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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 Feb 10;11(1):3. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-3.

The prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia in 24-hour ultra-mountain bikers, 24-hour ultra-runners and multi-stage ultra-mountain bikers in the Czech Republic.

Author information

Centre of Sports Activities, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic.
Institute of General Practise and for Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Facharzt FMH für Allgemeinmedizin, Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, Vadianstrasse 26, 9001 St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.
Contributed equally



To assess the prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) in two 24-hour mountain bike (MTB) (R1,R2), one 24-hour running (R3) and one multi-stage MTB (R4) races held in the Czech Republic in a cluster of four cross-sectional studies.


In 27 ultra-mountain bikers (ultra-MTBers), 12 ultra-runners, and 14 multi-stage MTBers, fluid intake, changes (Δ) in body mass, hematocrit, plasma volume, plasma [Na+], plasma [K+], plasma osmolality, urine [Na+], urine [K+], urine specific gravity, urine osmolality, K+/Na+ ratio in urine, transtubular potassium gradient and glomerular filtration rate were measured and calculated. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and symptoms of EAH were recorded using post-race questionnaires.


Of the 53 finishers, three (5.7%) developed post-race EAH, thereof one (3.7%) ultra-MTBer, one (8.3%) ultra-runner and one (7.1%) multi-stage MTBer. Plasma [Na+] decreased significantly (p < 0.001) only in R4. Urine osmolality (R1, R3, R4 p < 0.001; R2 p < 0.05) and glomerular filtration rate (p < 0.001) increased, and body mass decreased in all races (p < 0.05). Δ body mass was inversely related to the number of kilometers achieved (p < 0.001) in R2 where better ultra-MTBers tended to lose more weight. Δ body mass (p < 0.001) and %Δ body mass (p = 0.05) were positively related to lower post-race plasma [Na+] in R3 that was associated with increased loss in body mass. Fluid intake was positively related to race performance in R1 and R2 (R1: p = 0.04; R2: p = 0.01) where ultra-MTBers in R1 and R2 who drank more finished ahead of those who drank less. Post-race plasma [Na+] was negatively associated with race performance in ultra-MTBers in R2 (p < 0.05), similarly ultra-runners in R3 (p < 0.05) where finishers with more kilometres had lower post-race plasma [Na+].


The prevalence of EAH in the Czech Republic was no higher compared to existing reports on ultra-endurance athletes in other countries. Lower plasma [Na+] and development of EAH may be attributed to overdrinking, a pituitary secretion of vasopressin, an impaired mobilization of osmotically inactive sodium stores, and/or an inappropriate inactivation of osmotically active sodium.

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