What Are Electrolytes and Why Should You Take Them?
Electrolytes are vital for survival. They carry an electrical charge throughout your body, firing up your muscles and nervous system – and they’re crucial for keeping your body balanced so you can carry on with daily activities. Electrolytes even power up your most important muscle – they keep your heart beating! Simply put, electrolytes are hard at work all day long and you may not even notice them until something doesn’t feel quite right.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that are involved in an astounding amount of daily functions in your body.
Have you ever been told to eat a banana when you have a cramp? That’s because bananas are high in electrolyte potassium.
You’ve probably heard of several other electrolytes too. Here’s a quick rundown of what they are and what they do!
- Sodium – supports fluid balance
- Calcium – involved in muscle contraction and bone health
- Chloride – supports fluid balance
- Phosphate – involved in cell development and repair
- Magnesium – required for energy metabolism
- Bicarbonate – helps maintain pH
If you’re wondering how to get electrolytes, you can get these by eating nutritious foods, such as sweet potatoes, bananas, almonds, coconut water, and avocado. Some people may need to replenish electrolytes with hydrating electrolyte water or sports drinks depending on their lifestyle.
How do electrolytes work?
According to an article in the National Library of Health, “Electrolytes are essential for basic life functioning, such as maintaining electrical neutrality in cells, generating and conducting action potentials in the nerves and muscles.” And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Electrolytes conduct electricity when mixed with water. This is important because your muscles and tissues rely on electrolytes to carry out their daily activities. For example, your muscles need three minerals to contract properly: sodium, calcium, and potassium. Magnesium is also involved in this process – it helps muscles relax.
When one of these minerals is out of balance or deficient, it can lead to weakness, twitching, and improper contraction. Furthermore, your muscles and nerves rely on electrolytes to carry impulses to many different cells. Think of electrolytes as little sparks setting off activity across your entire body!
Other activities electrolytes carry out include:
- Maintaining fluid balance to keep you hydrated
- Moving waste out of cells
- Moving nutrients into cells
- Keeping the pH level of your body balanced
- Helping blood clot
In a nutshell, electrolytes are involved in some of your body’s most important processes.
What causes a loss of electrolytes?
If you’re a runner, you’re probably used to thinking about electrolyte loss and balance! Many runners take electrolyte tablets to avoid leg cramps during long races, like marathons and half marathons. It’s the same reason any athlete uses a sports drink during their sweat session – to replenish the vitamins and minerals they are losing – especially electrolytes!
Sweating is not the only way you lose electrolytes. You also lose electrolytes through urine, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you’re concerned about your electrolyte levels, your personal physician can measure your electrolytes by ordering a simple blood test.
Why should I take electrolytes?
You might be thinking it doesn’t matter if you take electrolytes or not – but if you’re consistently losing them, they need to be replenished to avoid fatigue, muscle cramps, and other issues. According to the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, low amounts of electrolytes can cause serious health problems, such as cramps, lethargy, spasms, and more.
Here are just a few other reasons why it’s so important to make sure you are getting enough electrolytes:
- They support nerve health. In your nervous system, electrolytes are needed to send electric signals to areas all over your body.
- They make sure muscles contract properly. Electrolytes are critical for muscle contraction and help muscles relax properly so they don’t seize up in a cramp.
- They manage pH levels. pH measures how acidic or alkaline your body is. The human body usually maintains a pH level of 7.35-7.45 according to The Merck Manual. When your body shifts outside of this range, it can create issues and cause your body to not function optimally. Electrolytes assist in keeping your pH levels balanced.
On the other hand, it is also important to make sure that you don’t have too many electrolytes – especially sodium. The key is balance!
What’s better than a sports drink? Teami Hydrate Electrolyte Super Mix!
Many people use sports drinks to replenish their supply of electrolytes. The problem is many electrolyte drinks are loaded with sugar and other unnecessary ingredients that may do more harm than good.
At Teami, we’ve solved that problem with Teami Hydrate Electrolyte Super Mix! One scoop contains five vital electrolytes:
- Sodium (pink Himalayan salt)
With its delicious raspberry lemonade flavor, you don’t have to worry about artificial sweeteners or sugar. Hydrate is sweetened with natural stevia and flavored with lemon and berry – and it’s easy to use! All you have to do is stir one scoop into 16 ounces of water to replenish your electrolytes. Another perk to Teami Hydrate is if you are someone who has trouble drinking plain water, this will jazz it up with a mouth-watering, fruity flavor!
And Teami Hydrate is gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, soy, and dairy-free, and doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or colors.
Ready to get hydrated? Let’s share a virtual toast! Post your Teami Hydrate selfie on Instagram using #thankyouteami so we can say “cheers!” to feeling our best!
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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