Who needs supplements and when are they dangerous?

They have a number of different, really important and critical functions. But if we pass certain levels, we might have a problem

You can think of electrolytes as a kind of “super fuel” for champions – and more. Electrolytes are really powerful and in some cases your body may need the boost they provide. However, we don’t realize that electrolytes are not just something that circulates in artificial form (in the form of powders, tablets or energy drinks) but are also present in significant quantities in our diet.

“The simplest way to think about electrolytes is that they are essential minerals and provide many different things that the body needs,” said Dr. Sarah Rosenkranz explains. Nevada, Las Vegas.

They are called electrolytes because they carry an electrical charge—positive or negative—when dissolved in fluids such as blood. These electrical charges send signals to muscles and nerves. Our body cannot function without electrolytes.

“They have a number of different, really important and critical functions,” Rosenkranz points out. Among other things, they help regulate blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate and rhythm, and water balance in the body.

You may even recognize these minerals by their everyday names: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and more. And the truth is, most of us get adequate amounts from the foods and beverages we consume as part of our daily diet.

For example, calcium, which helps regulate blood clotting, heart rate, and dilation and constriction of blood vessels, is found in cheese, dairy products, and some plant-based milks. Magnesium is usually found in fibrous foods such as leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains. Potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, can be a little more difficult, especially if we don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. With sodium, the opposite is often true, as they may consume more than they should.

If you don’t eat too much sodium, your body does a pretty good job of keeping electrolytes in balance, Rosenkranz says. Their kidneys process and filter the excess in their urine.

Sodium and chloride (which helps regulate fluids) are also excreted in sweat. So sometimes our bodies may need a little more. However, most adults don’t need to look for ways to get extra electrolytes, according to the expert.

Who may need extra electrolytes?

Children who suffer for days with vomiting or diarrhea due to an illness can be given electrolyte drinks. Also, children lose fluids through sweat more easily than adults.

People who work long hours outdoors, especially in hot, dry climates, or athletes who engage in “extended, intense exercise” may also benefit from an electrolyte drink, as can athletes at high altitudes where hydration can be difficult.

Rosenkranz notes that research on electrolyte supplements is mostly for athletes. Some sources state that water is sufficient for anyone engaged in an activity lasting less than an hour and that there is no need to drink anything other than water.

Rosenkranz agrees with the general principle that if your workout is less than 75 minutes long and not too intense, “then there’s no reason to take an electrolyte supplement. And you can hydrate yourself just by drinking water.” However, he observes that in reality there are significant differences from person to person regarding each person’s needs. Gender, weight, genes play a role, but also heat, humidity, the amount of water one drinks before exercise, the intensity of exercise, and more.

Who should pay attention?

According to Rosenkranz, some people, including pregnant women and people with kidney disease, should be more careful when taking electrolyte supplements. These conditions, as well as some blood pressure medications, can affect electrolyte balance. These people should talk to their doctor and get their electrolyte levels checked.

Drinking too many electrolyte drinks can cause problems, he says. Excess electrolytes can cause heart rhythm problems, fatigue, nausea, etc. Interestingly, many of the symptoms caused by excess intake can be similar to insufficient electrolyte intake.

It is important to get electrolytes from our diet. In addition to the fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products listed above, electrolytes are also found in fish such as sardines, yellowfin tuna, and canned salmon.

“Electrolytes are going to be foods we should be eating more of anyway,” he said.

Fruits and vegetables also have the advantage of being a potential source of hydration.

In conclusion, drinking enough water and enough electrolytes is not difficult, he says. It’s more about listening to our bodies and choosing more plant-based foods. That’s what matters.

Leave a Comment