Electrolytes are salts and specific ions that help drive the body’s electrical signal. The term electrolyte means these ion are electrically-charged. You see the human body is one big battery; we seem to forget this point, and like any battery there needs to be a charge. This charge is maintained by ions that we need to put into our body. Continual replenishment of these ions is a must to have a charged body.
The following are the major electrolytes necessary for an optimum functioning body. Sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), bicarbonate (HCO3-), phosphate (PO42-), and sulfate (SO42-).
Electrolytes are important because they drive nerve impulses and allow for muscle contractions. Muscle cramping is a common sign of electrolyte deficiency. Kidneys work to help keep the electrolyte concentrations in the body balanced. Athletes and active individuals lose electrolytes by sweating, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.
Sports drinks like Gatoraid and Poweraid have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. These drinks are high in sugar and food colouring, a professional line electrolyte is healthier for your body, ask your doctor.
Electrolyte drinks are important for infants and children who have chronic vomiting or diarrhea, children will lose many electrolytes and must be replaced to prevent dehydration.
Keeping your electrolytes balanced in the body is super important for optimum health.
Dr Elias Markou, ND