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What is an Electrolyte?

An electrolyte is a medium containing ions that is electrically conducting through the movement of those ions, but not conducting electrons. This includes most soluble salts, acids, and bases dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water.

Where your body is concerned and electrolyte is the medical term for a salt or ion in the blood or other bodily fluid that carries a charge.

Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help: Balance the amount of water in your body. Balance your body's acid/base (pH) level. When muscle loose fluid they begin to cramp and constrict electrolytes alleviate these conditions.

Where does an Electrolyte come from?

Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium are all electrolytes. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. The levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high. This can happen when the amount of water in your body changes.

High levels of physical activity and induced sweating can deplete the body of these nutrients over prolonged periods of time. These nutrient have to be replenished so your body functions are required. Non-replenishment bring along muscular cramps, fatigue, even nausea, and exhaustion. The very reason most sports require electrolyte drinks before during and after games.

Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Who needs electrolytes, everybody engaged in strenuous prolonged physical activity. Especially those exposed to the suns rays or an enclosed training or competition setting. You need to refuel what your body has lost through the process of trying to keep your core temperature down - SWEATING! Yeah you need them!

How much should be taken? Are there side effects?

Drink about 6-8 ounces of electrolyte drink for exercise longer than one hour OR in extreme heat. Try to avoid electrolyte drinks with artificial sweetener. Your body needs glucose or real sugar and salt to help it absorb water.

There are side effects to consuming to much eltrolytes in supplements at a give time and some are quite severe:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Cramps.
  • Gas formation.
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Flushing.
  • Significant decrease in blood pressure.
  • Sweating.
  • Alteration of consciousness.

Always follow manufactures direction or those of your physician and don't over do anything. There are limits to all good things and electrolytes area great thing for your training.

Recent Studies

Realted Pages:

Potassium Magnesium

Electrolyte Products