ZYM Electrolyte Review

Nutrition Pro Reviews

This last summer I got interested in electrolyte drink tablets for mountain biking, as they provide athletic enhancement, and are the perfect product to add to a hydration reservoir or water bottle, without the fuss of powder. I stumbled upon ZYM’s booth at the massive 2010 Interbike show, and was intrigued by their new product named Rival, that uses the natural Stevia sweetener. I found all their products were pleasant tasting, with a very mild sweetness.

The precise maintenance of electrolytes levels is important, as they affect and regulate the hydration of the body as well as blood pH, and are critical for nerve and muscle function. Without sufficient levels of key electrolytes, muscle weakness, severe muscle contraction, and fatigue can occur. ZYM tablets contain a special blend of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to help maintain body fluid balance, for optimal athletic performance and normal metabolic functioning. Your body requires water, and during vigorous exercise you lose water through perspiration, along with vital minerals and electrolytes. You can re-hydrate faster and more efficiently drinking an electrolyte rich water.

zym_tab

These self-dissolving effervescent tablets are suited for the mountain bike set, since one tablet can be added to 16 -20 oz of water, which works nicely for a hydration reservoir, or a water bottle. ZYM comes in a plastic tube that contains 10 tablets, costs $8-10, and comes in three versions, each with their own flavor, Rival (orange), Endurance (lemon-lime), and Catapult (berry). The ZYM versions each has different ingredients, but they are either sugar free or low in sugar, so you don’t get the usual sugar boost from most sport drinks followed by the inevitable bonk. The lack of sugar also means no sticky residue in your water bottle or reservoir, so cleanup is easy. A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy, and are either naturally occurring (Stevia, Sorbitol and Xylitol), or synthetically made (Aspartame, Sucralose, Neotame, Acesulfame Potassium, and Saccharin). You can find a plethora of information on the internet on the health controversy on the latter substances, but in moderation they can have their place. Better fitness through science! ZYM uses natural flavors, colors and sweeteners (Rival), and is Gluten free and Vegan friendly (makes PETA happy?).

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • chad says:

    seems like you reviewed camelbaks elixir tablets a while back? really like that stuff, how would you compare the two (if that was in fact you)?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    That was me! The Elixir is sweeter, and in direct comparison has more of a syrupy texture to it (for a water based sport drink), so it goes down pretty nicely, while the ZYM has a mellower taste (though I wouldn’t call it watered down). In regard to athletic performance, they both are about the same (never did an accurate qualitative/quantitative test), though the ZYM Catapult has a better energy boost to me (combo of the Guarana and B12).

    What sets apart ZYM is their Rival, which has no artificial sweeteners in it, and some additional vitamins. You can plow through the reams of supposed dangers of artificial sweeteners, that make you pause for a second thought about them. Truth or fiction, not sure, but it makes you think about it?

    I might have to test ZYM, Nuun and Elixir on the same long hideous on different days to have a true cross comparison?

  • chad says:

    Nice, thanks.

    • Claire says:

      Gram, you are one prolific mofo. Don’t know how you even peretnd to care about some salt-tabs. Never mind manage to write a review’. Well done. I hope you were well paid.It’s like that handlebar one. How much do they cost, what do they weight, will they take my weight for my riding style, do they come in black? That’s it.But you managed to write an amazing amount. And with multiple photos. You’d have thought that seeing one black alu tube w white markings was like seeing them all.But your efforts are impressive. I love the little forays into wikipedia for chemistry and stuff. Great. Don’t know how you do it. If someone came to me to sell compressed salt for a massive markup as some kind of useful addition to our kit, I just couldn’t get motivated. I’d feel like I was encouraging innocent people to waste money on useless consumables that they could get elsewhere for nothing thereby reducing the amount they have to spend on more important things.

  • armyslowrdr says:

    Seems terribly expensive say to fill a 100 OZ bladder on a hot day.
    Convenient sure.

    I usually cut Gatorade Endurance formula by half and add in some elete drops. I need to figure the cost but I don’t believe it is anywhere near 4 or 5 dollars per 100 oz.

    Sounds intriguing though and if I stumble upon the product at a Texas eveny, i will be sure and try.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I will check out the ingredients of Gatorade Endurance, thks.

  • CycleBmore says:

    I’ve been using the Zym Endurance for several years during road biking season and really love the product. The new Rival is a welcome addition with the new taste (like it a little better than Endurance) to add variety up and the additional B vitamins and natural sweetner. The low sugar content was my initial reason for switching to Zym (used Gatorade before) and haven’t turned back since. I don’t go on a long ride (anything 30 miles or more) without my Zym tabs. I also like how Zym discontinued using Aspartame as a sweeter in the Endurance flavor a few years back over the concerns about the cancer causing risks. In addition to the great products Zym is a great company to deal with…fair, honest and customer friendly!

  • J says:

    Gram, you are one prolific mofo. Don’t know how you even pretend to care about some salt-tabs. Never mind manage to write a ‘review’. Well done. I hope you were well paid.
    It’s like that handlebar one. How much do they cost, what do they weight, will they take my weight for my riding style, do they come in black? That’s it.
    But you managed to write an amazing amount. And with multiple photos. You’d have thought that seeing one black alu tube w white markings was like seeing them all.
    But your efforts are impressive. I love the little forays into wikipedia for chemistry and stuff. Great. Don’t know how you do it. If someone came to me to sell compressed salt for a massive markup as some kind of useful addition to our kit, I just couldn’t get motivated. I’d feel like I was encouraging innocent people to waste money on useless consumables that they could get elsewhere for nothing thereby reducing the amount they have to spend on more important things.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    J, thanks for the acknowledgment and Kudos, in fact, I am not paid at all, just a guest reviewer, and I do it because I am passionate about things. My additional research and in depth analysis of things, means it takes considerably longer to create the final output, so you’ll rarely get a typical 1-2 paragraph review. I try to make the reviews interesting, thought provoking, technical and entertaining? Thanks again, you made my day!

  • salimoneus says:

    Why waste money on expensive stuff like this or Gatorade, when you can very easily make your own for pennies on the dollar? http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=612921

  • Brian Mullin says:

    salimoneus, I admire your initiative, but I like the convenience of tablets, and not having to create a batch, I will look into the information of the homebrew method, and I appreciate the data. Thks.

  • salimoneus says:

    The homebrew method is really not much of a bother, it only takes a few minutes initially to mix the ingredients together. You could even then fill a small portable container (gum dispenser, etc), toss it in your pack, and just add a bit to your drink whenever desired.

    It’s also a lot more environmentally friendly, every 10 servings you’re going through another plastic container. The homebrew method nets over 200 servings from the initial purchase. If we’re going to the trouble of being nutritionally conscious we might as well be environmentally conscious as well =)

  • Brian Mullin says:

    salimoneus, I have previously used elete electrolyte drops http://new.eletewater.com/, which offers 45mg Magnesium, 125mg Sodium, 390Mmg Chloride and 130mg Potassium, and it is very cheap.

  • salimoneus says:

    The Elete 32oz. Team Size does offer a good value, although it is a bit low in potassium. It also comes in an easy to use liquid form. I still prefer a homebrew electrolyte due to being able to precisely control the amount of each mineral (all bodies require slightly different formulations). Elete is probably the best commercial option available.

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