ZYM Electrolyte Review

by Brian Mullin on January 26, 2011

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.

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?).

ZYM Rival
Rival adds a slight cloudy orange coloration to the water, and has a nice tangy orange flavor, and a mild sweetness, with a minor initial bitter tinge (common to Stevia), which is hardly noticeable. It sort of reminds me of very watered down Tang, mixed with OJ. It has a nice finish in flavor, leaving a cleansed palate, with no strong after taste, and the sweetness is just right. Rival contains no sugars, nor artificial sweeteners, and instead uses the natural Stevia sweetener. Stevia is a small South American herb which is part of the Asteraceae family (Sunflowers), and the green leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar. In addition, Rival contains Rhodiola Rosea (Golden Root, Roseroot), which is a plant in the Crassulaceae family, that grows in cold regions of the world. It supposedly improves physical and mental performance, and may reduce fatigue.

I really liked Rival, since it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, something that I am always weary of. The electrolyte blends in Rival, along with some vitamins, helps with hydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, and lactic acid build-up, giving one longer endurance, and that extra energetic push when required. Overall, I found the Rival blend provided the maximum athletic performance and enhancement of the three products, with good flavor and mild sweetness.

Ingredients: Citric acid, Sodium bicarbonate, Magnesium sulfate, Potassium bicarbonate, Sodium carbonate, Ascorbic acid, Inulin, Natural orange flavors, Stevia, Calcium carbonate, Maltodextrin, Beet root red (color), Niacin, Rhodiola rosea, Calcium D-pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Cyanocobalamin, Folate.

ZYM Catapult
Catapult adds a very slight purple tinge to the water, and has a flavorful berry taste, and some decent sweetness, fringing on more of a syrupy feeling, though not over bearing. It has a nice finish in flavor, leaving a great berry taste on the tongue, with no strong after taste. Catapult contains no sugars, and uses the natural Sorbitol (doubtfully processed that way) and the artificial Sucralose sweeteners.

  • Sucralose is 600 times as sweet as sucrose, and was discovered in 1976 by scientists from Tate & Lyle, in collaboration with Leslie Hough and Shashikant Phadnis. It is manufactured by the selective chlorination of sucrose, which converts three of the hydroxyl groups to chlorides.
    C12H19Cl3O8
  • Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol which is 60% as sweet as sucrose, and is slowly absorbed by the body, was first discovered by a French chemist in the berries of the mountain ash in 1872. It is obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to an additional hydroxyl group.
    C6H14O6

I really liked the Catapult’s berry flavor, and it was my favorite flavoring of their three products. The electrolyte blends in Catapult, helps with hydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, and lactic acid build-up, giving one longer endurance, and that extra energetic push when required. When you get tired and the day drags on, or if you are feeling fatigued before the ride, the energy boost, from the natural stimulant GuaranĂ¡ (100 mg of caffeine), really helps maintain stamina, and the addition of a large dosage of B12 prevents caffeine jitters. Overall, the Catapult berry flavor ruled, and the caffeine was sometimes beneficial (not always), though it did have more of a syrupy and stronger sweetness than the others.

Ingredients: Citric acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Raspberry flavor, Sorbitol, Potassium Bicarbonate, Guarana Powder, Caffeine, Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Sucralose, Beet root (natural color), and Cyanocobalamin q

ZYM Endurance
Endurance adds a cloudy yellow green color to the water, and has a stronger lime then lemon taste, and a mild sweetness. It has a slightly tart overtone, that leaves a cleansed palate, with no strong after taste, though it has a touch of bitterness (due to Acesulfame K?).

“Bitte baby”

Endurance contains sucrose (table sugar), and the artificial Acesulfame Potassium sweetener.

  • Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sucrose, and was discovered accidentally in 1967 by German chemist Karl Clauss at Hoechst AG. It is manufactured by the transformation of an organic intermediate, acetoacetic acid, and its combination with the naturally occurring mineral, potassium.
    C4H4KNO4S

The electrolyte blends in Endurance, helps with hydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, and lactic acid build-up, giving one longer endurance, and that extra energetic push when required. Overall, Endurance provided a good blend, somewhere between its two brethren, and it mild sweetness was nice, but the flavor wasn’t my favorite.

Ingredients: Citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, sucrose, ascorbic acid, cyanocobalamin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium D-pantothenate, acesulfame potassium, riboflavin-5-phosphate (natural color).

ZYM – Supplement Facts

Specification Rival Catapult Endurance
Calories 7 4 7
Carbs 0 0 1g
Sugars 0 0 1g
Sodium 300mg 250mg 250mg
Potassium 100mg 100mg 50mg
Magnesium 50mg 17mg 50mg
Calcium 30mg 18mg 30mg
Caffeine 0 100mg 0
GuaranĂ¡ 0 200mg 0
Stevia 75mg 0 0
Rhodiola rosea 20mg 0 0
Vitamin C 150mg 100mg 100mg
Vitamin B2 1.7mg 0 0
Vitamin B3 20mg 0 0
Vitamin B5 10mg 0 0
Vitamin B6 4mg 0 8mg
Vitamin B9 10mcg 0 0
Vitamin B12 40mcg 500mcg 40mcg

 

Bottom Line
I really enjoyed the ZYM product, as it gave me a discernible increase in performance and endurance, and reduced fatigue. Each of the products had a different blend, which was beneficial depending on your mood, the intended ride and current physical condition. Each of them was great tasting, refreshing, easy to use, left no residue, and had no overwhelming sugariness. The major benefit, outside of the electrolyte replacement, was that it helped me drink the required amount of water on a ride, since it was nicer to drink, with enough sweetness and flavor to make it more enticing .

I really liked Rival, with its great blend of electrolyte and vitamins, and most important, the use of the natural sweetener Stevia. Catapult had the best flavor, and the caffeine and Guarana jolt was nice when it was desired.

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