Empowering Human Performance | Athletigen Blog

Hydration, salt levels, and your DNA

Posted by Athletigen on Thu, Nov 08, 2018

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Salt is an important part of your daily diet. But you need to be mindful about the amount of salt that you consume in order to reduce your chances of consuming too much. The recommended salt intake for an adult is 1500 mg/day. Training athletes may require levels as high as 3200 mg/day to replace the salt lost in their sweat.

Salt levels are determined by your diet, your training load, and your genetics. Athletigen has identified two genes that affect the way your body handles salt:

  • The UMOD gene influences kidney functions and how efficiently your kidneys regulate sodium concentrations by removing excess sodium in your urine.

  • The ATP2B1 gene is involved in salt and calcium regulation. Some variants are linked to increased risk of hypertension.
Knowing exactly how your genetics affect your salt levels could be the difference between hydration or dehydration while performing. That was certainly the case for professional hockey player Andrew Gordon: 

"Since receiving my latest Athletigen profile, I have learned a ton about my diet. My best example is that I am prone to dehydration and cramping during extended periods of exercise (almost every game), and since I got my profile I have been able to see what I lack and why this happens to me, make a couple small daily dietary changes to my magnesium, potassium, and salt intakes, and my problems almost immediately vanished. This is 11 years into my pro career, and I wish every day I had this knowledge all those years ago."

Learn how your genetics affect your salt levels — and get expert recommendations from Olympic coaches — with the ALTIS Sport Performance Report!

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