What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are substances that have a natural positive or negative electrical charge when dissolved in water. They are essential minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium that are vital to many physiological functions in the body. Because the average adult body is 60% water, nearly every fluid and cell in your body contains electrolytes.
There are a number of different types of electrolytes in your body, each supporting a slightly different set of functions:
- Controls fluids in the body, impacting blood pressure.
- Necessary for nerve and muscle function.
- Regulates heart and blood pressure
- Aids in transmitting nerve impulses
- Contributes to bone health
- Necessary for muscle contraction
- Important for the production of DNA and RNA
- Helps maintain heart rhythm
- Regulates glucose levels
- Enhances immune system
- Regulates gastrointestinal tract
Getting your electrolytes from a healthy, well-balanced diet can be done but is not always easy. There are many sports drinks that have electrolytes added, but many also contain added sugars, preservatives, and colored dyes that are not conducive to reaching your optimal wellness goals. Some electrolytes are more common than others in a healthy diet; some foods that contain electrolytes include spinach, pickle juice, lentils, and sunflower seeds.
Many of these foods are not common in an everyday balanced diet, so it is important to find ways to add electrolytes to your diet without compromising.
The Job of Electrolytes
Electrolytes take on a positive or negative charge when they dissolve in your body fluid. This allows them to conduct electricity and move electrical charges or signals throughout your body. These charges are what enable your body to function and keep you alive, including operating your brain, muscles, and nerves, and creating new tissue.
- The amount of water in your body
- The acidity of your blood (pH)
- Your muscle and nerve function
- How nutrients are moved into your cells
- How waste is removed from your cells
- The stability of your blood pressure
- Proper nervous system function
- Many other important bodily functions as well
It is normal for your electrolyte levels to fluctuate during the day depending on your activity. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes. Sickness that includes vomiting or diarrhea can affect your electrolyte levels. Even drinking too much water can cause an imbalance in your electrolytes.
Knowing the importance of electrolytes and how to tell if you have an imbalance is crucial to your overall wellness.
An electrolyte imbalance is exactly what it sounds like — you either have too many electrolytes or too few electrolytes in your body. An imbalance is ultimately created when the fluid inside your cells is not balanced with the fluid outside your cells. It can happen when the amount of water in your body changes, and it can make it difficult for your body to function as it should.
On average, about 40 percent of your body weight is from fluids inside the cells, and 20 percent is from fluids outside the cells. Electrolytes help level these values to maintain a balanced amount of fluid both inside and outside of your cells.
There are many reasons why an electrolyte imbalance may occur, and as mentioned above, drinking too much water could cause an imbalance. Some other causes may include:
- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- Certain medications/ diuretic medications
- Heavy sweating
- Heart, liver or kidney problems
- Severe burns
Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance can vary depending on the type of electrolyte that is most affected. Common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance include lethargy, nausea, fluid retention, headaches, abdominal pain, kidney stones, and muscle cramping. In cases of severe electrolyte imbalances, more serious problems like abnormal heart rhythms, kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and seizures are possible.
Older adults and those who are critically ill tend to experience electrolyte imbalances more often. A diet low in naturally occurring electrolytes also puts someone at greater risk of developing an imbalance. Maintaining proper electrolyte levels to avoid an imbalance can help you reach your optimal wellness.
The only way to know where your electrolyte levels stand is through a blood test. A blood test carries little risk, is mostly painless, and can provide a lot of key information about your current health. The blood test offered by 10X Health will not only check your electrolyte levels but also analyze over 70 biomarkers in your blood.
Your gender, age, and any preexisting health issues can affect the levels of electrolytes in your body. The normal ranges of the three most common and important electrolytes are:
- Sodium: 136 to 144 mmol/L.
- Potassium: 3.7 to 5.1 mmol/L.
- Magnesium: 1.7 to 2.2 mg/dL.
An electrolyte reading above or below the recommended amounts does not necessarily mean that you have a problem or need treatment, but it can be something to pay attention to. Maintaining electrolyte balance should be the goal to guarantee proper functioning of the body.
