I finally did it. After listening to everyone rant and rave about how Nuun changed their lives and made them look younger and run faster, I had to temporarily get on board with the Angry Birds and try it out. Because it comes in many different varieties, I took my time testing it out. I used it on runs. I used it after runs. I even used it after a night where I had one too many craft beers and acquired a serious morning headache.
The Claims: Nuun is an “electrolyte enhanced drink” that promises to “alleviate cramps, help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently.” Unless I failed biochemistry (which I didn’t), that’s a enhanced interpretation of the role of electrolytes. In general, we think of electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Bicarb) as being critical mediators of the electrical function of our cells. Of the above claims, alleviation of cramps and muscle function are the most scientifically supported. Also in general, it’s difficult to deplete these to the point of loss of function without an underlying medical condition. Most of us on normal runs, in normal temperatures are at a very low risk of depleting electrolytes. The environments where electrolyte depletion is likely are long events or events in extreme heat or humidity.
Each Nuun Tablet has 360 mg Sodium, 50 mg Potassium, 25 mg Magnesium and 13 mg Calcium.
So if I’m skeptical, why did I try Nuun? First, because everyone else is and I like to know what’s on the market. Second, because I don’t drink enough water and welcome things that help me increase my intake daily. Third, because it’s summer and I regularly do 90+ minute runs in hot conditions. Because I’m asking a lot of my body over the summer months, it’s worth it to make sure the electrolyte gas tank is topped off before my next big effort.
What I Found: I tried four flavors of Nuun Active Hydration: TriBerry, Lemon Lime, Orange and Pink Lemonade. I’m waiting on a tube of Watermelon Nuun to arrive. Once I got used to the flavor (a little chalky, despite being a fluid) and the waiting (you need 2 minutes for the tab to dissolve), I found that I really liked drinking Nuun after my runs. It is more interesting than water and I found it easier to get 20 ounces down than I usually do. As for the flavors…
TriBerry: Blech, my first trial and not for me. Reminded me of medicine as a kid.
Lemon Lime: Okay. Not a strong flavor, a lot like watered down Yellow Gatorade.
Orange: Good, subtle flavor but totally palatable.
Pink Lemonade: My favorite and one I will definitely use again.
In conclusion, although Nuun didn’t make me younger, it does make my post-run routine more exciting and I’m more willing to drink water and generally rehydrate myself. It doesn’t have sufficient carbohydrates for use alone during a marathon, but could be combined with gels or other food items.
Have you tried Nuun? What’s your favorite flavor?