The Benefits of Electrolytes

Jun 25

by Dr. Bo Wagner on 25 June 2013 in , , , with 0 Comments

School is out and summer is here and always full of activities, vacations and extra requirements of parents, especially mothers. So it is very important for parents to super nourish ourselves to be able to cope with the extra duties and to support the special needs of our families. If parents overlook their own health, they won’t be up to the extra physical and mental tasks at hand. 

One great way to be beef up one's strength, stamina and endurance is to make sure you are getting enough electrolytes to replenish, hydrate and restore healthy energy levels in the cells, heart and muscle tissues your body needs to perform at its best during strenuous summer activities. Proper hydration helps to reduce the incidence of cramps and muscle fatigue so you can endure longer.

So get the edge you need to perform at your best by loading up on extra electrolytes.

Definition  
                                                                                                                                 
Electrolyte is a "medical/scientific" term for salts, specifically ions. The term electrolyte means that this ion is electrically-charged and moves to either a negative (cathode) or positive (anode) electrode:

- ions that move to the cathode (cations) are positively charged
- ions that move to the anode (anions) are negatively charged

Important for Health

Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride are substances (macro-minerals) that become ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. A depletion of electrolytes in your body can cause fatigue, cramping, and risk of dehydration. Replacing electrolytes is essential to keep your body hydrated, to enhance performance, restore balance, and help prevent muscle cramps. In addition, electrolytes play an important part of the body processes that are essential for living, such as muscle function, heart function, and nerve reaction. Electrolytes regulate the acidity (pH) in the blood. It is key to make sure electrolytes are in balance to provide restorative health to our bodies and create a sense of balance and wellness.*

Electrolytes are for Everyone

Everyone can benefit from Electrolytes. Electrolytes support a number of vital functions in the body. Electrolytes allow the body to stay hydrated, help the brain and nervous system transmit and receive important signals, help the body's cells generate energy, and allow the muscles to contract and relax.*

The Major Electrolytes are as Follows:

- sodium (Na+)
- potassium (K+)
- chloride (Cl-)
- calcium (Ca2+)
- magnesium (Mg2+)
- bicarbonate (HCO3-)
- phosphate (PO42-)
- sulfate (SO42-)

Specific Electrolyte Imbalances 
                                                                                                
Each electrolyte has a special function in the body, although if one electrolyte is out of balance, the concentrations and actions of other electrolytes are often affected. The serum concentration of sodium, potassium, and chloride can be measured in a simple blood test. Sodium, chloride, potassium, and calcium concentrations can also be determined from a urine sample. A urine test helps show how well the kidneys are functioning. Electrolyte imbalances can be found in athletes, dancers and people who work out a lot or are under heavy stress and demands. Electrolyte imbalances are very common among the seriously ill and the elderly. Kidney (renal) failure is the most common cause of electrolyte imbalances*

Electrolyte Functions       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Sodium (NA+) is the major positive ion in fluid outside of cells (extracellular) and when combined with chloride the resulting substance is table salt. Some functions of sodium include the regulation of the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual’s cells, which plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals. Too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction and extremes in the blood sodium levels.*

Potassium (K+) is the major positive ion found inside of cells. Some of the functions of K+ are the regulation of heartbeat and muscle function. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Any seriously abnormal increase or decrease in K+ can profoundly affect the nervous system and increase change of irregular heartbeats.*

Chloride (CI-) is the major anion (negatively charged ion). CI- is found in the fluid outside of the cells and in the blood. The balance of chloride ion (CI-) is closely regulated by the body. Seawater has almost the same concentration of chloride ion as human body fluids. CI- plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.*

Calcium (Ca2+) is needed to build and maintain bones. It also plays a role in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.*

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral that is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Mg supports heart and nerve function. Mg is essential in the formation of bones and teeth and in converting blood sugar into energy.*

Chloride (CI-) is the major anion (negatively charged ion). CI- is found in the fluid outside of the cells and in the blood. The balance of chloride ion (CI-) is closely regulated by the body. Seawater has almost the same concentration of chloride ion as human body fluids. CI- plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.*

Bicarbonate (HCO3-) is an ion that acts as a buffer to maintain the normal levels of acidity (pH) in blood and other fluids in the body. Bicarbonate levels are measured to monitor the acidity of the blood and body fluids. The acidity is affected by foods or medications that we ingest and the function of the kidneys and lungs.*

Phosphate (PO42-) helps control the acidity level (pH) of the blood. Phosphate also causes calcium to be deposited in bones.*

Sulfate (SO42-) is a compound found in nature. It is the salts of sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, ammonium, and potassium. Sulfates are not only found in minerals, but also in water, soil, rocks, plants and food.*

Special Note

Your cells are sodium chloride on the outside and potassium on the inside. This causes an imbalance, swelling, sodium and heart issues when you consume table salt which is only sodium chloride. Real complete salt contains 84 minerals and table salt two. This is the issue. Your body requires all 84 minerals which are very healthy and like medicine to your body.  Whereas, table salt, being only sodium chloride, is incomplete causing the imbalances and sodium issue doctors and people complain about and is not proper for you, real complete salt is great for you.*

Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan Sea or Pink Salt are two complete salts with all 84 minerals which your body loves. These complete salts do not cause the imbalances or swelling and is very healthy for your heart. When you use it, you don’t need much because of its completeness, so a little goes a long way and has much more flavor. It is also a great source for your electrolytes plus all other minerals. So also don’t be afraid to take electrolytes because it has sodium content, it is complete, in perfect balance and proper for you.*

