Whilst you may not know too much about electrolytes, they extremely important and play a key role in the normal function of many processes without bodies.
In scientific terms electrolytes are ions which dissolved in water and actually have the ability to conduct electricity. They allow the cells, organs and organ systems to communicate with one another and are charged components that enable our body to perform all its day-to-day life activities, including contraction of muscles, producing heartbeat, and keep you hydrated to name just a few!
Some of the important electrolytes present in our body in minute amounts are Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium. We get these electrolytes from what we eat and drink regularly. Generally speaking, electrolyte levels must stay within a very small range. Otherwise, they may cause massive damage to our bodies and also lead to dehydration. What is interesting is that a recent survey found that 75% of the western world is dehydrated without even knowing it.
Some of the symptoms of which are fatigue, lack of energy, feeling dizzy, head aches – if you regularly free any of these you may be dehydrated or low on electrolytes!
Whilst is it possible to maintain levels through our food and drink in recent years many people and using hydration supplements to help maintain proper electrolyte levels.
What are the functions?
Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining proper fluid levels in your body and your blood plasma. They can keep the pH level of blood within the normal range. They also help in muscle contraction, including the regular beating of your heart. They are also ranks responsible for transmitting nerve signals from muscles, heart and nerves to various other body cells. Because of the presence of electrolytes, there is new tissue build-up in the body.
What causes an imbalance in our body?
Electrolyte imbalance may occur due to multiple factors, the most important of them being a regular intake of fluids. Drinks tend to be a great source. There is also a lot of food items that contain naturally high levels. If you do not follow a proper diet, you may start to suffer from imbalance. Imbalance may also occur due to chronic respiratory problems.
What we can do?
Unsurprisingly, staying hydrated is one of the best things we can do and well as easting clean and hitting your 5 a day! The caveat is that it is of course variable from person to person. So it is important that you follow a plan / diet that is suitable for your lifestyle. For example an athlete may need to take on more fluids in an average day than an individual who is not exercising.
As you can see, electrolytes are extremely important and it is certainly possible to maintain levels from our natural food and drink, so a balanced diet is certainly recommended. However if like 75% of us you are still struggling also try including electrolyte powder in your diet for better results.