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Electrolytes: Health Fad or Real Benefits?

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Summer is approaching us with rising temperatures and severe sweat, and we’re all trying to find ways to cool off and stay safe. As a response, the electrolyte drink market is booming; powders, supplements, and drinks are everywhere! And it’s not all sugary like we used to have as kids — new electrolyte drinks promise health, wellness, and hydration with natural ingredients that are good for you. 

So, is it true? Are electrolytes the key to staying hydrated in the upcoming summer, or just another drink fad? 

In this blog, we’ll explain what electrolytes are, what to look for in your electrolyte products, and when you should (and shouldn’t!) drink them. 

What Are Electrolytes? 

Electrolytes is a fancy word for a type of mineral that gets a positive or negative electric charge when dissolved in water, bodily fluids, or blood. We all have electrolytes in our blood, urine, and tissues from our food and beverage consumption.  

Since electrolytes are minerals, the two words may be used interchangeably. All electrolytes are minerals, but not all minerals are electrolytes! 

There are eight main electrolytes: 

  • Bicarbonate 
  • Calcium 
  • Magnesium 
  • Chloride 
  • Phosphate 
  • Potassium 
  • Sodium 
  • Sulfate 

When we’re talking about hydrating electrolytes, we’re referring to: 

  • Sodium 
  • Potassium 
  • Calcium 
  • Magnesium 

Do You Need Electrolytes? 

Yes, everyone needs electrolytes! Electrolytes help us keep water, regulate blood pressure, manage blood transport, and support muscle function. But you shouldn’t completely replace water with electrolyte powders, drinks, drops, and IVs. 

What Happens When the Body is Too Low on Electrolytes? 

When your body doesn’t have enough electrolytes, it can’t function properly. Not only can it cause dehydration, but it also affects your blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction, and blood pH balance.  

What Happens When the Body is Too High on Electrolytes? 

Having too many electrolytes is unlikely, but possible. Common symptoms include fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, and muscle aches. To prevent electrolyte overload, only drink electrolytes when necessary and avoid electrolyte drinks if you have kidney disease. 

How Do Electrolytes Hydrate You? 

When we sweat, stress, or suffer from illness, our body loses a lot of electrolytes and water. As we lose electrolytes, our body struggles to keep water and becomes dehydrated.  

Electrolytes restore hydration in the body and control fluid retention. They move water and nutrients to cells for proper functioning and rejuvenation. 

When to Drink Electrolytes 

The best occasion to drink electrolytes is when you’re currently dehydrated or at risk for dehydration.  

The best time to have electrolytes: 

  • Before or after 1+ hour of exercise 
  • Before or after intense sweating from exercise 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Long exposure to heat / sun 
  • Dehydration 

 

We all naturally face situations of dehydration and needing extra electrolytes; and in those cases, we aren’t feeling too well. It’s always good to have electrolytes ready for use! 

Popular Hydrating Electrolytes 

Most drinks, powders, drops, and IVs include sodium, potassium, and magnesium because of their hydrating benefits. 

Sodium 

Sodium is effective for hydration because it sticks to water and carries fluid through the body. The sodium’s connection with water ensures that the water isn’t completely emptied out through sweat or urine.  

Potassium 

Potassium also sticks to water molecules and works well when paired with sodium. As sodium brings water to the cells, potassium delivers it inside of the muscles for proper function.  

Additionally, potassium prevents the body from overconsuming water by aiding with the expulsion process. If you’re sweating a lot, potassium and sodium ensure that you hold water inside of you as you release sweat to cool down. 

Magnesium 

Magnesium is a powerful electrolyte that holds water even stronger than potassium and sodium. The strength is effective for severe dehydration or limited access to water. 

How to Increase Your Hydration Electrolytes 

Diet 

Sodium 

  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
  • Fermented foods  
  • Olives 
  • Canned seafood 
  • Cottage cheese 
  • Canned beans 

Potassium 

  • Bananas 
  • Oranges 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes 
  • Leafy greens 
  • Tuna, halibut, cod 
  • Lima, pinto, kidney, and soybeans 

Magnesium 

  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
  • Legumes 
  • Avocados 
  • Fatty fish 
  • Bananas 

 

Electrolyte Powders, Drops, and Drinks 

BrainTree Brain Water Electrolytes 

The ideal electrolyte powder for hydration and mind support. Including six electrolytes and brain powering herbs, this powder is perfect for a long workout at the gym, a packed travel day, or a recovery drink on that first day back to work after being sick. Absolutely no sugar and naturally flavored with watermelon or cucumber lime—your choice! 

SaltStick Electrolyte FastChews or Capsules 

You don’t even need water for this one. Absorb your electrolytes 2-4x faster with this orange chewable designed with a 1:1 potassium to sodium ratio. This golden ratio mimics your body’s natural sweat loss so you can keep cool without dehydration. Ideal for hard workouts, lots of sun, or a sauna sesh. 

PickleBall Cocktail 

Pickleball fanatics, this one is for you! Avoid cramps during and after your match with this potassium and magnesium packed powder. No sugar, just golden pickles. 

P.S Works for other sports too 🙂 

Designs for Health ElectroPure Hydration 

An all-business clementine powder with 9x the electrolytes of a typical sports drink and the golden potassium and sodium ratio. Grab this powder anytime you need an electrolyte pick me up, it also includes vitamin C and D-ribose for cell production and recovery. 

Mantra Labs Hydrate Powder 

Recover from illness with this organic powder packed with six electrolytes, antioxidants, and prebiotics. Your gut, immune system, and overall health will kickstart again! Choose from fruit punch or lemonade flavored.
 

Trace Minerals PowerPak 

Power through illness or intense endurance exercises with this highly absorbable cherry-lime powder. It includes four electrolytes, 72 minerals, and immunity nutrients for rejuvenation! 

Hydrating IVs 

At Alive and Well we offer over 15 different IV therapies for optimal health and wellness. Nine of our IVs— Performance, Myers Plus, Energy, Headache Help, Director’s Pick, the Premium, Million Dollar Drip, Mitochondrial/ Phosphatidyl Lipid Exchange and Hangover—are especially designed for hydration by including magnesium. 

Electrolytes ARE Worth the Hype! 

So, are electrolytes just a fad, or do they have actual health benefits? The answer is: there are actual health benefits!  

Electrolytes are necessary for our bodily functions and keeping us hydrated. If you’re sick, an intense athlete, or planning a day in the sun, then grabbing an electrolyte powder or IV is beneficial to prevent dehydration. For the best results, choose electrolyte powders, drinks, and drops with natural ingredients and extra nutrients. 

 

 

Sources:
https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/why-are-people-adding-salt-their-water-for-hydration 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455825/#:~:text=In%20the%20dissolved%20state%2C%20magnesium,cation%20is%20hard%20to%20dehydrate. 

https://eletewater.co.uk/blogs/research/8029111-water-electrolytes-how-they-prevent-dehydration#:~:text=Within%20the%20body%2C%20electrolytes%20are,fluid%20balance%20inside%20the%20cells. 

https://www.health.com/best-electrolyte-drinks-8619874#:~:text=Electrolytes%20are%20specific%20minerals%20that,in%20fluid%20balance%20during%20exercise%2C 

https://medlineplus.gov/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html 

 

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