Nuun Active tabs provide an effective way of getting electrolytes into your system.
It's well known that sweating during exercise means the loss of more than just water. Certainly, there are plenty of products that claim to boost your endurance by increasing your electrolyte intake – sometimes even without the use of carbohydrates: Nuun Active is one such.
For those just getting to grips with the deal with electrolytes: essentially they're salts that are lost during exercise through sweat, along with the water that you can see and feel dripping down your face. Ever wondered why the area around your lips tastes salty once sweat has dried? Electrolytes.
The bottom line is that our bodies need electrolytes to stay hydrated. Hydration refers to the delicate balance of salt and water in your body – and a too-concentrated or too-dilute make-up of this in your body can cause sub-optimal performance, because the electronically charged particles (hence the name 'electrolyte') help carry electronic signals throughout your nervous system – from brain to muscle, and back again.
So, with the need for electrolyte intake established, how much do we need? Well, depending on the individual, the activity and how much you sweat, it's up for debate. But handily, Nuun makes things simple. Sort of.
With the Active tabs, it tells you that there's 360mg sodium, 100mg potassium, 25mg magnesium, 13mg calcium and 38mg of Vitamin C per tablet. Nuun recommends that you add one tablet to 475ml of water for one serving. The recipe has been upgraded with the addition of new plant based sweeteners and ingredients including Stevia leaf extract as sweetener, beet juice powder and avocado oil.
Nuun recommends using one tablet per hour of exercise for 'best results', so I stuck to this during my testing. With testing carried out during the winter, sweating is less of an issue on the bike outside, so I also used it during my much sweatier and more intense gym sessions (in my case, brought on by a slightly left-field diversification into rowing training).
I can happily report the recommendations adequate, with concentration levels noticeably, if not quantifiably, sharper over the course of a training session – be it on the road or in the gym. No cramps, and less specific muscle fatigue, signified by that involuntary twitching you get when you've worked especially hard.
Naturally, the warmer the weather and the longer you spend out on the road during those months, the more of these tablets you'll need. Going for a four-hour ride? That's four bottles' worth (unless you're adding salt to your buttered toasted teacake at the coffee stop, like me, in which case you can dial it back slightly). Whatever the case, the 10-tablet tubes are small enough to take with you on a ride, which is helpful.
Other things to consider? Well, the tablets are gluten, dairy and soy-free and are batch tested for 'clean sport certifications' (albeit, there's no InformedSport logo prevalent anywhere), and lack any preservatives. They're also suitable for vegans.
We had the orange flavour on test, but with nine currently to choose from – including strawberry lemonade, would you believe? – there's plenty to float your boat. For the record, the orange flavour was light and tasty, although slightly sweeter I think than the SiS GO Electrolyte equivalent, and slightly fizzy too, even after 90 minutes in the bottle. Not unpleasantly so, but it makes a slight change.
At £6.99 for those 10 servings, they're not massively cheap considering there's no significant energy in them, but you can also use these in tandem with Nuun Plus tablets (review to come) for what Nuun calls the 'Ultimate Sports Drink'. Intriguing...
A decent electrolyte drink that has just received a slight update; suitable for purpose
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Nuun Active
Size tested: 10 tablets
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Nuun says: "[Active is] designed to keep you hydrated wherever your active lifestyle takes you. nuun active is packed with optimal electrolytes, contains clean ingredients, and is low in calories and sugar.
"Packed with electrolytes, light flavor, clean ingredients, and portable, nuun active hydration is the perfect sports drink."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Electrolytes are tiny electronically charged particles that are lost via sweat during exercise. The four main electrolytes that play vital roles in hydration and exercise performance are: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- sodium: maintains fluids balance
- potassium: prevents muscle cramps
- magnesium: relaxes muscles
- calcium: required for normal muscle functions
Each tablet contains:
- 10 calories
- Sodium: 360 mg
- Potassium: 100 mg
- Magnesium: 25 mg
- Calcium: 13 mg
- Vitamin C: 38 mg
- 1 g of sugar
Other ingredients include:
- Plant based sweetener monk fruit and a touch of stevia leaf extract to provide a crisp and light sweetness
- Non-gmo sourced dextrose to increase the speed of absorption and hydrate you faster
- Avocado oil for clean, plant-based production
For giving you the electrolyte boost you need for exercise, they work well.
On its own, 70p per tab isn't at all bad for an electrolyte drink, although not cheap with no carbs to speak of.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, no complaints. You'll need to beef it out with the Plus product for hot summer riding, though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The size, effectiveness in general use, flavour and fizzy taste.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
An effective electrolyte-boosting sports drink, recently updated with a few extra (if not really significant) calories.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding