Electrolytes & Hydration – What you need to know?

We’ve all heard many times before that it’s important to stay hydrated, but most people in the US don’t even come close to it. In fact, multiple studies report that 75% of adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic dehydration, drinking only 2.5 cups a day on average. That’s nothing. Dehydration is usually caused by not drinking enough fluid to replace what we lose. The climate, the amount of physical exercise you are doing (particularly in hot weather), and your diet can contribute to dehydration. Unless you’re drinking an adequate amount of fluids daily, chances are that you’re dehydrated as well. Furthermore, if you’re not consuming electrolytes then you’ll be pushing your body further into a dehydrated state.

Electrolytes & Hydration

Electrolytes

What are they?: Electrolytes are basically salts, and along with water helps to keep the electrical charges in our bodies working properly. An electrolyte drink is usually composed of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus as the most common electrolytes. If you’re on a very healthy diet, chances are that you’re consuming these vital nutrients from the foods you eat. But as mentioned above, most people aren’t eating a healthy diet on a day-to-day basis.

Why are they important?: Your cells use electrolytes to conduct electrical charges, which is how your muscles contract. Those same electrical charges also help with chemical reactions, especially when it comes to hydration and the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. If you don’t get an adequate amount of electrolytes, you may experience:

  • Confusion and irritability
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irregular or fast heart rate (arrhythmia).
  • Muscle cramps, muscle spasms, or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs, fingers, and toes

The benefits of hydration and electrolytes

Obviously, nobody wants to experience any of the negative effects of dehydration and lack of electrolytes, If you can actually maintain a healthy diet of nutritious foods and adequate fluid intake, you may experience:

  • Enhanced exercise performance
  • Better sleep
  • Strengthened immunity
  • Improved cognition
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Stabilized blood sugar
  • Better heart health
  • Strengthening of your muscles and bones

Supplementation

Even if you’re disciplined enough to eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids daily, you still should consider taking an electrolyte product in my opinion. Foods don’t have the same nutrient profile that they did 50 years ago due to agricultural practices over time. That’s why dietary supplements exist, to fill the nutritional gaps that we’re missing in our diets. When it comes to electrolyte supplements there are many to choose from. Older formulations tend to have a high added sugar content, so those definitely aren’t a good choice. Products that are newer in the industry have little sugar or no sugar at all so those would definitely be the best choices to consume. Many of these products I’ve personally tried and tested myself, but I’ve found that they typically have a salty taste and a really high amount of sodium. Too high.

How do electrolyte drinks work?

Electrolyte drinks are specifically formulated to replace the electrolytes that are lost through sweating, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When you sweat, not only do you lose water, but you also lose these important minerals. Electrolyte drinks are designed to replenish those lost minerals and help to hydrate the body more effectively.

These drinks typically contain a balance of electrolytes, sugars, and fluids that help to quickly rehydrate the body and also provide a source of energy. Sports drinks, for example, are formulated to provide both hydration and energy, making them a popular choice for athletes and people who engage in intense physical activity.

It’s important to note that not all electrolyte drinks are the same, some may have higher or lower levels of certain electrolytes or added ingredients such as vitamins or caffeine, so it’s important to check the label and choose one that fits your needs. Also, it’s important not to overuse electrolyte drinks as excessive intake can lead to imbalances in electrolytes which can lead to health issues. It’s best to consume electrolyte drinks in moderation, and always drink water as well.

How does electrolyte drink help in daily life?

Electrolyte drinks can help in daily life by providing hydration and replenishing the electrolytes that are lost through sweating. This can be especially beneficial for people who engage in regular physical activity or who are exposed to hot and humid weather, as these conditions can cause increased sweating and electrolyte loss.

Electrolyte drinks can also be helpful for people who are experiencing symptoms of dehydration, such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. Consuming an electrolyte drink can help to quickly rehydrate the body and alleviate these symptoms.

Additionally, electrolyte drinks can also provide a source of energy, which can be beneficial for people who need a boost during the day. For example, if you feel tired in the afternoon and you are not able to have a meal yet, you can drink an electrolyte drink to give you some energy boost. It’s worth noting that, while electrolyte drinks can be a convenient and effective way to hydrate and replenish electrolytes, they are not a substitute for a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other sources of electrolytes. Also, it’s important to be mindful of the sugar and calorie content of electrolyte drinks, and to consume them in moderation.