HYDRATION FAQS:

WHY DOES DEHYDRATION HAPPEN?

dehydration happens for lots of reasons. you’re often dehydrated in the morning when you wake up simply from sleeping for hours (hopefully lots of them!) without fluids. the processes in your body are working hard while you sleep, and even just breathing results in water loss from your body. but the most common causes of dehydration are simply not drinking enough regularly and not drinking enough during or after activity to replace what’s been lost. most of the time people don’t recognise the signs of dehydration and only drink when they feel thirsty. by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and are probably being affected in more ways than you realise.

HOW DO I FIGURE OUT MY PERSONAL HYDRATION NEEDS?

no two people are the same, so figuring out your sweat rate is the most accurate way to figure out your personal hydration needs. and weighing yourself before and after exercise is the most effective way to gauge your fluid needs. any weight loss corresponds with fluid loss, so try to drink enough to replenish that weight. (weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.)

studies have found that a loss of 2% or more of one's body weight due to sweating is linked to a drop in blood volume. when this occurs, the heart works harder to move blood through the bloodstream. this can also cause muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue and even heat exhaustion or heatstroke. for all the athletes out there, it can mean a major drop in performance, and for the rest of us, it makes for a really uncomfortable day.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT FLUID LOSS?

although sweat rate is the most basic and accurate way to keep tabs on your hydration needs, there are other factors to consider. training or participating in activities at altitude increases your fluid losses and therefore increases your fluid needs. excessive heat increases fluid loss through sweating. during moderate exercise in a cool climate an average person can loose up to 1 cup or more per hour. the same individual can loose up to four times that amount per hour in a hot and humid climate. and cold weather exercise can impair your ability to recognise fluid depletion and increases the rate of fluid-loss through respiration. so no matter what kind of weather you’re in, optimal hydration is your key to health and high-performance.

HYPONATREMIA - WHAT IS IT?

we've all heard that drinking more water is good for your health, but an increasing number of hyponatremia cases shows us that drinking water isn't always enough—especially when it’s being consumed in large quantities over short periods of time. Hyponatremia is the scientific term for low concentration of sodium in the blood, and it can occur from over-hydrating with plain water. drinking excess amounts of water, especially during extended exercise or activity, can deplete essential electrolytes in the body, causing disorientation, illness and in rare cases death. for athletes, effects are generally seen during longer and hotter races when they’re sweating a lot and the levels of water intake are likely to be high.

HOW DOES HYPONATREMIA OCCUR?

when salt leaves the body through sweat and lots of plain water gets taken in, the bloodstream becomes diluted and sodium and potassium levels drop. but sodium is essential for optimal cell function. it helps with the electrical signals that occur in our bodies, and it helps regulate cellular osmotic pressure through osmosis. (remember that school experiment with the bag-like thing and the salty water?) when hyponatremia occurs, cells throughout the body take on more water than normal and expand. rings and watches will get tight, you’ll look all puffy and, the bad bit, your brain swells. since your brain is in a rather inflexible skull, it gets a bit squished and that’s where the disorientation—and in worse case scenarios, fatalities—come from.

WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?

we’ve received a lot of letters and emails from folks who have suffered from some degree of hyponatremia. often the common link is that they were preparing for a tough event in a harsh environment, like a ride in a desert or a long run in a canyon. but you can get hyponatremia anywhere when you're sweating profusely and you’re consuming a large quantity of water without electrolytes. a good electrolyte drink will go a long way in helping to prevent hyponatremia. this has been well documented by medical journals. Nancy Auer, MD, VP of Medical Affairs at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, says, "Maybe we need to make sure there is more sodium in the beverages we're encouraging athletes to drink." it’s time to rethink the conventional wisdom behind the water stations at athletic events and make sure we're properly hydrating athletes to prevent hyponatremia.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID HYPONATREMIA?

our advice–be sensible. you need to be aware of the potential problems associated with drinking a lot of water while being active for extended lengths of time. it’s important to replenish your body’s electrolytes at the same time. naturally we recommend using nuun. with just one tab and 16 ounces (500ml) of water, you get a sugar free sports drink with the optimal balance of electrolytes. but whatever you decide is best for you, nuun encourages you to stay properly hydrated.

OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS

CAN I MIX NUUN WITH OTHER DRINKS?

nuun is designed with a balanced ratio of water to electrolytes for optimal hydration. if you find mixing nuun with other hydration products works for you, fantastic. we’re all about helping people get the best hydration for their needs.

HOW MANY SERVINGS ARE IN NUUN?

the sturdy lightweight tube is good for 1.5 gallons (6 litres) of electrolyte hydration. there are 12 nuun tabs per tube. each nuun tab makes 16 ounces (500ml) and can easily be broken in half for 8oz mixes.

WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES?

as you might guess from their name, electrolytes are electrically charged, which means that they can conduct electrical impulses. the body needs electrical impulses to make muscle cells contract. the foods we eat and fluids we drink contain mineral salts, which form electrolytes when they dissolve in the fluids in our bodies. the body has to perform a delicate balancing act to keep water and electrolyte levels just right. for example, whenever sodium levels dip too low, the kidneys are stimulated to produce more urine, which restores the balance by lowering the amount of water in the blood. and when the sodium level gets too high, thirst develops, stimulating the person to drink. a hormone is also secreted by the brain in response to thirst that causes the kidneys to produce less urine. together, these effects result in dilution of the sodium and the restoration of balance.

IS NUUN CARBONATED?

a burping athlete is not a good thing, so no, nuun is not carbonated. when first dropped into water nuun fizzes to dissolve, but once it’s finished dissolving it will very quickly become still.

CAN I EAT NUUN?

nuun was designed to be mixed with water, but we’ve heard of some people eating it anyways. whether as an experiment or to get your electrolytes in a hurry, it isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it won’t hurt you.

HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN A NUUN?

nuun is sugar free, so it’s nearly calorie free, but there are a couple calories from the stuff that makes it fizz and dissolve. when you add them up it comes out to less than 8 calories per 16oz (500ml) drink.

CAN MY KIDS DRINK NUUN?

sure, nuun’s great for hydrating and it’s a great way to get kids to drink more water (instead of sugary sodas!).

IS NUUN SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN?

well first, congratulations; we hope the pregnancy is going well so far and you're taking enough time out to go to yoga and have nice walks in the sun while you have that "baby inside" glow. we also need to say that we're not physicians and obviously anything to do with the baby you should check with your doctor first. that said though, our founder's wife used nuun throughout both pregnancies and found the hydration without the sugar to be perfect for maintaining a good fluid balance without all the 'ick' of other drinks. it also came in pretty handy during the birth so we were going to rename the product "labor-ade" for a while.

WHAT ABOUT NUUN FOR A HANGOVER?

we all like to party from time to time. but too much celebrating can lead to dehydration, and since nuun hydrates more quickly than water alone, you might find us drinking nuun after our post-race celebrations. take two nuuns and call us in the morning.

HOW MUCH NUUN SHOULD I DRINK?

well, we're not really sure how much nuun you should drink. but wait, let us explain: nuun was designed to give you the right balance of electrolytes to water but there's no prescribed amount. just add one tablet for every 16oz (500ml) of water, and you'll have the correct ratio. our advice is to drink what you think you need--your body should be able to tell you. there are many years of design in that body of yours and it's rather good at keeping you alive and kicking, so listen to it and, if you're thirsty, drink up. if you drink too much, you'll probably just take an extra trip to the toilet. bottom line....drink as you feel you need

WILL MY NUUN KEEP? FOR HOW LONG?

well, if you make up a batch of nuun, it wont go bad for awhile. and, truth be told, we’re not really sure exactly when it would. nuun's clean, non-sticky, and there’s no sugar to eat away at itself and make gunk but...let's be reasonable here. i wouldn’t leave a glass of water out for a week and then drink it either. sometimes i leave nuun in my waterbottle, unrefrigerated, for a couple days at a time, and no science experiments have come of it yet. and i haven't yet died. as always, though, use discretion. i wouldn’t make up a big tub of nuun now and save it as a special treat for your (2013, 2014, 2015) new year’s extravaganza.

IS NUUN GLUTEN FREE?/I HAVE CELIAC’S DISEASE…

good news! nuun is gluten free. in fact, all our products are. in general, nuun is pretty allergy friendly, but as with anything, we’re not doctors here so you might want to check with your physician first.

CAN I DRINK NUUN IN THE OFFICE/AT HOME/WHEN I’M NOT WORKING OUT?

we like nuun so much here that we tend to drink it in the office, too. in fact, there’s some tri-berry on my desk as i’m writing to you. and to be quite honest, if you consume too much, you’ll probably just have to take a few extra trips to the loo. advice is to drink what you think you need, when you need it. your body will tell you, and if you're thirsty, by all means. and, not only is it good at hydrating you while you’re working hard, it’s great for both workout prep and workout recovery.

WHY DOES NUUN LOSE ITS COLOUR AFTER AWHILE?

nuun uses natural colours - mainly beet juice for red and riboflavin for yellow (a combo makes orange etc). some of these are UV unstable, which means that after being left in the sun, they break down and the colour goes....so they become clear. the first to go is riboflavin (yellow) so lemon/lime becomes clear and citrus becomes red (it's a combo of beet and riboflavin, so after a bit of UV exposure all you're left with is the red). the nuun shouldn’t taste differently, it will just be clear...and more difficult to tell what flavour you have. it doesn’t have any effect on the electrolytes or nutrition, either—same good old nuun.

