Review of Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs

NuunShortly after my crash and burn at the Boston Marathon this year, where I wound up post-race in the med tent with mild hyponatremia, I was contacted by the folks at Nuun (apparently pronounced “noon” and not “none,” though I prefer to call it the latter, just like I prefer to say Vybram rather than Veebram and Teeva rather than Tevah). Not surprisingly, since they don’t make shoes, they wanted to know if I wanted to give their hydration tablets a try (i.e., this review is way overdue!). Given my hydration issues at Boston, I figured it was worth a shot to try something new. After a summer of using the product, here’s my take.

This is going to be a pretty short review because there isn’t a whole lot for me to dissect with this product. In a nutshell, Nuun is a tube containing 12 tablets, and it is currently available in 11 different flavors. To make a drink, you just pop a tablet into 16 oz of water, and the tablet fizzes away like an Alka Seltzer (it’s kind of cool to watch – my kid’s love doing it for me, but I resisted the urge to film the fizz in slow motion). In a few minutes you have a very mild tasting electrolyte drink. Nuun is by no means sweet, and I rather enjoy the subdued taste. I also like that Nuun is not loaded with sugar – only 8 calories per tablet. I rarely take any fuel on my runs unless they are 20 milers or marathons, so for me the added sugar of Gatorade or something like that is unwanted. The catch is that Nuun does contain the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium – given my penchant for diet soda, I’m generally not one to complain about such things (I’m by no means a paragon of nutritional excellence!). But, if artificial sweeteners are not your thing, perhaps better to look elsewhere.

Nuun sent me a variety of flavors to try, and I honestly haven’t had one yet that I don’t like – fruit punch might be my favorite of the ones I have tried so far. I usually drink Nuun on hot days either before or after my runs – can’t honestly comment on its effectiveness as I haven’t been running long much this summer. Furthermore, I tend to find it hard to attest the effectiveness of any type of supplement, which is why I usually avoid reviewing them (that, along with the fact that I don’t use many supplements to begin with). But, I’d seen Nuun around on enough occasions (race expos, my local EMS store) that my curiosity got the better of me in this case.

Perhaps the best thing about Nuun is that a few tubes can last a really long time, and the fact that it comes in tablet form makes it easy to throw a few into a pocket if you anticipate needing to mix a drink on the run – much easier than dealing with powder.

All in all, I’ve had a very positive experience with Nuun, and foresee myself continuing to use it after my current stash runs out.

Nuun is avaialable at Running Warehouse: http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpage-N4VP.html

For more, visit the Nuun website at: http://www.nuun.com/

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. drunkmonckey says:

    I got some the other day and really not a fan at all. At $.50 or so a tablet, I think that the kroger store brand of electrolyte powder packets at less than half the price is a better deal (or way better, just get some tablets and pop them while running at only a few cents each). I didn’t like it at all during a long run in the heat because the fizz wasn’t really what I need at that time. As far as for recovery, I don’t see how the point when you can just add some sea salt and salt substitute (potassium) to some real food. 

  2. I’m a cyclist, and as I age (mid-fifties now), I am having more trouble with acid reflux on long, hard rides. I get these painful, stabbing hiccups that disrupt my breathing and my rhythm and just won’t go away. Most of the sports drinks and gels that I check have either acid in some form or caffein, both of which I believe will make this problem worse. I was wondering if a more akeline-based product would help counteract the acid buildup I seem to experience, and I wondered about the PH balance of this product. I also wondered if I would be better off just spooning a little baking soda into my water bottle. Anyone have any insights on what I can do short of just slowing down and sticking with shorter rides?

  3. I love Nuun and have been using it for over a year.  I find that it really helps me recover after long runs when I’ve lost a lot of fluids.  On a somewhat related note, Nuun is also quite effective as a hangover preventative.  Next time you have one too many drinks, try popping one before you go to sleep and you might actually be able to run the following morning :)

  4. Larry Rodman says:

    I have been using Nuun tabs throughout the summer. Last year I had major leg cramps during a half marathon (even having taken Endurolytes and drunk a couple of coconut waters pre-race) Not once this summer have I had an issue. Could be the Nuuned water. Perhaps not. Either way it works for me so I will keep using Nuun.

  5. Oh good!  I’m not the only one that wants to pronounce Vibrams as VYbrams or Tevas as TEEVAHS.  YAY!  Nuun is pretty tasty in a subdued way, you are right.  It’s refreshing!

  6. Been using these on and off since last summer. The one thing I don’t like about them is the fizz – not because of what it does to my stomach or anything, but because it builds up pressure in my water bottle, causing it to leak or even squirt out at times. I’ve even tried putting the tabs in early and letting them sit for a while, but they continue to build up pressure in the bottle. Just gotta keep it in mind and leave plenty of space at the top so it’s just pushing out air, not water too.

  7. Misszippy says:

    I’ve tried it. Not bad, but I’m not a fan of the fizz!

  8. this product may taste good or bad, but it has nothing to do with hyponatremia, which is a product of over-hydration.  Sodium supplementation is not necessary to maintain normal sodium levels if you dont drink too much.   

    • Are you for real? Hyponatremia is defined as your sodium/water level dropping below 135 mM sodium. This can happen one of two ways, too much water, or not enough salt. It’s a relationship. You can be dehydrated and hyponatremic at the same time. If you are sweating you lose sodium, you get that right? During endurance activities, especially in hot weather, one generally sweats off about a liter of water + 910mg of salt. To prevent dehydration you must replace those fluids. And to prevent hyponatremia you must replace the salt too. The point is to maintain the 135mM balance. In comes NUUN. For short activity usually not a big deal, but if you’re an ultra runner or engage in other high endurance activities (like me) it’s a big deal. I’ve competed in multi-day races where people have died from hyponatremia because they didn’t replace their sodium. Drinking gatorade works, but the problem with it is all the sugar. Do the math. If you’re involved in a multi-day 24 hr nonstop event where you’re sweating about 1L/hour that adds up to a lot of water and salt. If you drink nothing but gatorade that means a ton of sugar carbs that you don’t want over such a long period of time. You can’t live on sugar for a week and keep feeling or performing well. So instead you use sugarless salt tabs like Nuun combined with more normal healthy foods for your energy sources.

  9. Jamie Callahan says:

    I’ve tried using Nuun for a few years now and I really want to like it.  I too like that it’s low calorie, but when it dissolves, the fizzyness of it is like carbonation and that doesn’t sit well when I exercise.  No one wants to be behind me when I’m running or biking because I’m either burping or farting whenever I take a drink of it.

  10. Dirtdawg50k says:

    been using Nuun tablets since last year and have had nothing but success with them. I like the little bit of fizz and the taste is not overpowering!

  11. Love the stuff…I drink it during 6 mile or more runs….helps in the FL heat.

  12. Christopher Harris says:

    I’m a fan of these as well…I was never really a fan of carrying sports drink and didn’t always feel like I needed calories from gel/gu. 

    Most of my usage has been during CX on a stationary bike. It wasn’t unusual for my calf to cramp up when on the bike or afterwards when doing a long session.  Since I’ve started using Nuun, cramps haven’t been an issue at all. I’m sold on these.

  13. The artificial sweetener does crazy things to my stomach.  I tried to like it, but couldn’t.  I use electrolyte gel caps instead.

  14. I use it all the time, especially during long runs or during half time of a rugby match.  Never bonked while using it, so I guess that’s something.

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