You have probably heard the word electrolyte thrown around by health gurus, doctors, and sports drink companies, but what are electrolytes and why are so many different sources talking about them?
Electrolytes are an important aspect of hydration and help to replenish the water and nutrients lost in sweat, from hangovers, after illness, and other times you may get dehydrated.
In this article, you will get all the information you need about electrolytes and the best, most effective way to get them into your system!
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are a type of mineral that is essential to the human body. The three main types of electrolytes come from the minerals sodium, chloride, and potassium. They are very important for a range of bodily functions and are often used to rehydrate people.
Electrolytes are great for rehydrating people because they help to replace what you lose in sweat. When you sweat, you lose essential minerals, like sodium, chloride, and potassium. You can also become dehydrated when you get sick, drink too much alcohol, or are not drinking enough water.
Therefore, you need to keep your electrolyte levels up! Your body can have serious issues if your electrolyte counts are not high enough.
What Electrolytes Are in Your Body?
The electrolytes in your body are:
The three main electrolytes are potassium, chloride, and sodium. If you are not getting enough foods with these electrolytes in them, your electrolyte levels can drop, causing you to experience an electrolyte imbalance.
Symptoms of an Electrolyte Imbalance
There are many symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance that you can see in your day-to-day life. Not all of these are symptoms of only an electrolyte imbalance, so if you are experiencing any of these consistently, you should get in contact with your doctor and then arrange for an appointment.
Irregular heartbeat is a very common symptom of an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes help to regulate muscular movements and help to communicate messages around the body. When your electrolytes are low, your muscles can have adverse reactions. Your heart is made of muscular tissue, so if your electrolytes are imbalanced, then you can have issues with your heart.
Weakness and excessive tiredness are other common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes, as stated earlier, help to regulate muscular control, so without the proper minerals in the body, your muscles cannot work as efficiently and properly as they should.
If your muscles cannot work as efficiently as they should, you can feel weak as well as fatigued. Simple tasks may exert all of your energy and leave you feeling exhausted when you have an electrolyte imbalance.
Muscle spasms and muscle twitches are also common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance. This is also for the same reasons that your heart can have issues and you can feel weak.
Another serious symptom of an electrolyte imbalance is changing in your blood pressure. Electrolyte imbalances can cause drops in blood pressure or raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. Imbalanced electrolytes can also cause blood clots in some people.
Due to changes in blood pressure, some parts of the body may feel numb because there is not enough blood flow getting to all of the extremities due to your blood pressure and heart and muscles not being able to work efficiently.
Over time, you can develop bone disorders from electrolyte imbalances. You can also develop nervous system disorders that can cause seizures and convulsions and some people. Another long-term symptom of electrolyte imbalance is confusion or brain fog, where it feels like you cannot quite use your brain the way you normally would and simple tasks and memory are hard.
Causes of Electrolyte Imbalance
There are several possible reasons for an electrolyte imbalance in your body. These include the following.
One of the more common causes of electrolyte imbalance is exertion or exercise. During exercise, you lose a lot of your body's water through sweat. Your sweat also contains minerals and other nutrients that your body stores, including electrolytes. That is why it is important to hydrate properly with plenty of water or a good sports drink after exercise.
Another common reason for an electrolyte imbalance is long periods of diarrhea or vomiting, both of which can expel a lot of your body in water. When your body rids itself of water, it also rids itself of dissolved minerals in the water, like electrolytes.
Your diet is another huge contributor to your electrolytes. Your body gets all of its vitamins and minerals from your food, so if you are not eating a well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and protein, then you are missing out on essential mineral groups. This puts you at risk for electrolyte imbalance.
Severe dehydration is another cause of an electrolyte imbalance, which happens often in hotter climates or summer months. Electrolyte imbalances can also happen when there is a disruption of the acid-base balance, which is the ratio of alkalis and acids in your body. Alkalis and acids help keep all of your bodily functions balanced and at the proper pH to work efficiently.
Congestive heart failure can also cause electrolyte imbalances, as can cancer treatments, and some medications and drugs like diuretics. Other illnesses can contribute as well, like kidney disease and bulimia.
Older people are also more susceptible to electrolyte imbalances as their kidneys function less efficiently over time.
Luckily, there are ways to combat this and take care of your body!
IV With Electrolytes
You can get IV drips to help replace your electrolyte levels and balance everything in your body.
The hydration IV drip is an IV drip designed to replenish a person's hydration, which also increases their electrolytes. The main ingredient in a hydration IV drip is saline, which has high amounts of sodium and chloride.
A hydration IV drip costs $159.
Taking care of yourself is important when you are pregnant, and the prenatal IV drip to replenish electrolytes is the perfect way to take care of yourself. The ingredients of this IV drip are saline and pyridoxine, which are efficient methods of increasing and balancing your electrolytes.
The prenatal IV drip costs $219.