ARE YOUR CAPS RECYCLEABLE?

the nuun tube is indeed recyclable (the cap is not, however, we're still working on that)

WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR SWEETENER IN NUUN?

let's cover a couple things first; most sports drinks use sodium chloride which has a terrible taste (it's salt) and therefore requires lots of sugar to override the bad taste. nuun uses sodium carbonate (baking soda) which doesn't have the bad taste and therefore a bit of natural flavour gets to a pretty good answer. however, good isn't good enough, as a drink needs to taste pretty great for people like you to want to drink it, so after trials we needed to brighten it just a touch. we didn't want to use the "standard" sweeteners out there of either aspartame (nutrasweet) or sucralose (splenda) for either health or taste reasons so settled on a sweetener we were happy with called acesulfame potassium. it's been around for many many years and is used in some baking as well as some other food products and it's something we are absolutely happy to have in a product we use every day.

SORBITOL? IS THAT YOUR SWEETENER? WHY IS SORBITOL IN NUUN?

let's clarify about the sorbitol bit: sorbitol is a naturally occuring sugar alcohol that's in fruits and vegetables, but it would be a pretty ineffective sweetener as it’s actually less sweet than sugar. it's in nuun as a part of making the tablet, and there's the same sorbitol in nuun as there is in apple juice. there’s actually less sorbitol in nuun than there is in many toothpastes, or even a small glass of apple juice. we use it to hold the tablet together (so it won’t disintegrate once it’s exposed to air, that might defeat the purpose of the tab to begin with). and, nuun doesn’t use a whole lot of sweetener to begin with (as you can probably taste). we just wanted something other than sucralose or aspartame, so we use acefulfame potassium instead. it’s been around for awhile now, 50+ years. and we figure we need a little something in there, because no matter how good something is for you, if you don’t like the taste of it, you won’t drink it. we cross our heart promise you that we wouldn’t want to put anything scary in our bodies, nor yours! and, of course, we wouldn’t make a product that hardcore athletes such as yourself wouldn’t be comfortable drinking, or think tastes good, or didn’t aid them in their prep/performance/recovery in any way.

KONA COLA AND LEMON TEA HAVE CAFFEINE! WHY IS IT IN THERE!? IT’S A DIRUETIC!

you’re right--our kona cola flavour and lemon tea do indeed have caffeine (40mg per tab to be precise, about the same as a coke or pepsi). kona cola was originally conceived and created out on the hawaii ironman course where flat coke is consumed on the run. we thought it might be a brilliant idea to create a version without the sugar, replacing all your electrolytes with a flavour option other than your typical sports drink fruity ones–with the additional benefit of caffeine for a little pick-up. for most people, the amount in nuun doesn't do much unless you've consumed quite a bit of it...which is what the atheletes do over time, but for some of you with sensitivities to caffeine, even a small amount maybe enough to keep you up for a few days. caffeine is only in the kona cola and lemon tea flavours as it’s not for everyone - but it's there as an option for some athletes who prefer a bit of it when they workout for stamina and delaying fatigue. and, you’re right, caffeine is a diuretic, and it might make you take an extra visit to the loo every once in awhile, but so will drinking nuun, as it’s hypotonic (lighter than blood plasma) so it hydrates you more quickly...and if you’re not sweating it out right away, it’ll pass through you. studies have shown that diuretic effects shouldn’t pose any dehydration problems to athletes who consume caffeine in moderate amounts. and really, that’s it—everything in moderation.

WHY IS THERE CITRIC ACID IN MY NUUN?

citric acid is half of the effervescent system (the other half is the carbonate, which is the alkali...or base as people in america seem to call it) which allows nuun to dissolve in water. if it’s the acid part of the drink that you are concerned about, here's the clever bit: the acid and the alkali (base) react to neutralise each other out, and carbon dioxide is realised in the process. so by the end of things, there's very little acid left in the drink. in fact, nuun has the lowest acid profile of any sports drink on the market. gatorade is at pH2.95 (more acidic) whereas nuun is 4.8-ish. the pH scale is on a log base so gatorade (powerade etc) are over 50x more acidic. couple that with nuun having no sugar and we are tres tooth friendly, as they say in france.

THE FLAVOUR?

it's rather light, a bit tart, but nothing overwhelming as it was concocted for the active palate. if you’ve ever watered down a sports drink because it’s too strong tasting, than nuun is for you and it’s really easy on the stomach.

WHAT DOES ‘NUUN’ EVEN MEAN?

that’s a toughie, that question. to be quite honest, even with working here and all, i’m not quite sure what ‘nuun’ means, either. so i checked into it for you: nuun means a lot of different things, did you know that? ‘nuun gems jewellery’ is the premiere store for amazing thai gold jewellery. nuun is also a god in breton mythology who had the power to let time stand still. the ‘nuun highlands’ is a large area north of lynna city in the legends of zelda. and, of course, nuun was the last octa of the octom coalition, in the star wars fanon universe. so, i guess while ‘nuun’ doesn’t necessarily mean one single thing, i do know that to us, it means optimal hydration that tastes delicious, in a sustainable way, in a rather chic tube, with a nifty logo we like to plaster everywhere.

still didn’t find an answer to your question? write to us at enquiries@nuun.co.uk