When do you actually need to replenish electrolytes? Under conditions likely to cause a substantial loss.
Sports drink marketers lead many to believe electrolyte balance replenishment is necessary after every workout. Unless you’re involved in extreme exercise for hours, drinking water afterwards is probably all that’s necessary because significant depletion is unlikely.
Electrolyte balance is essential for good health. But before you spend money on electrolyte filled drinks you should know what electrolytes are relative to your body and the circumstances liable to cause an imbalance. Only then you’ll make an informed decision before you buy.
Electrolytes are electrical charged chemicals in your body that regulate important physiological functions, such as nerve and muscle function and maintenance of acid-base and fluid balance. As such, whenever the level of electrolytes fall out of balance, namely sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium or chloride, you might experience various symptoms, for instance:
- bone disorders
- irregular heartbeat
- nervous system issues
- blood pressure changes
- confusion, lethargy, seizures
Problems most often occur with an imbalance of sodium, potassium and calcium.
Moment to moment balance of electrolytes is accomplished via your kidneys. It here electrolytes are continuously being filtered from your blood, to be either returned or excreted in times of excess. So kidney problems is one cause for electrolytes to become imbalanced. Some of the other circumstances wherein electrolytes may dangerously shift too low or high are:
- extreme sweating
- prolonged diarrhea
- excessive vomiting
- diet ~ malnutrition, starvation, anorexia, bulimia
- cancer ~ myeloma, breast, lung, kidney, prostate
- drugs ~ diuretics, laxatives, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, antibiotics
Hyponatremia is the most common type of electrolyte imbalance. Hypernatremia, hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia are some other health conditions to be cognizant of in your quest to monitor and maintain electrolyte balance.
When you sweat you will lose salt and potassium. But first consider whether ample replenishment of these electrolytes are in your diet before making up for the loss in an expensive drink. Another alternative, eat a banana daily with a dash of salt on the side ~ it’s a far less expensive replacement!