Electrolytes are all the rage these days. Energy boosts, hangover cures, and speedy hydration have blasted all sorts of new electrolyte-focused products onto the mainstream market.
“Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. They play a vital role in the human body, affecting everything from heartbeat to muscle contraction. Electrolyte levels that are too high or too low can cause health problems,” according to Angela Ryan Lee, MD. Electrolytes are essentially: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and (a big one for athletes) sodium.
Electrolytes help your body do practically everything. When you are an athlete, you’re relying heavily on the bodily processes that electrolytes help perform while simultaneously losing electrolytes through your sweat. One result could be hyponatremia, which is a deficiency of sodium in the blood that can cause excessive fatigue. It can be caused by dehydration (not drinking enough water) or by drinking too much water without electrolytes. That can equal issues in athletic performance and illness, which is one reason why endurance athletes are so obsessed with electrolytes.
All that begs some questions: Are electrolyte products one size fits all? How much electrolyte intake do we really need? When is the best time to be taking or reducing electrolyte consumption?
Pour up a tall glass of Pedialyte, and we’ll dive in.