What are they?
Electrolytes are mineral salts which carry an electrical charge, both positive and negative, known as ions. The body needs electrical impulses to make muscles contract, and the cells require an electrical impulse to be maintained across the cell surface. Without electrolytes the cells in your body could not communicate with each other. ...Read more They determine the PH balance of our blood and therefore make up an essential part of our blood and bodily fluids such as sweat and urine.
Sometimes, our electrolytes may be low or in the wrong proportion. This may be the case after; exercise, excess sweating, diarrhoea and vomiting, all which can lead to dehydration. Most electrolyte blends contain magnesium, Chloride, potassium, sodium, bicarbonate and sulphate.
What do they do in the body?
They regulate hydration of cells and blood pressure and control ion channels within the body, essential for transporting nutrients to cells. Without proper electrolyte balance, we can become dehydrated and unable to function properly both mentally and physically. A lack of electrolytes can cause muscle cramping, confusion, fatigue, hallucinations and heart rhythm abnormalities. Many athletes need electrolytes, not just those who suffer cramping. By the time you experience cramping, you already have far lower levels of electrolytes than is optimal. At the point of cramping, your body and sports performance has been compromised for some time. Regular replenishment is important for optimal health and performance.
How do I take them?
Electrolyte supplements come in the form of drops, tablets and powder which all dissolve in water for you to drink. They are commonly used by endurance athletes, or by those who experience dehydration from diarrhoea or vomiting.