Thread: electrolytes
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kathy13118 View Post
Can you clarify 'electrolytes'? I thought that meant sodium and potassium. When I google it, I get 'The electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate.'

I guess you get these in various foods in your diet. Maybe you are referring to the sports drinks that say they replenish electrolytes. Each drink has differing amounts, I guess, and I'm sure they aren't calorie-free. But if you are getting these things in your diet, do you need them from a drink?

Hi Kathy,
I'll put my scientist hat on here...
The electrolytes we are concerned about as biological creatures are sodium (Na+) and Potassium (K+). They have lots of roles in our bodies from helping with nervous system transmissions, to making sure the right stuff gets into and out of our cells. The plus (+) means that by themselves they are positively charged (which is what allows them to do their job) but cannot exist alone so they need a negatively charged partner. Thus Chlorine (Cl-) and Phosphate (PO4-) come alone for the ride. There are other counter ions that can work, nitrate, acetate, citrate etc. and you sometimes see in mineral formulations, but these are the cheapest to purify from Mother Nature. Chlorine has a few minor jobs in the body. But phosphate is a biggie, so neither go to waste.

OK, lesson over... and no exam to follow
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