What do electrolytes do? You may have seen electrolytes advertised on sports drinks and wondered what exactly they are, and how they benefit your health. Let’s get right to it. Electrolytes are tiny chemicals that are essential to many of the body’s processes. Without electrolytes, the cells in your body would not be able to create energy, maintain stability, or function in general. Electrolytes are often incorporated into sports beverages because they move fluids throughout the body, rejuvenating and hydrating you when you need it most.
Your Body Requires Balanced Electrolytes
The muscular, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems all rely on a critical balance of electrolyte levels in order to function as they should. Electrolytes are basically salts that are able to carry electric charges, which make it possible for your muscles to contract. That is why you may experience muscle cramping if you do not have the right amount of electrolytes in your body. Replenishing electrolytes is crucial for athletes, but everyone requires ample electrolytes to be healthy, regardless of physical activity level.
Maintaining Your Electrolyte Levels
Athletes often rely on sports beverages such as Vitalyte to replenish electrolytes. Because electrolytes exit the body when you sweat, it is especially important to replenish these key minerals during periods of rigorous activity. While drinking water does hydrate you, it does not contain the electrolytes that are lost through sweat. Besides allowing you to reach your peak athletic potential, drinking beverages that contain electrolytes helps to prevent muscle strains and pulls that can result from electrolyte depletion.
Common Types of Electrolytes
The most common types of electrolytes are sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. All electrolytes are essential, which is why Vitalyte has carefully created the perfect sports drink to rehydrate your body and replenish these vital chemicals. While you can get these common electrolytes from various food sources, it isn’t always easy -- or wise -- to devour a banana and a salmon fillet right after a six-mile run. it is much easier and often more enjoyable to simply obtain the right electrolyte balance all at once, from one convenient and delicious beverage.
Although sodium is an essential nutrient, too much can cause health problems. Sodium holds excess fluid in the body, which can be beneficial in appropriate quantities, but too much can place excessive strain on the heart which can increase blood pressure levels. Doctors recommend reducing sodium intake with age in order to keep blood pressure levels at bay. Many people who eat processed foods and restaurant foods end up consuming far more sodium than is necessary. Salt is also a prominent source of sodium that is often overused. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg. of sodium per day.
Too much sodium is called hypernatremia, and too little sodium is called hyponatremia. Hypernatremia is commonly associated with dehydration, and it usually occurs when there is not enough water in the body, rather than excessive amounts of sodium. Hyponatremia occurs when there is too much water in the body, which dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood. Too much or too little sodium can cause a number of symptoms, including seizures, swelling, confusion, and weakness. A sodium imbalance can also cause cells to malfunction. Treatments for a sodium imbalance vary depending on the underlying condition.
Potassium is integral to many of the body’s critical functions, including transmission of signals between nerves, maintaining a proper fluid balance, contracting muscles, and various chemical reactions. Some common sources of potassium include beans, fruits, vegetables, milk, and cereals. Potassium supplements may be taken for a myriad of different reasons, including treating high calcium levels, headaches, acne, allergies, and symptoms associated with menopause.
Too much potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia, and too little potassium in the blood is called hypokalemia. Because hyperkalemia can cause irregular electric charges that interrupt the heart’s rhythm, it can cause serious health problems and even death. Kidney failure is the most common cause of dangerously high potassium levels, as excess potassium is secreted with urine when the kidneys are functioning properly. Hypokalemia is usually caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating, which causes the body to lose potassium. If you do excrete electrolytes involuntarily, drinking Vitalyte is an excellent way to replenish your electrolyte levels quickly and efficiently.
Calcium is best known for keeping bones and teeth strong, but it is also essential for many other bodily functions, including controlling nerve and muscle function and managing the proper acid and base levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, calcium is necessary for blood-clotting systems to work and for keeping the cardiovascular system functioning as it should. Because the bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding, a calcium-rich diet is necessary to keep the bones from weakening.
Too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia, and too little calcium in the blood is called hypocalcemia. Hypercalcemia can cause many different health problems, including kidney stones, depression, and abdominal pain. Excessive amounts of calcium in the body can also cause an irregular heartbeat. Hypercalcemia may be caused by certain types of tumors, too much vitamin A or D, kidney failure, or Paget’s disease. Hypocalcemia is associated with eating disorders, but it may also be caused by a lack of parathyroid hormone. Symptoms associated with low calcium levels include weakness, irregular heartbeat, and muscle spasms.
Magnesium is necessary for over 300 different processes in the body, yet it is often overlooked. Magnesium is fairly prevalent in the body, and it is used to maintain bone strength, promote proper nerve and muscle function, and to stimulate the neurons in the brain. Magnesium also aids in the digestive process, moving stools through the intestines and neutralizing stomach acids. Magnesium supplements are taken for many different health conditions, including diseases related to the heart and blood vessels.