While certain conditions that affect electrolyte levels cannot be controlled, there are ways you can avoid severe electrolyte imbalances or fluctuations. Here are some steps you can take to maintain electrolyte balance:
- Eat Your Electrolytes: as mentioned above, a healthy diet should give you the proper amount of important electrolytes. Getting enough potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride is important.
- Watch Sodium Intake: While sodium is a necessary electrolyte, your body only needs about one teaspoon a day. Try using fresh herbs or citrus to season your food, and stray from pre-packaged foods that tend to be high in sodium.
- Stay Hydrated with Water: Don’t wait until you are dying of thirst to drink water. Keep a water bottle close by and take sips throughout your day. Drinking water helps the human body function properly more than we give it credit for.
- Replace Electrolytes After Exercise: Your potassium, magnesium, and sodium levels could be depleted after intense exercise. An electrolyte supplement like 10X Health’s Electrolytes could be the perfect solution (more on this later).
- Push Electrolytes When You are Sick: Vomiting, severe diarrhea, and fever can make your body lose electrolytes very quickly leading to dehydration. It’s important to add even more electrolyte-rich fluids and foods into your body if you’re ill.
Keeping your body in balance with proper levels of electrolytes will maintain the proper functioning of your body processes and make you feel your best. Keep in mind that electrolytes can be lost very quickly, so it’s crucial to be mindful of how to keep them balanced.
The Importance of Electrolytes to Proper Muscle Function
Muscles need sufficient electrolytes — especially sodium, potassium, and magnesium — in proper balance to function correctly. The body manipulates these particular electrolytes in order to contract and relax muscles. An imbalance in any of these electrolytes could cause you to experience muscle weakness or cause the muscle to contract, but not relax, leading to muscle cramps, spasms, or muscle twitching.
Muscle cramps generally occur in middle-aged and older individuals and are common in athletes. Some researchers believe that a deficiency in one of the electrolytes can negatively affect blood flow to the muscles; and that a deficiency in potassium, specifically, can interfere with the muscle’s ability to use glycogen, a sugar that is the muscles’ main source of energy.
Keeping electrolyte levels balanced will help ward off muscle cramping, muscle weakness, and fatigue. If you exercise regularly, it is very likely that you may have an electrolyte imbalance. Pay attention to those leg cramps, muscle spasms or aches, they may be letting you know that electrolytes are needed!
The Benefits of 10X Health Electrolytes
10X Health is proud to announce a new product to our line-up of wellness offerings. 10X Health Electrolyte Packets are specially formulated to offer optimal hydration for optimal well-being. The packets are designed to be bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb them easily and use them easily.
These electrolyte packets will help you achieve optimal hydration, and optimal pH balance every time you use one. Our proprietary blend of electrolytes is designed to assist in muscle recovery and promote an overall sense of well-being.
The 10X Health Electrolyte packets contain a blend of the most essential and common electrolytes you can have in your body — sodium, potassium, and magnesium. They are travel-friendly, and they will keep you hydrated all day. Whether you’re hitting the gym or just need an afternoon pick-me-up, 10X Electrolyte packets will have you revitalized in no time.
What You Can Do to Secure Electrolyte Balance
10X Health makes it pretty easy for you to find out if you have an electrolyte imbalance, and to treat that imbalance if it exists. Contact 10X Health today to get set up with our comprehensive blood test that will provide you with a snapshot of not only your current electrolyte levels but an overall picture of your current wellness.
Our blood test will provide you with a comprehensive report that will pinpoint anything that is missing from you reaching your wellness goals. We will also supply you with information on how to improve your wellness using your personalized data.
If your blood test shows that your electrolyte levels are low, or that you have an electrolyte deficiency, we can provide you with 10X Health electrolyte packets to try. Start feeling and looking your best and let 10X Health guide you on your journey.
Interested in learning more about electrolytes and how they affect overall wellness? Reach out to 10X Health today!