• Lily Vaughan

The Importance of Electrolytes




In the grand scheme of things, many people aren’t conscious about their electrolyte levels. However, electrolytes are more important to your body and health then you probably think they are!


According to MedlinePlus, electrolytes are essential minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium, that have an electric charge and are vital to many key functions in the body. For instance, electrolytes help balance the amount of water in your body, move nutrients in and waste out of your cells, balance your body’s PH level, and overall assess that your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain are working properly.





There are many ways to get electrolytes into our bodies. Although some may not know this, we get electrolytes out of our everyday nutrition. Specifically, the more whole, nutritious foods you are eating, the more electrolytes you intake.


Additionally, a well known of replenishing electrolytes among athletes are sports drinks. However, the only downside is that some of these sports drinks have very high amounts of sugar, salt, calories, and in return little nutritional value. While sugars and salts do help your body absorb more fluids, most sports drinks have too much sugar and not enough electrolytes to help your body replenish the electrolytes it needs. Nevertheless, some sports drinks are healthier alternatives and get the job done by replenishing electrolytes.





According to BLANK, some of the most popular and healthiest sports drinks include, Nuun hydration tablets, Propel Immune Support, Ultima, and Pedialyte. If someone is taking part in an intense workout where they are sweating profusely and are losing salt, they can benefit from a sports drink because chances are they are losing electrolytes.

It’s important to emphasize that working out is not the only way of losing electrolytes. People can lose electrolytes through sweat, urine, vomit, and diarrhea. Electrolyte imbalance can be the outcome of a poor diet, failing to replenish electrolytes after a workout, severe dehydration, or prolonged periods of time throwing up. This is why if one is sick, they may have heard someone tell them to stay hydrated and replenish their electrolytes.

Dehydration and low electrolyte levels go hand in hand.





Many people do not recognize when their electrolyte levels are low. Signs of low electrolyte levels (similar to symptoms of dehydration) include fatigue, low energy, headaches, and nausea.


If you are experiencing electrolyte imbalances, and/or any of these symptoms, it is important that you monitor your body, and go to the doctor. There, they will measure your electrolyte levels in a blood test, and run a variety of other tests.


To prevent the risk of low electrolyte levels, or electrolyte imbalance, it is vital that you maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated, replenish your electrolytes through healthy foods and drinks.





According to Medical News Today, “electrolytes are a vital part of a person’s chemical makeup. An imbalance can affect the way the body works and lead to a range of symptoms. For example, if a person feels faint after a workout, an electrolyte imbalance could be one reason.”

All in all, you (especially if you are an athlete) need to stay on top of your hydration and electrolyte levels. Pay attention to your diet, to assure that what you are consuming is good for you!









Sources:

MedlinePlus. medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/electrolyte-panel/.

Right as Rain. UW Medicine. rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/body/exercise/electrolytes.

Vital Record Texas A&M. vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu/sports-drinks-not-solutions-illness-related-dehydration/.

Womens Health Magazine. Hearst Magazine Media. www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a28942878/what-are-electrolytes/.



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