Electrolytes are ionic substances that our body needs in order for our muscles to work properly. They provide the necessary electric charge to motivate the muscle tissue to expand and contract. Even the heart, which is also a muscle, needs electrolytes in order to keep functioning. Our nervous system is also dependent on a proper electrolyte balance in order function properly and maintains a tight control on the electrolyte levels in our system. Our electrolyte levels can be impacted by diet, stress, illness, medications and physical exertion.
Electrolytes consist of the positive ions of
Electrolytes also consist of the negative Blood balance ions of
Signs of an Electrolyte imbalance
o Blood pressure that is too high or too low
o Excessive fatigue
o Problems with the immune system
o Circulation problems
Who suffers from electrolyte imbalances?
While superstar athletes like Michael Jordan and Shaq are perhaps the best known sufferers of off kilter electrolytes, research indicates that other groups including the elderly and the ill are just as prone to suffer a electrolyte imbalance.
Certain prescription drugs can also affect electrolytes…
o Tricyclic antidepressants
o Beta blockers
All of these can alter the balance of electrolytes and lead to other serious health issues.
You can lose a lot of electrolytes by merely doing daily activities such as mowing the lawn, going for a run, golfing, even driving across country. Everyone is susceptible.
How do I know if need more electrolytes?
You lose electrolyte by through your sweat glands as well as your intestinal and urinary tract. That means that aside from physical exertion, your electrolytes can also run low due to your diet or drinking habits, the climate, stress, or illness. You can know that your electrolytes are low by monitoring your physical symptoms, getting your blood pressure checked, or getting a blood test.
Be sure to monitor and replace your electrolytes if:
o Have a stress related disorder
o Suffer from an illness that is heat related
o Sweat excessively
o Have trouble sweating
o Have trouble with your circulation: cold hands or feet
o Have low blood pressure
o Have high blood pressure
o Are on blood pressure medication
o Your diet is poor and lacking fluids
o Have a compromised immune system
o Are a regular exerciser
Where to obtain electrolytes:
There are many different food or drinks out there that contain electrolytes, however it is a hard task getting a proper balance of electrolytes through your everyday diet. Back in the days before sports drinks, people used to rely on bone broths or soups to replace their lost electrolytes. Now, people rely on electrolyte sources that either has too much or too little of a certain type of electrolyte. With all the health problems that can crop up due to an electrolyte imbalance, it is important that everyone understands the need o replace their lost electrolytes.
Taking in extra salt is not a way to cure an electrolyte imbalance. In fact elevated salt levels can end up creating an imbalance as well as high blood pressure and heart trouble. Have too little salt is also a problem. Low levels of sodium can lead to lowered blood pressure and a compromised immune system causing a susceptibility to bacteria like staph or E.Coli.