a baking hot ride, I had to take a 'natural break' and was fully expecting very yellow urine, as the day before I'd done a hard ride in the heat, and had dehydration headaches the entire day, and hadn't really drunk as much water as I should have. But it was clear, crystal clear.

The difference in how I feel when using it vs not using it is significant.

During all the rides when I was using it, I didn't experience, or the experience was fairly mild, any of the typical heat related issues I normally do. Later in the day I did get some bad headaches, most likely caused by not properly staying on top of the dehydration.

What about the cramping?
Well I can't seem to cramp in training but in races I can. Won't be doing any races until mid August and those ones might not be long enough to make me cramp. Oct 2nd is the Rowdy Dawg Mountain Bike Race and if there is any race that will make me cramp that is the one. So for this issue I will have to wait and write a supplemental review. But if this stuff does stop me cramping, I would be in heavan.

Cramping is one of those very ellusive things without a definitive understanding or solution. Here is a great little treatise on several magic pills that you can try for cramping
Road Bike Rider.com - cramps

I asked my coach about it and he said the following:
Cramping is simply a situation where the muscles fail to relax. While mineral (electrolyte) deficiency can lead to cramping, more often than not the cause is fatigue. Not only do we need proper mineral levels for contraction and relaxation, these minerals have to be in the right place at the right time. For instance, calcium must be present in the muscle fibers to allow contraction but must be removed and replaced by magnesium in order to promote relaxation. Considering the number of times you are contracting and relaxing during a race, it is easy to see how this system of mineral transport can become overwhelmed and lead to cramping. So, the answer is usually not more supplements, which are almost never in short supply, but more hard training to improve the endurance of the mineral pumps that control the flow of electrolytes in and out of the muscle.


It's depressing when you go to the guru on the mountain hoping for some secret training tool from the ages only to be told what you already knew, train harder. That being said, the above advice is only good if fluids and electrolytes are topped of and kept at good levels through a ride, so it certainly can't hurt to stay on top of it.

Conclusions

Pros:
-Easy to use
-provides continuous dosing as opposed to impulse doses with a pill
-keeps without spoiling
-it's just the electrolytes, not anything else.
-Mixable in water or energy drinks
-really seems to keep the ill affects of heat at bay for me at least

Cons:
-taste at the begining

I'm very pleased with the effects of this product on me. It doesn't make me feel super human but it keeps me from feeling like crap which is always a good thing. I'll definitely continue to use it and experiment with dosing. The ultimate test will be how well it works to combat cramping in a race situation.

I'm not a an exercise physiologist but I have stayed in a Holiday Inn express once or twice. My hack analysis of why it seems to work for me is that at the beginning of a ride, fluids and electrolytes are stable. But a soon as the ride starts I'm already behind the 8 ball and in a downward spiral. Drinking water, and intaking energy in the form of Gel or energy drink is required to slow down the inevitable. The gels/drink are working towards keeping my energy levels stable, and they do provide some electrolyte replenishment but that is not their primary function. Water is of course working towards maintaining hydration. The Elete is working like an IV to provide continuous micro doses of the electrolytes which is working to keep them at stable levels throughout the ride. Yes I will keep my day job.

Again this is just my experience, but if heat is your nemisis, I highly suggest you try it out. And they'll give your money back if it doesn't work.

3 Comments:

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Jeff Kerkove said...

Good review! I will agree with you 100% on everything you wrote. As far as the taste of ELETE in the bottle...Yep, you can tell it's there, but nothing more.

 
At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Review. I'll include a link from my site to your blog.

 
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Barry said...

Nice Review. I'll include a link from my site to your blog.

 

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