Electrolytes – They Charge Your Engine!

Why do I want to talk about electrolytes? Because we only think of them when we’re doing sports and we’re told we must grab a Gatorade or some other blue-dye poison. Kidding, it’s not poison…..it’s just really bad for your body. ūüėČ

Anyways, there’s more to electrolytes than just cramp-avoidance. They’re one of the main players in our bodies that time and time again my clients don’t give enough attention too. Especially if downing lots of water to stay hydrated.

What are electrolytes?

‚ÄúA substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in water.‚ÄĚ They carry a charge! How cool is that? Electrolytes are importance for muscle function, nervous system regulation, blood pH, blood pressure, and rebuilding damaged tissues.

Did you know your heart beats and releases an electrical charge? Electrolytes maintain the voltage across cell membranes to carry the electrical impulses to other cells!! No wonder we also give off vibrations into the atmosphere around us, WE’RE ELECTRIC (cue cheesy dance music!).

I want to continue to hit home the message for prokreating women that is, the healthier you are as a vessel for growing your baby, the healthier they will be, and the healthier you will be in the long run. If your nervous system, hormones, blood pH are at the top of their game now because you’re giving your body what it needs, you’re making deposits to a best-functioning future for your baby and yourself. Remember, motherhood takes a huge toll on women’s body’s and nourishment must be at top of mind.

Mineral Symbol Important Roles in Body Effective Ways to Replenish
Magnesium Mg2+ A WHOLE LOT! Please please please go read this thorough, quick post on WellnessMama! ·  Topical spray on skin.

·  Pumpkin seeds

·  Spinach/chard

·  Figs

·  Avocados

Sodium Na+ Sodium¬†is both an electrolyte and mineral. It helps keep the water (the amount of fluid inside and outside the¬†body’s¬†cells) and electrolyte balance of the¬†body.¬†Sodium¬†is also important in how nerves and muscles work. ¬∑¬† Pink/colored Himalayan salt sprinkled in water and on food.

·  Celery

·  Beets

Potassium K+ Potassium is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function. ·  Sweet potato

·  Watermelon

·  Swiss Chard

·  Beets

Calcium Ca2+ Contraction of muscles. Too much leads to constant or easy cramping because of the CA/K pump within your muscle fibers. ·  Collards

·  Sardines

·  Salmon

·  Okra

·  Spinach/Kale

Chloride C1 Helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper blood

volume, blood pressure, and pH of your body fluids.

·  Sea Salt

·  Seaweed

·  Rye

·  Celery

·  Olives

Hydrogen Phosphate HPO42- Phosphorus works with calcium to help build bones. You need the right amount of both calcium and phosphorus for bone health. Phosphorus also plays an important structural role in nucleic acids and cell membranes. And it’s involved in the body’s energy production.

You also need vitamin D to absorb phosphorus and calcium properly.

·  Scallops

·  Cod

·  Crimini Mushrooms

·  Sardines

Bicarbonate HCO3 Your kidneys and lungs balance the levels of carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and carbonic acid in the blood. Bicarbonate is a chemical that acts as a buffer, it keeps the pH of blood from becoming too acidic or too basic. ·  Baking soda

 What do they do as a whole?

Since electrolytes are essentially salts that carry an electrical charge, they’re in charge of muscle contractions caused by nerve impulses. Without electrolytes, the cells in our bodies couldn’t communicate with each other or perform other essential functions. They are needed for the function of nervous, cardiac, digestive, and muscular systems. Without them, normal bodily functions and athletic performance (like birth and chasing toddlers) are severely compromised.

How do they get depleted?

As we sweat, the body naturally regulates the balance of electrolytes. When we drink lots of water for basic functioning, breastfeeding, pregnancy, or hot days, this can deplete our minerals and important electrolytes. When we exercise, muscle fibers break down. When they break down, potassium is released. The body does this very efficiently and most of us eat many foods that contain potassium like sweet potatoes, chard, beets. More important is consuming foods rich in electrolytes of chloride, magnesium, and sodium because they get depleted more quickly leading to performance issues and/or cramping. And nobody’s got time for that! 

Low electrolytes?

The most obvious sign is muscle cramping. But actually, cramping means we missed the boat to maintain proper electrolyte balance and it’s one of the last warning signs that it cannot continue to function normally. Performance has been diminished for some time. It’s just like thirst and dehydration, when we’re feeling thirsty, it means that we’re at a very high point of dehydration and need to consume water immediately and consistently. Like hydration, for proper electrolyte balance, we need a continuous stream of energy to all cells to ensure peak performance, normal bodily functions, and optimized power for our day to day activities.

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References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188.php

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/sodium-na-in-blood#1

HYDRATION SPORTS SCIENCE