November 15, 2022 7 min read
Did you know that your body has electricity running through it? If you thought “electrolyte” is just an insignificant wellness buzzword, you’d be wrong. Electrolytes are crucial for your body to perform vital functions. They are minerals carrying an electric charge, found in your sweat, urine, and blood.
The body processes affected by electrolytes include muscle and brain functions. The minerals with electric charges include sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and chloride. If the electrolyte levels in your body drop too low, your body cannot function. Muscle contractions, blood clotting, fluid regulation, and acid balance can be compromised.
Your heart is a muscle, therefore without sufficient electrolytes your heartbeat will become irregular, and it could lead to your death.
In this article, we’ll tell you what happens when your body is low on electrolytes and how you can ensure your electrolyte levels don’t drop.
Dehydration and low levels of electrolytes are often confused and wrongly regarded as the same condition. Electrolyte imbalances can affect your fluid levels, leading to dehydration. Dehydration is a condition where fluid loss exceeds fluid intake. It can also be caused by electrolyte imbalances. However, drinking water and staying hydrated are crucial.
If you are serious about optimal performance in your chosen physical activities, be it strength building, weight lifting, bodybuilding, field and track, or just fitness enthusiasm, you would want to ensure your heart and muscles are armed with sufficient electrolytes.
Oral rehydration like STEEL’s HYPERADE is an effective solution to ensure the required electrolyte balance.
Low electrolyte levels can also speed up muscle fatigue, and hydration during strenuous physical activity can prevent the slowing down of muscle contractions while also lowering muscle tension development.
Although electrolytes don’t run your body, they certainly make it run smoothly. Similar to your car’s battery, electrolytes in your blood and body fluids stimulate the voltages that carry the electrical impulses between your cells as muscle contractions and nerve impulses. The electrical energy these minerals provide maintains organ function and optimum nervous, digestive, muscular, and cardiac performance.
Below are the electrically charged minerals and their functions.
Typically, sweat loss is the primary cause of electrolyte loss during exercise activities. Sweating plays a significant role in electrolyte loss, which compromises your body’s ability to regulate itself. The more you sweat during exercise, the more electrolytes you lose.
Keep in mind that each person is unique and the level of fluid loss during exercise involves many factors. Excessive sweating from exercise is only one of many contributors to fluid and electrolyte loss, and others are listed below.
Avoid working out if you’re suffering a bout of vomiting or diarrhea after taking laxatives for constipation, which are both conditions that could drain you of electrolytes.
An electrolyte imbalance does not occur only when levels are too low, but also when there are excessive mineral levels in your blood. The medical terms for these imbalances typically start with hypo for deficiencies and hyper for excessive levels, as indicated below.
Sodium: Hyponatremia or Hypernatremia
Potassium: Hypokalemia or Hyperkalemia
Calcium: Hypocalcemia or Hypercalcemia
Chloride:Hypochloremia or Hyperchloremia
Magnesium: Hypomagnesemia or Hypermagnesemia
Phosphate: Hypophosphatemia or Hyperphosphatemia
Bicarbonate: Acidosis (high acid levels)
Alkalosis:High alkaline levels.
The most common sign of low electrolyte levels is muscle cramping, which can be excruciating and debilitating. But many other symptoms can indicate mineral shortages, and the following list may help you identify the specific mineral shortage you have.
Many of the symptoms of low electrolytes are often confused with other health conditions. However, if you are physically active and spend a lot of time working out and experience muscle weakness or cramping, irregular heartbeat, or any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your physician without delay.
Untreated electrolyte disorders can have devastating consequences. In serious cases, seizures or other life-threatening conditions like kidney disease, heart failure, or cardiac arrest could result.
Your physician will explain the testing procedures that typically involve blood work to test your electrolyte levels. A comprehensive or basic metabolic panel will determine the fluid and electrolytes balance, the glucose levels, and the blood urea nitrogen levels to test kidney function.
Although sports drinks can help you maintain safe electrolyte levels immediately before, during, and after strenuous exercise, you should also ensure that your diet includes the necessary minerals. Some gym goers and athletes tend to think that hydrating and replenishing electrolytes in the body can all be done by drinking a sports drink after exercising.
More examples of food rich in minerals to balance electrolytes include potatoes, turkey, beans, edamame or soybeans, and strawberries.
Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining balanced electrolyte levels. Although water is the most natural choice for hydration, it does not contain the necessary electrolytes for optimal health while working out. Drinking an electrolyte replenishing solution like HYPERADE is very effective.
Athletes and gym goers who sweat more than normal due to their strenuous workouts usually prefer sports drinks that contain added minerals to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating. The added flavors and sugar of sports drinks also make them more popular than water.
PRO TIP:Don’t rehydrate with carbonated or energy drinks. They may cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels.
Whether you're training for a triathlon, lifting weights, riding motocross, skateboarding, or playing baseball, football, or hockey, you cannot adequately restore muscle electrolytes and glycogen with food alone. You need a sports drink like HyperAde, which is designed to be taken pre-workout, intra-workout, and/or post-workout.
HyperAde quickly replenishes muscle glycogen and electrolytes that are depleted from intense bursts of energy. It includes 25g of fast-digesting carbs from Cluster Dextrin, a superior carbohydrate that delivers smooth, constant energy and replenishes muscle glycogen storage without spiking blood sugar levels, making it more absorbable and readily available for your body to burn as energy.
HyperAde is a non-stimulant electrolyte glycogen supplement that can be stacked with any of the other STEEL products.
HyperAde is the superior alternative to sugar-filled sports drinks, with a full profile of BCAAs, and is available in 3 delicious flavors. It will fuel your most grueling training sessions and power your body to train longer and harder.
Read the Science behind HYPERADE by Dr. Paul Henning here.
Electrolytes play vital roles in many essential body functions. For optimal performance in your chosen physical activities, keeping electrolytes balanced is crucial.
You’d be surprised how many electrolytes you lose during a workout that has you sweating excessively. Therefore, it's important to keep your electrolytes balanced throughout your workout and beyond.