Hypermagnesemia occurs when there is too much magnesium in the bloodstream, and hypomagnesemia occurs when there is not enough. Too much magnesium most commonly occurs when a person has a malfunctioning kidney, which prevents magnesium from being excreted properly. Symptoms associated with hypermagnesemia include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, weak muscles, nausea, and vomiting. There are many causes of hypomagnesemia, including chronic diarrhea, certain medications, and malnutrition related to alcoholism.
Phosphorus can be found in every cell in the human body, and it is most prevalent in the teeth and bones. In addition to strengthening the teeth and bones, phosphorus helps the body to process fats and carbohydrates, create protein, and maintain and repair tissues and cells. Phosphorus also helps the body to create a molecule called ATP, which is used for energy storage. Other uses for phosphorus include passing signals between nerves, maintaining a normal heartbeat, contracting muscles, and keeping the kidney functioning properly.
Hyperphosphatemia occurs when there is too much phosphorus in the bloodstream, and hypophosphatemia occurs when there is not enough phosphorus in the bloodstream. Too much phosphorous has numerous causes, with the most common being a buildup caused by malfunctioning kidneys that prevent phosphorus excretion. Hyperphosphatemia does not usually cause symptoms, but it is often coupled with hypocalcemia, which can cause symptoms. Hypophosphatemia also has numerous causes, including kidney problems that prevent phosphorus from being absorbed. Symptoms usually only occur when there is a significant lack of phosphorus, and symptoms include tremors, bone weakness, and a tingling sensation.
Chloride is one of the most critical of the electrolytes, but it is often overlooked when considering a healthy diet. Chloride and sodium together make table salt, which is where most people get the majority of their essential chloride. Among many other benefits, chloride regulates blood pressure levels and maintains the balance of fluids inside and outside the cells, proper blood volume, and pH balance of bodily fluids. Chloride is absorbed by the intestines when digested food passes through, and excess chloride leaves the body through urine.
A lack of chloride in the body is called hypochloremia, and too much chloride in the body is called hyperchloremia. Because the kidneys directly control how much chloride is in the blood, low or high chloride levels are usually the result of a kidney problem. Too much or too little chloride is also often caused by a loss of bodily fluids due to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or excessive sweating.
Foods That Contain Electrolytes
Now that we have answered the question of What do electrolytes do?, you may want to make some changes in the way you eat to ensure that you are getting enough of them in your diet. Drinking Vitalyte is an excellent way to maintain proper electrolyte levels in your body, but it is also important to eat foods that contain electrolytes too. Fruits and vegetables tend to be the best bet, with notable fruit options including bananas, avocados, raisins, coconuts, and dates, and excellent vegetable options including lentils, potatoes, beans, and spinach.
Why Vitalyte Is the Ideal Sports Drink
It is clear that maintaining your electrolytes levels is essential to your body’s health, but what makes Vitalyte the superior choice? For starters, Vitalyte does not contain the additives that are so common in other sports drinks, such as caffeine or added sugar. Vitalyte only contains the ingredients that today’s athletes require, without the potentially harmful additives that decrease athletic performance and lead to lasting health issues over time. Vitalyte also has the ideal isotonic exchange rate so you can give your body the nutrients it needs as quickly and effectively as possible.
Maintaining Electrolyte Levels Is Not Just to Prevent Cramps
While muscle cramps are the most obvious sign of an electrolyte imbalance, there are other reasons why athletes drink Vitalyte. In order for you to perform any sort of physical activity at your peak performance, your body needs to be as healthy as it can possibly be. You should never wait until you are already dehydrated to replenish your body’s essential nutrients. Just as you would never purposely wait until your car is running on fumes to refuel, you need to give your body consistent electrolytes so that you can function at your highest possible level.
Take the Right Fueling Approach
The best way to maintain optimal electrolyte levels is to drink Vitalyte slowly and steadily throughout a workout session. This allows you to keep your energy levels high without overloading your body with too much at once. Many athletes today don’t realize that they are actually doing more harm than good by consuming the unhealthy, artificially colored sports drinks that are so popular today. Vitalyte takes the sports drink concept and removes the additives that slow you down, allowing you to perform at your absolute best.
Vitalyte Makes Sense
When it comes down to it, drinking Vitalyte just makes sense. Most athletes would not drink soda while exercising or competing, so why are sports drinks any different? Most of today’s sports beverages are just as unhealthy, but people use them because they realize the importance of electrolytes. Vitalyte offers the best of all worlds – electrolyte replacement products that taste fantastic, revitalize your body, and don’t contain the junk that is all too common in other foods and beverages.
Try Vitalyte Today
We encourage you to give Vitalyte products a try and see the difference they can make. Bill Gookin started Vitalyte more than 40 years ago with a dream to help people, and today that core principle remains unchanged. Vitalyte is much more than just the ideal sports drink – it’s a community. If you’re interested in joining the Vitalyte team as a brand ambassador, feel free to apply online today. If you are interested in learning more about Vitalyte, please give us a call at 1-800-283-6505 today. Give your body the fuel it needs with Vitalyte!