Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electrical charges through our body.
They include substances like sodium, magnesium and potassium, and play a key role in cell regeneration, electrical signals, contracting muscles, and moving water and fluids through the body.
Hormones control the amount and balance of electrolytes in the body, and it is a delicate balance. But the body is designed to keep a healthy balance through triggers such as thirst – telling us we need to drink.
We lose electrolytes through sweat and urine, and can experience rapid excretion when we are ill.
The results can include dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, fainting, general malaise and even nausea.
It is important to replace lost electrolytes – but it’s also important to get the balance right. Too much sodium in the blood and not enough water make a person very ill, but too much water can dilute sodium and also be dangerous.
Many people choose to take electrolyte drinks and supplements during sports and illness. While these can assist, they usually contain high amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients. There are plenty of natural alternatives available including coconut water, or home-made electrolyte drink recipes which you can find with a quick google search. Most importantly, always aim to drink around two litres per day, and more when sweating. Keep fluids up during physical activity and hot weather and snack on mineral rich foods like bananas to keep energy levels up.