…And why are we talking about them in concert with this month’s theme of water? “Electrolyte” is the term for particles that carry a positive or negative electric charge. When we’re talking about nutrition, we’re referring to essential minerals found in your blood, sweat and urine. Once these minerals are dissolved in fluid, they become electrolytes — positive or negative ions used in metabolic processes.
What are the minerals we’re talking about here? They include:
These electrolytes are necessary for lots of bodily processes, including proper nerve and muscle function, maintaining acid-base balance and keeping you hydrated (see? That’s where the water talk comes in!) Water must be kept in the right amounts both inside and outside each cell in your body. Electrolytes, particularly sodium, help maintain fluid balance through osmosis. Osmosis is a process where water moves through the wall of a cell membrane from a dilute solution (more water and fewer electrolytes) toward a more concentrated solution (less water and more electrolytes). This prevents cells from straight up exploding from being too full or shriveling up into a dry husk of their former selves due to dehydration. It’s safe to say, this is pretty important stuff.
Electrolytes are a big reason we tell you never to drink distilled water, or RO (Reverse Osmosis) water that hasn’t been “remineralized”. Those waters are essentially “dead” and will fail to hydrate your cells, or worse, actually lead to dehydration, because they lack the ability to form electrolytes.
As we return to the hot, summer months of the year, we will experience a lot more sweating. With extra sweat, comes the need for added hydration, and sometimes that means additional minerals as well. Even just putting a pinch of real salt (like sea salt) in a big glass of water will help a lot. You can also keep some cell salts on hand for big workouts. We carry some great ones at Lotus of Life Chiropractic, and you’re always welcome to sample a few to see what they’re like. If you’d like to know more about this or other health topics, check out our calendar for the dates and times of our free classes!