La Plata Physical Therapy, Inc.
101 Centennial Street
La Plata, MD 20646
The Importance Of Electrolytes
The essential minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium are vital to key functions in the body. Electrolytes are important because they regulate muscle contractions, control your nervous system function, balance your pH levels and importantly, help keep you hydrated.
Some signs of low electrolyte levels are: fatigue, headaches, nausea, blood pressure changes, muscle cramps, low energy and simply not feeling well. Muscle cramps are most commonly noticed especially when people exercise because we mostly lose electrolytes through sweat and urine. More serious side effects from low electrolytes include vomiting and diarrhea. People think that muscle cramps come from magnesium and potassium deficiencies, when most of the time they result from losing salt through sweat. When it comes to diet, bananas are often thought of as a solution to increase potassium however, they aren’t the only dietary solution if you are experiencing muscle cramps. Sodium may be necessary to consume if this occurs.
If you have been sweating heavily from working out or if you’re exercising in a humid, hot area for an extended length of time then you might benefit from an electrolyte-replacement beverage. Be aware of advertising for sports drinks that can mislead people to think that it is essential to consume these beverages to replace electrolytes that have been lost through perspiration. Most people that are performing easy-to-moderate exercise for an hour will adequately replace electrolytes from drinking water.
Electrolytes can be added to IVs, which can help patients with alcohol abuse or other conditions that cause electrolyte deficiency. Your body loses electrolytes while drinking alcohol. Alcohol can make you dehydrated because it is a diuretic, which causes a person to urinate more frequently. Dehydration may also play a role in a lot of common hangover symptoms, like headache, fatigue, and weakness. Moreover, alcohol suppresses the hormone ADH (also known as antidiuretic hormone) that helps your body hold onto water and electrolytes instead of losing them through urine. Although, you’re probably not drinking water while you’re out drinking alcohol, you may lose even more water and electrolytes if you experience vomiting or diarrhea. Drinking more water with electrolyte tablets or coconut water with salt added should help with hydration when you’ve overdone it at the bar.
Article written by Katherine Pilkerton