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Why Electrolytes are Important

Apr 7, 2010

Many people do not fully understand the importance of electrolytes. The severe consequences that can result from an imbalance of electrolytes only confirms how vital they are to our bodies. Below you will find out what electrolytes are, their importance, and how to replenish them. 

What is an Electrolyte?

Electrolytes are salts that become charged molecules, called ions, when they are dissolved in a liquid. Their electrical charges and ability to conduct electricity helps the body to send electrical signals from one cell to another. The different types of electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, sulfate, magnesium and phosphate.

Electrolytes are Essential

Electrolytes maintain the electric voltage throughout your cells so that signals can pass easily. Several bodily functions are dependent on this electrical communication that electrolytes help carry. They include regulating nerve and muscle function, acidity levels and fluid levels. An imbalance of electrolytes have dire consequences. For example, bicarbonate is an electrolyte that is responsible for regulating muscles like the heart. Insufficient levels of bicarbonate would result in irregular heart beats, which may be fatal. 

Maintaining an Electrolyte Balance

The balance of electrolytes in your body can be changed easily by sweating, vomiting and diarrhea. That is why it is important to replenish them. Electrolytes are found in a well-balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and fruit. People who exercise regularly should replace their electrolytes by drinking sports drinks that are fortified with potassium and sodium.

Electrolytes and their importance to the human body is undeniable. The body functions and systems they support are vitally extensive. It is difficult for our bodies to survive without them. But with better knowledge and understanding, we can learn to easily replace them.

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