Low Electrolytes May Result In:*

- Weakness                    
- Muscle Spasms                 
- Blood pressure changes                 
- Nervous system disorders

Electrolyte Loss May Occur From:*

- Illness
- Flu
- Traveling
- Food poisoning
- Vomiting
- Diarrhea
- Severe burns
- Sweating
- Dehydration
- Caffeine
- Alcohol
- Heat*

Use Electrolytes Anytime:*

- To prepare for a run or hike 
- To boost your performance
- To enhance endurance
- To prevent muscle cramps
- To support recovery after a workout
- To hydrate cells
- During your workout
- Restore balance *

Ionic Trace Minerals   

In order to absorb the electrolytes fully, they are best taken along with ionic trace minerals. In fact, it is necessary for the body to break these macro minerals (electrolytes) down into smaller constituents in order for them to be absorbed. Because ionic minerals are charged, the body has to employ less energy in order to absorb these minerals and the electrolytes they are transporting. The body assists in this process by further charging ions during the course of the digestive process. Because of this charge, ionic minerals and electrolytes are easily taken in to the cells lining the intestinal tract, whereby they may be readily employed in the many physiologic activities of the body. Thereby, replenishing, hydrating and restoring the body’s health, relaxing muscles and generating great energy.*

List of Macro and Micro Minerals

Macro minerals (electrolytes) are present at larger levels in the animal body or required in larger amounts in the diet. Macro minerals include calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.*

Microminerals are often referred to as trace minerals, meaning they are present at low levels in the body or required in smaller amounts in the animals diet. Micro minerals include chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.*

Supplements

Ideally, electrolytes and minerals should come from eating a raw food diet. However, even eating a raw food diet isn’t enough since researchers have proven that soils have been depleted of minerals. Therefore, if it’s not in the soil, it’s not in the food. Here’s where electrolytes with ionic trace minerals supplements comes in–taking one type of these supplements every day ensures you’re getting a full spectrum of electrolytes and ionic trace minerals, which are the same kind of bioavailable electrolytes and ionic trace minerals that are found in foods!*

They are the catalysts for all the vitamins and other nutrients your body uses for developing and maintaining good health. These supplements capture the perfect balance of electrolytes and trace minerals your body needs. Using a supplement every day may help maintain healthy energy levels in your body by providing your body's entire electrical system the electrolytes and minerals it needs to function properly.*

The Great Salt Lake

A good electrolytes and minerals supplement isn't actually something that is made. It's an amazing complex of all major electrolytes and over 72 ionic trace minerals that has been made by Mother Nature. For thousands of years, every sprouting seed and towering tree has helped dissolve minerals, raising them from deep within the soil to the surface, where they are easily washed away. But they don't just wash away. They are carried in the rivers and streams into oceans and seas like the Great Salt Lake (GSL) in Utah, USA. There are good supplements made from the sea but the GSL is unique because it has no outlets and is considered an inland sea. Therefore, the GSL is rich in a captured composite of all the major electrolytes and ionic trace minerals that have been deposited there over these thousands of years and so is one of the best sources of electrolytes and ionic trace minerals.*

When purchasing your electrolytes look for a high quality electrolyte supplement with ionic trace minerals at your favorite health food store and follow the directions of your healthcare provider. You can also check out the supplements we use at my clinic for adults http://www.drbo.com/energy-plus and  http://www.drbo.com/mineral-delight and for children http://www.drbo.com/kids-minerals-and-electrolytes and http://www.drbo.com/kids-mineral-tonic. All of these products from my clinic are from the Great Salt Lake.*

Summary               
                                                                                                                                     
So to be your best and to breeze through the summer fun, take extra electrolytes with ionic trace minerals to handle all of your many roles, so you too can have an enjoyable summer.* Have a great one!

To Your Health and a Wonderful Summer,

Dr. Bo


About the Author:

Dr. Bo Wagner holds a Doctor of Natural Medicine, a Doctor of Naturopathy, a Ph.D. & Diplomate in Clinical Nutrition, is Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, a Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine and a former Dean of Internal Wellness & Professor of Functional Medicine and currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Natural Medicine. Visit: www.drbo.com for more information and resources, and connect with Dr. Bo on Facebook and Twitter.

*These statements in this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your physician if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition before beginning supplementation. Information contained in this bulletin is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician.


References

Sources and references for this article include:
Clayman C. (1989). The American Medical Association's Encyclopedia of Medicine. New York, Random House.
Dox, I., Melloni, J., Eisner, G. (1993). Melloni's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Pearl River, NY, Parthenon.
Griffith, H. (1988). Complete Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements. Tucson, AZ, Fisher Books.
Juo, P. (1996). Concise Dictionary of Biomedicine and Molecular Biology. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press.                                                                                                                                                                Horne, M., Swearingen, P. (1993) Pocket Guide to Fluids, Electrolytes, and Acid Base Balance. St. Louis, Mosby.
Schauss, A. (1995) Minerals and Human Health: The Rationale for Optimal and Balanced Trace Element Levels. Tacoma, WA, AIBR.
Fairweather-Tait SJ, Teucher B. Iron and calcium bioavailability of fortified foods and dietary supplements. Nutr Rev 2002 Nov;60(11):360-7  

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