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Chin J Physiol. 2012 Jun 30;55(3):147-55. doi: 10.4077/CJP.2012.BAA010.

Higher prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia in triple iron ultra-triathletes than reported for ironman triathletes.

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  • 1"Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland"


"In a recent study of male and female ultra-marathoners in a 161-km ultra-marathon, the prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) was higher than reported for marathoners. Regarding triathletes, the prevalence of EAH has been investigated in Ironman triathletes, but not in Triple Iron ultra-triathletes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of EAH in male ultra-triathletes competing in a Triple Iron ultra-triathlon over 11.4 km swimming, 540 km cycling, and 126.6 km running. Changes in body mass, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, total body water, haematocrit, plasma volume, plasma sodium concentration ([Na ⁺ ]) and urine specific gravity were determined in 31 male athletes with (means ± standard deviation) 42.1 ± 8.1 years of age, 77.0 ± 7.0 kg body mass, 1.78 ± 0.06 m body height and a BMI of 24.3 ± 1.7 kg/m² in the 'Triple Iron Triathlon Germany'. Of the 31 finishers, eight athletes (26%) developed asymptomatic EAH. Body mass, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, and haematocrit decreased, plasma volume increased ( P < 0.05), plasma [Na ⁺], total body water and urine specific gravity remained stable. The decrease in body mass was related to both the decrease in fat mass and skeletal muscle mass ( P < 0.05), but was not related to overall race time, the change in plasma [Na ⁺ ], post-race plasma [Na ⁺ ], or urine specific gravity. The prevalence of EAH was higher in these Triple Iron ultra-triathletes compared to existing reports on Ironman triathletes. Body fluid homeostasis remained stable in these ultra-triathletes although body mass decreased."

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