This investigation examined whether low sodium (Na+) (LNA; 68 mEq Na+·d-1) or moderate Na+ (MNA; 137 mEq Na+.d-1) intake allowed humans to maintain health, exercise, and physiologic function during 10 days of prolonged exercise-heat acclimation (HA). Seventeen volunteers, ages 19 to 21, consumed either LNA (n=8) or MNA (n=9) during HA (41°C, 21% RH; treadmill walking for 30 min.h-1, 8 h·d-1 at 5.6 kmh-l, 5% grade), which resulted in significantly reduced heart rate, rectal temperature, and urine Na+ for both groups. There were few between-diet differences in any variables measured. Mean plasma volume in LNA expanded significantly less than in MNA by Days 11 and 15, but reached the MNA level on Day 17 (+12.3 vs. +12.4%). The absence of heat illness, the presence of normal physiologic responses, and the total distance walked indicated successful and similar HA with both levels of dietary Na+.
Armstrong and Pasqualicchio are with The University of Connecticut, Human Performance Laboratory, Box U-110, 2095 Hillside Road, Storrs, CT 06269-1110. Hubbard, Askew, De Luca, O'Brien, and Francesconi are with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760-5007.