What is an electrolyte anyway?
– Dehydrated in Drinkwater, BC
My dear friend Dehydrated,
Thanks for asking such a great question. To start, let’s talk a little about electricity.
Electricity is the presence and flow of an electric charge. How we obtain electricity for our bodies is a far contrast to how we access it in our homes. It’s not as if we can plug ourselves into the wall overnight to charge for the following day. Instead, the electricity within our bodies begins with mineral salts. These salts bear the electrical energy that is critical for many internal operations, including muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, and blood pressure regulation.
Any fluid that conducts electricity, is accepted as an electrolyte solution. How we create an electrolyte solution, is by simply diffusing mineral salts in liquid. As the salt breaks apart within the liquid, positive and negative ions are created, which produce an electrically-conductive solution. The salt components within that solution are referred to as electrolytes.
Your body is always striving to moderate and control your fluid balance by regulating the amount of salts within your system. If you consume too much sodium, whether through diet or sport drinks, your kidneys have a difficult time drawing excess water from your bloodstream and the result is the retention of water. This can lead to swelling of the hands, feet, legs, and cheeks, hindering your performance. Alternatively, too little sodium can lead to muscle aches and cramps, headache, confusion, fatigue, dizziness and joint pain.
Here at Refresh we are able to offer a lower sodium drink mix by employing an effective mineral known as magnesium citrate. This compound is essential for many of the mechanisms within your body, including converting blood sugar into energy, maintaining blood pressure and aiding in a healthy heart. Magnesium also plays a part in protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
In addition to magnesium citrate, we also include potassium chloride in our electrolyte formulas. Potassium works together with sodium on a cellular level. Sodium is found in the plasma outside of a cell, while potassium is mainly found within a cell. They work in tandem to create the electrical pump that keeps your electrolytes in check.
Dear friend, even though you may be drinking a lot of water, without the presence of mineral salts in your diet, many functions within your body depend on the electrical charge that they provide. Their function is nearly infinite and not limited to fluid control during athletic performance. They also conduct electrical charges needed for muscle contractions, body temperature, heartbeat, digestion, attention, and respiratory rate – just to name a few. They are essential for normal everyday bodily functions, and should not be neglected. Dear friend, sometimes plain water just doesn’t cut it.