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Electrolytes: What, Why & How

Electrolytes: What, Why & How

Electrolytes. You've almost certainly heard the term in the marketing campaigns of sports & energy drinks companies but do you know what they are?

An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved into water. They carry electrical charges which are essential for carrying out important physiological functions in the human body.

The table below shows the main electrolytes and the functions they perform in your body:

Electrolyte

Functions in the body

Calcium

Necessary for muscle contraction, nerve function, blood clotting, cell division, healthy bones and teeth

Chloride

Maintains fluid balance in the body

Potassium

Regulates heart contraction, helps maintain fluid balance

Magnesium

Necessary for muscle contraction, nerve function, heart rhythm, bone strength, generating energy and building protein

Sodium

Maintains fluid balance and necessary for muscle contraction and nerve function

In order to maintain electrolyte balance, they must be kept within narrow concentration levels in the body so that they can carry out their critical functions. In periods of intense exercise or illness, your body can experience electrolyte imbalance which is why it's imperative to replace them through fluid intake. This is why sports drink brands have made electrolytes the central part of their marketing campaign, because electrolyte balance is so important for athletes.

Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance

  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Blood Pressure changes 
  • Dizziness 
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness 
  • Joint Pain 

Over-Hydration

You may be forgiven for thinking that over-hydration is not particularly common, but because it has many of the same symptoms as dehydration, it can often be mistaken. Over-hydration can lead to a condition called hyponatremia which causes the body to flush out all of the electrolytes in our system. As many of these electrolytes in standard drinking water are found in very low concentrations, over consumption can cause a diluting effect on electrolytes within your system. This is more of a risk for professional endurance athletes who train outside in intense heat. 

How to Get Them?

Popular sports drinks designed to replace electrolytes are often high in potassium and sodium but lacking in calcium and magnesium. Depending on the brand, they may also be high in sugar. Many of these electrolytes however can be added to drinking water. Sodium, calcium and magnesium are added to your drinking water with our alkaline water filter. This makes replacing electrolytes and maintaining balance of these minerals a seamless part of your everyday routine and avoids the risk of diluting electrolytes by drinking water devoid of these ingredients. This is also likely to lower the risk of over-hydration. Not only that but it provides a cheaper alternative than bottled sports drinks brands, which are generally at least £1 per 500ml bottle. And of course, the less we consume plastic bottles the better it is for the environment

 

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Alkaline Water Filter