The Importance of Electrolytes
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are chemicals that form electrically charged particles (ions) to make sure the body runs at optimal levels. These ions carry the electrical energy for muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses. Electrolytes are not simply to prevent cramping. If your body experiences cramping, that means that not only are you dehydrated, but you’ve already exhausted your supply of electrolytes. In other words, your body has already run out of gas! And if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated as well. You don’t want either of these scenarios to happen as your performance will be severely compromised. Optimal performance requires a consistent and adequate supply of these electrolytes.
How Do Electrolytes Work?
There are several common electrolytes found in the body with each serving a specific role. Most are in some part responsible for maintaining the balance of fluids in the body between intracellular and extracellular environments. It’s this critical balance that’s important for things like nerve impulse, muscle function, and hydration. An electrolyte imbalance (too little or too much) can be quite detrimental to your health. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease. Not enough sodium or potassium may result in muscle weakness or severe cramping.
Here’s a closer look into each of these vital electrolytes…
This is the most abundant mineral in your body with about 99% of all calcium found in the skeletal structure. Calcium is critical for transmission of nerve impulses, blood clotting, and muscle contraction.
Magnesium is essential to every cell of every known living organism as it plays an important role in the synthesis of both DNA and RNA. Magnesium helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, stabilizes blood sugar, boosts the immune system, and promotes the formation of bones and teeth.
Chloride works closely with sodium to maintain proper balance of fluid in your cells, and it’s also important for maintaining proper pH balance in the body. Chloride also balances out the positive ions of blood, tissue and organs.
Sodium controls the total amount of water in the body, and it also regulates blood volume and maintains muscle and nerve function. Too little sodium is the most common electrolyte disorder with symptoms of headache, confusion, fatigue, and muscle spasms.
Potassium keeps electrolytes in balance and regulates heartbeat and muscle function. A potassium deficiency has symptoms of muscle weakness and cramping, however severe cases can also be deadly.
Electrolytes Are Necessary For Proper Hydration
An electrolyte balance is important in order to optimize muscle function and physical performance. The body is not able to efficiently replace all electrolytes as they are expended during exercise. This is why it’s critical to make sure you’re properly hydrated before exercise so that electrolyte replenishment during endurance exercise can be performed with a gradual, consistent approach to support body functions and prevent heat-related issues. Likewise, without proper electrolyte levels your body will not be able to sufficiently hydrate which can result in decreased performance or even health issues.
Which Electrolyte Product Is Right For Me?
All electrolyte products on the market are formulated a bit different in terms of the balance of electrolytes in the formulation, but there’s one thing they all have in common – they all contain synthetic ingredients and chemical compounds. There’s only one exception… Ground-Based Nutrition has a product that contains 100% plant-based electrolytes and it is USDA certified organic. The ingredients are from all-natural food sources such as coconut water, banana, pineapple, tart cherry, Himalayan sea salt, and plant-based trace minerals from seaweed. If you don’t want the synthetic chemicals in your electrolyte drink, then give Ground-Based Nutrition’s Organic 100% Plant-Based Electrolytes a try. And did we mention the pineapple coconut flavor tastes like a refreshing pina colada? Enjoy