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Following our last week’s article on Dr. Berg’s electrolyte powder review, we decided to shed some more light on what electrolytes are, examples of electrolytes, benefits, implications of electrolyte imbalance, and many many more.
🎓 This article is backed by scientific evidence.
In this article, we talk about what are electrolytes, Examples Of Electrolytes, and Their Benefits.
Electrolytes participate in a series of necessary processes in our body. They play an important role in the transmission of nerve signals, muscle contraction, fluid balance and hydration of the body as well as pH regulation in the body.
We need a fairly large amount of electrolytes every day, which we must normally take through the diet in order for everything to function normally. If we don’t get it from our diet, we need to take it from electrolyte supplements.
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What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are elements that are found inside the fluids and tissues of the body and carry an electrical charge. An electrolyte is considered to be any substance that contains free ions, either with a negative or a positive charge, and behaves as a means of conducting electricity.
In the human body when we refer to electrolytes we are talking about minerals and trace elements which when dissolved in body fluids create electrolytes, either with positive or negative ions involved in metabolic processes.
We find them in our blood, in sweat and urine, but also in other fluids and tissues of the body.
Examples Of Electrolytes And Their Benefits
The basic electrolytes located within our body are the following:
Sodium: Regulates the balance of acidic – alkaline pH in the body, regulates the balance of intracellular – extracellular fluids, contributes to the functioning of the muscular and nervous system, regulates blood pressure
Potassium: Regulates the balance of acidic – alkaline pH in the body, regulates heart rate and blood pressure, participates in the smooth contraction of muscles, contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Chlorine: In collaboration with sodium they regulate osmotic pressure for the proper balance of fluids in the body. Necessary to create hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Calcium: Contributes to the good health of bones, teeth, and nails, participates in blood clotting, the proper functioning of metabolism and energy production, the proper functioning of muscles, the regulation of blood pressure, and the function of neurotransmitters.
Magnesium: It contributes to the good health of bones, teeth, and nails, is absolutely necessary for the functioning of the nervous and muscular system, contributes to the production of enzymes for the release of energy. It contributes to the balance of acid and alkaline elements, reduces the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, and even heart rhythms.
Phosphates: Phosphates are important for maintaining the acid-base balance of the blood.
Bicarbonate: It is the main component of intracellular fluid and is the main alkaline element involved in the acid-base balance of the blood.
These elements as we understand are necessary for a plethora of bodily processes such as the proper functioning of neurons, muscles, the maintenance of pH balance, hydration (fluid balance at the intracellular – extracellular level), and the transfer of nutrients inside and outside the cells.
Further scientific research on the benefits of electrolytes can be found here.
What Are Electrolytes Good For?
Electrolytes are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, all the muscles of the body as well as the balance in the internal environment of the body.
Functioning of The Nervous System
The brain sends electrical signals through the nerve cells to communicate with the cells of the body.
These signals are called nerve impulses and are produced by changes in the electric field in the membranes of nerve cells.
Changes in the electric field occur from the movement of sodium ions on the surfaces of nerve cells.
When this takes place it triggers a chain reaction with the movement of sodium ions (and corresponding change of electrical charge) along the neurons.
Electrolytes are essential for the smooth and controlled contraction of the muscles, so that man can breathe, walk and beat his heart.
Calcium for example is absolutely necessary for muscle contraction. It allows muscle fibers to contract, to stretch in parallel without blocking each other.
Magnesium is needed in this process so that the muscles when they contract outwards and respectively when they relax they return to their place.
Proper Balance of Fluids
The water that is inside our body in the right quantities and in the right proportion in and out of the cells.
Electrolytes and especially sodium help maintain fluid balance through osmosis.
Osmosis is a process that water passes through the walls of cells inside by diluting the density of electrolytes or increasing their concentration.
This process prevents it from dehydrating the cells from becoming excessively dehydrated or the other way around. They risk bursting from the many liquids.
PH levels in the body and the acid base balance
The pH measurement shows how acidic or alkaline the environment in our body is. The balance of pH in the body is a basic prerequisite for the good health of the body.
Our body has internal mechanisms that automatically regulate the pH by chemical processes to minimize changes and sudden fluctuations within the body.
