Lab Notes: Electrolyte Replacement and Electrolyte Supplements for Hydration
Electrolyte replacement is crucial for athletes and other individuals who often experience the symptoms of dehydration. Electrolyte supplements replace essential minerals that you can’t get through regular hydration with water, ensuring optimal body functioning.
This article provides a detailed overview of electrolyte replacement and the importance of electrolyte supplements for hydration.
What are electrolytes? What do electrolytes do?
Before discussing the value and importance of electrolyte replacement, we must understand what electrolytes are and what they do for your body. Electrolytes are essential minerals in your blood, ensuring optimal body functionality during periods of intense exertion, such as during exercises and sports.
Essentially, your body releases electrolytes when you sweat, whether that’s because of exercise, sports, long walks, heat, or any other reason. If you’ve ever tasted your sweat, as most people probably have, you know that it tastes salty. That’s because your sweat contains sodium, one of the primary electrolytes your body loses.
Besides sodium, other essential electrolytes are calcium, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, and chloride.
What is an electrolyte imbalance? What are the symptoms of low electrolytes?
An electrolyte imbalance, also known as an electrolyte disorder, is a condition wherein the level of electrolytes in your body is either excessively high or excessively low. Yes, having excess electrolytes is just as bad as having low electrolytes. But most people suffer from the symptoms of low electrolytes because it’s easier to lose too much electrolytes due to exertion.
Electrolytes maintain an even balance in your body’s functionality. Without the correct level of electrolytes, your body’s core components and vitals will be compromised, leading to severe problems like coma, cardiac arrest, seizures, etc. However, the severe symptoms of low electrolytes happen at an advanced stage — you’ll notice several lesser symptoms before you get to such a dangerous situation.
Each electrolyte in your body has a specific function. As such, the deficiency of different electrolytes leads to unique symptoms, but they share certain commonalities. The following are some of the most common early symptoms of low electrolytes:
- Heart irregularities
- Hastened heart rate
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal cramps
- Mood swings
- Tingling sensations
How to know if your body needs to replace electrolytes?
You’ll know that your body needs to replace natural electrolytes when observing the early symptoms of low electrolytes, as mentioned above. If you have an electrolyte imbalance, you can’t simply rectify the situation with water — you need electrolyte supplements.
Without optimal electrolyte replacement, the symptoms may worsen until you experience the advanced complications of low electrolytes or electrolyte imbalance, such as coma, cardiac arrest, seizures, etc.
What’s the importance of electrolyte replacement for athletes?
Besides staving off the symptoms of low electrolytes, you must also ensure electrolyte replacement during workouts and exercise to maintain plasma volume. Electrolyte supplements help your body maintain optimal plasma levels better than water, which, in turn, helps your body perform at its maximum capacity and avoid the symptoms of dehydration.
Endurance athletes and sportspersons often suffer from weak performance due to dehydration. Your performance weakens significantly with as little as 2% dehydration according to your body weight. Athletes with approximately 5% dehydration reduce their performance by over 30%. As such, constant electrolyte replacement is crucial for athletes.
You must also ensure constant electrolyte replacement to prevent hyponatremia, a condition when excessive fluid accumulation in your body lowers your sodium levels significantly. Athletes often suffer from hyponatremia if they rely on water instead of electrolyte supplements for hydration, which can prove dangerous in the long run.
What is the best electrolyte supplement for hydration?
Electrolyte supplements like RecoverORS can aid in your dehydration treatment to help you combat hyponatremia because they contain the optimal proportion of essential minerals. Consuming RecoverORS can also minimize the risk of muscle fatigue and cramping, helping you perform at your optimum capacity.
RecoverORS contains the following essential electrolytes — Dextrose, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, and Ascorbic Acid. Furthermore, the electrolytes are present in the optimal proportion to supplement your dehydration treatments. RecoverORS is prepared by clinicians in FDA-inspected facilities, and it’s widely hailed as the #1 recommended brand by doctors.
What is the best way to replenish your electrolytes?
RecoverORS electrolyte supplements can be consumed in various forms before, during, and after your exercises or sporting events. You have to dissolve one packet of RecoverORS electrolyte powder into a cup of water, stir appropriately, and consume around 8 servings per day. While 8 servings is the recommended amount for athletes, the specific amount may depend on your level of exertion.
Athletes often measure their loss of electrolytes, and subsequent electrolyte replacement, based on how much they’re sweating. However, each individual’s sweat rate and sodium composition are unique and variable, making external observation an insufficient tool for electrolyte measurement.
Besides each individual’s unique sweat rates and sweat composition, the loss of electrolytes also depends on environmental factors. You may lose more electrolytes during hot summers than in cooler weather. The presence of humidity prevents evaporation, which, in turn, makes your body lose even more sweat and electrolytes. Due to these variables, athletes should consume a recommended quantity of electrolyte supplements to ensure optimal performance.
RecoverORS is one of the best alternatives to energy drinks and sports drinks, widely considered the #1 recommend electrolyte supplement by pharmacists. If you lead an active lifestyle with intensive workouts or exercises, it’s worth considering RecoverORS as your partners in electrolyte supplementation.