Electrolytes, or salt ions present in all our bodily liquids, play a very important role in the proper functioning of the entire body. Discover how they are usually depleted and how to replenish them promptly and effectively.
In order to work really well, human body needs a certain level of electrolytes in the blood, plasma and all liquids present in the tissues. One of their tasks is to transport nerve stimuli between cells. Therefore, it is extremely important to provide the body with the right doses of sodium, potassium and magnesium. Any deficiencies contribute to the electrolyte imbalance and may lead to many conditions and disorders. The consequences can be very severe, since low levels of the electrolytes can even interfere with the heart or nervous system function.
When Are You Susceptible to Losing Electrolytes?
You suffer a serious depletion of the valuable salt ions when you exercise strenuously. Therefore athletes and very active people are recommended to drink lots of fluids in order to replenish the electrolyte deficiency. Infections also contribute to a substantial loss of electrolytes – when your body is fighting microbes, it uses more valuable chemicals collected in its tissues and cells.
How to Recognise the Electrolyte Deficiency?
The deficiency in electrolytes can be easily mistaken for fatigue, but some symptoms, other than drowsiness and tiredness, should alert you to the problem of dehydration. The warning sings come primarily from your cardiovascular and nervous systems: trembling and muscle stiffness, dizziness or fainting. Other common signs include high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. If other symptoms accompany them, such as nausea and bowel movement problems, it is highly probable that you suffer from electrolyte deficiency.
The Best Sources of Electrolytes
If you’ve noticed symptoms of electrolyte deficiency, make some necessary changes in your diet. Drink lots of water (at least 1.5 litre a day) with a high mineral content. Tomato juice helps, too, because tomatoes are a valuable source of potassium. You can also drink isotonic drinks rich in sodium chloride. Include foods rich in sodium, potassium, and magnesium in your everyday diet. You will find them in bananas, almonds, tomatoes or pumpkin seeds. If your diet is not properly balanced, consider vitamin and mineral supplementation.
When you know in which situations your body is most exposed to the electrolyte depletion, you can prevent it. Remember to avoid intensive exercise in very hot weather, and if you are suffering from an infection, drink twice as much water as you normally do. A seemingly harmless diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and loss of electrolytes, so replenish fluids regularly.