For example, the pH in our blood should be within the fine limits of 7.35 and 7.45. If there are deviations many functions are not done correctly and there is a risk of damage.
Balance in electrolytes is a necessary condition for keeping the pH of the blood within limits.
📖 Further Research on how electrolytes affect our Body’s PH Levels and its Acid-Base can be read here.
Electrolyte Imbalance And Health Implications
In some cases, electrolyte levels may be at very high or very low levels causing imbalance.
Large fluctuations in electrolytes and for a long time can harm health and can rarely cause even death (source)!
Imbalance in electrolytes often occurs due to dehydration, due to a heatwave in the summer, due to vomiting or intense diarrhea from cases such as acute gastroenteritis (source).
This is the main reason why we should always make sure to be hydrated when it is very hot or when we are sick.
Some diseases such as kidney problems, eating disorders and digestive disorders, injuries such as severe burns can cause a large imbalance of electrolytes.
If there is a slight imbalance you may not understand something as the symptoms are mild. However, if there is a serious change, symptoms may occur such as:
- Exhaustion – low energy levels
- Tachycardia or arrhythmias
- Numbness in the limbs or tingling
- Muscle atony and cramps
If you suspect that you have an imbalance in electrolytes it is advisable to contact your doctor and report the symptoms.
📖 Further scientific research on Electrolyte Imbalance can be read here
How do I Replenish Electrolytes in my Diet?
There are two ways to replenish electrolytes in your diet.
- By consuming foods with electrolytes
- By taking Electrolyte Supplements
Foods With Electrolytes
The main sources of electrolytes in food are fruits and vegetables. However, in Western-style diets, the main source is salt. Below we can see a list of electrolyte sources:
Sodium: pickles, cheese, and Himalayan salt.
Chlorine: Himalayan salt (Recommended: The Spice Lab Himalayan Salt)
Potassium: Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes.
Magnesium: Seeds and Nuts.
Calcium: Dairy products, green leafy vegetables.
An excellent source of electrolytes is also the natural coconut water that you can find in organic stores.
Some electrolytes such as bicarbonate are produced by our body and we do not need to obtain them through diet.
Best Electrolyte Supplements
There are thousands of Electrolytes Supplements in the market, some are good, some are bad. Electrolyte supplements are a quick and easy way to boost your energy levels when you feel tired, after leaving the gym or when you had a rough day at work.
💡 Did you know that commercial electrolyte drinks have the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar in them? Also, did you know that many Electrolyte supplements have maltodextrin that is (really) bad for your health?
Below, we recommend some of the best electrolyte supplements that you can purchase knowing that are safe and without sugar or any other harmful substances.
🥇 Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder: 100% natural no preservatives and backed by one of the most beloved and trusted doctors the world has ever seen. Can be bought from its official website.
🥈 Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder: 8000+ Raving Reviews, No Maltodextrine or Sugar and Pottasium rich, this electrolyte supplement is the deal. Can be purchased from Amazon.
🥉 Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte Powder: One of the lesser known supplement companies, with one of the best electrolyte powder products. Again, no sugar, artificial ingredients etc. Can be purchased from PureFormulas.
Electrolyte Drinks: Are they beneficial?
Isotonic drinks and sports drinks with electrolytes such as sodium and calcium nowadays are almost “fashionable”.
In fact, if you have a balanced diet you definitely receive the amounts of electrolytes you need to meet your daily needs.
In extreme cases such as poisoning with many vomiting or intense diarrhea due to e.g. acute gastroenteritis there is a large loss of electrolytes and taking such a beverage would be useful.
How much you need to consume depends on the losses. You should definitely follow the instructions for use or consult a pharmacist.
If there is no loss of electrolytes, the unnecessary consumption of sports drinks and isotonic drinks may have exactly the upside-down effect and create a problem.
Our suggestion is not to consume a sports drink unnecessarily. Even a mild workout at the gym is not going to cause you a problem.
By now, you should have understand what are electrolytes, what are their benefits and what implications electrolyte imbalance brings.
If you are going to buy an electrolytes supplement, make sure you try one of our reccommended choices.
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