The Science of Electrolytes

June 2024 - Health & Wellness

It’s not just a fad, it’s science. Your body needs electrolytes daily.

What are electrolytes?
Did you know that hydration doesn’t mean drinking just water?

That’s right, your body needs key minerals, called electrolytes for the functioning of cells, muscles, digestion, metabolism, nerve signaling, acid balance, and overall wellness.

Electrolytes are salts that supply electrical neutrality in cells. This balance of electric charge in and out of the cell is what generates and conducts the actions in our nerves and muscles.

Sodium and potassium are significant electrolytes along with magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates. These electrolytes can be out of imbalance in your body, leading to either high or low levels. High or low levels of electrolytes disrupt normal bodily functions and can lead to a general feeling of being unwell to life-threatening complications.

Electrolytes come from your diet.

You can easily add electrolytes to your water to be properly hydrated.

Benefits of electrolytes:

Ensuring your body has the proper balance of electrolytes daily has benefits:

  • Helps regulate a variety of your body’s most essential functions, including sending signals throughout your nervous system
  • Helps keep a balanced pH and temperature so that your cells and organs are functioning optimally
  • Supports the digestive system through opening and closing of channels that need an ionic balance
  • Helps your muscles contract and avoid cramping during activity
  • Controls the constant impulses in your body to keep your heart beating, lungs breathing and brain functioning optimally
  • Supports your immunity and return to health after being ill

On a clinical level, electrolytes have the following effects within your body:

  • Proper hydration, with electrolytes, during training or competition will enhance performance, delaying fatigue, and prevent injuries associated with dehydration and sweat loss
  • Electrolytes maintain the well-being of the cardiovascular system; potassium and magnesium have been associated with combatting cardiovascular risk factors, especially blood pressure
  • Magnesium specifically is needed to fight infection, decreased levels can affect T-cells (immune fighter cells)
  • Decreased magnesium or potassium can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue and even constipation
  • It takes small amounts of potassium deficiency to make large impacts, therefore potassium replenishment or supplementation is vital, especially for those at risk of hypokalemia (e.g. hypertension, heart failure, or diabetes)
  • There is such thing as hyperhydration or overdrinking water — this essentially means more water than electrolytes, leading to fluid imbalances
  • It is imperative that endurance athletes replace sweat loss via fluid intake containing about 4% to 8% of carbohydrate solution and electrolytes during training or competition

Who are electrolytes for?
Electrolytes are for everyone.

Electrolytes play a key role in staying hydrated – that’s right, you need more than just water.

Replenishing electrolytes is important post activity, during travel, in hot weather, when dehydrated or ill, when hungover, and to boost your overall health.

You need electrolytes daily to ensure proper hydration. Without them, you’ll be dehydrated and won’t feel your best and your body won’t function optimally.

Electrolytes that are formulated for daily use are great to keep up with your daily hydration goals and help you beat that afternoon slump without caffeine.

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