Sunday, 29 January 2017

SIS Go Electrolyte Powder Causing Headaches After Long Rides?

After consistently getting headaches after long rides (more than 3 hrs in the saddle) I think I have finally found the cause - SIS Science In Sport Go Electrolyte powder. Read on to find out how and if it could affect you.

A bit of back story - I have been riding for approximately 4 years. SIS Go Electrolyte was one of the first nutritional products I bought after first reading about the importance of carbohydrates and electrolytes in avoiding the dreaded bonk.

I first bought a tub of the Lemon/Lime flavour, it seemed to taste alright, didn't cause any stomach problems and did the job so I never had a reason to buy anything different or think it was causing any problems.

I always used it on any rides I knew would be long, carefully following the recommended amounts for adding to water.

In a pattern many of you will recognise, the miles crept up as the cycling bug took hold. The 15 mile weekend ride became 25 miles, then 35 miles, then 50 miles.

Being generally terrible at pacing myself - sometimes I avoided the bonk, other times I was not so lucky. But one thing was fairly consistent if my ride was over 40 miles - a pounding headache lasting up to 5 hrs after finishing a ride.

I would generally be OK sitting on the sofa, but getting up and walking up the stairs (or anything which got the blood pumping a bit) would result in a quite sharp headache which sometimes went away after a couple of hours but on other occasions would last well into the evening.

It must be dehydration, I thought, even though I am always very careful to drink well before, during and after a ride.

So on my next ride I made doubly sure to drink even more than usual - no difference. Also, without going into too much detail, my pee was clear so I knew dehydration could be written off.

Over the next few months I tried everything, too much sugar before a ride, not enough sugar during a ride, too much sugar after a ride etc etc. But none of it made any difference.

I thought it must be the cold weather, or just a result of exerting myself for long periods of time.

The thing I couldn't figure out was that I never got headaches on shorter rides, even if they were ridden at a much harder intensity or even partially dehydrated.

One day I ran out of Science In Sport Go just before a 45 mile ride, not good but i'll survive. So instead I threw some orange juice in my bidon with some water and got on with it.

The ride went pretty much as normal except afterwards I had no headache! At first I thought it was just a coincidence - I didn't use to get headaches after every ride, probably 75% of the time.

After a ditching the electrolyte powder for a few more long rides, I can report I have not had a headache since.

It had never clicked that I only ever used to use Science In Sport Go when I was doing rides of over about 40 miles - and these were the only rides I was getting headaches after.

After a bit of searching on Google I found I was not alone and a few other people had started topics complaining of similar issues.

I don't know specifically what it is in the electrolyte powder which causes headaches for me, and I have not had a chance to try out any other brands to see if it makes a difference.

Clearly it is not an issue which affects everyone as hundreds of thousands of people happily use Science In Sport's electrolyte products, but if you are suffering from headaches after long rides/runs and use an electrolyte/carbohydrate drink then it is worth cutting it out to see if it makes a difference.

If anyone has had any similar experience with headaches after using these artificial electrolyte/carbohydrate/energy drinks then please leave a comment below, we'd love to hear from you.

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