What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are substances that conduct electricity outside and inside the cells of the human body to maintain normal function of one’s cells and organs. The most common examples of electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. It is important for each of these substances to sustain certain levels for a person’s body to function properly, and excessively high or excessively low levels of electrolytes can be fatal. When a person sweats from extreme exercise routines (upwards of 5 or 6 hours) or suffers from diarrhea, vomiting, starvation, or intoxication, they are at risk of depleting their electrolyte levels and can replenish them with an intake of sodium and potassium salts.
What conditions indicate an electrolyte imbalance?
Electrolyte imbalances can lead to muscle pains and spasms, muscle weakness, fatigue, cramps, confusion, drowsiness, seizures, nausea, and vomiting, among other conditions.
What is the relationship between sports drinks and electrolytes?
Many sports drinks are marketed as being high in electrolytes. Electrolyte restoration therapy isn’t typically necessary for standard exercise routines, and is instead only needed for extreme sports activity such as the Ironman competition. Most sports drinks with electrolytes also have excessive amounts of sugar, so if one is to pursue electrolyte-rich beverages they should be wary of the possibilities of obesity and tooth decay.
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