Importance of Electrolytes
Dehydration can be caused by excessive sweating (often from a rigorous workout), diarrhea or vomiting, fever, intoxication, and increased urination.
To remain healthy, you need to replenish the lost fluids and rehydrate your body.
You’re Losing More than Sodium and Water
When it comes to rehydrating, many people grab a bottle of water – which isn’t a bad idea. In fact, as noted by Livestrong.com, water makes up the majority of your body weight and is essential for human life. Depending on your gender, age, and body structure, your body water percentage could range anywhere from 45% (seniors) to 77% (infants and children).
However, you should also replace lost electrolytes. Mistakenly, some people believe that the only minerals they need to replace are sodium and chloride. Although sodium and chloride are important electrolytes because they help maintain a balanced fluid level in the body and they help “excite” nerves and muscles through electric charges, they are not the only minerals that need to be replaced.
Other important electrolytes include:
- Calcium –aids muscle and nerve contraction
- Magnesium –not only contributes to nerve and muscle action, but also acts as a co-enzyme for metabolism
- Potassium – helps regulate intracellular fluid balance, energy metabolism, and contraction of nerves and muscles
- Phosphate – helps regulate pH balance
Why You Need to Replenish Lost Electrolytes
Electrolytes are essential for your body to properly function. Without electrolytes, your body would not be able to maintain the electric voltage throughout your cells that allows signals to pass easily. Numerous systems in your body rely on this electric current to properly function, including:
- Acidity levels
- Fluid levels
Insufficient levels of electrolytes could cause dire consequences, including:
- Heart problems
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat at rest
- Excessive thirst
- Sudden fatigue
- Bone pain
- Unintentional weight loss
Sports Drinks Are NOT the Answer
A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is a key way to maintain your electrolytes balance. However, you sometimes need to supplement your diet to replenish the lost electrolytes.
You may be tempted to reach for a sports drink for your electrolytes intake. However, electrolytes aren’t the only things you get from a sports drink. As outlined by Heritage Integrative Healthcare, many sports drinks contain harmful ingredients, including:
- Sugar/corn syrup – often containing as much as 2/3 the amount of sugar as a soda
- Artificial flavors and colors – chemicals have been linked to various health issues
- Too much sodium – excessive processed salt is often added, instead of a balance of nutrient-rich minerals
In addition to a balanced diet and a daily water intake of 64 ounces or more, you can rehydrate your body with healthy alternatives, including coconut water and natural herbal supplements like Electrosport®.
Keeping your body properly hydrated and replenishing your electrolytes will help you maintain optimal health.