Electrolytes: Balance Your Body’s Chemistry
Water, water, water; you’re always hearing how vital water is to your body. It is an essential part of nutrition and well being, and it is extremely important to drink water when exercising. Electrolytes are also very important for fundamental bodily functions and must be kept in balance within the amount of water in your body. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine and body fluids. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps your body’s chemistry, muscle actions and other processes. They are also important to heart health. Sodium, calcium and potassium are just a few of the important electrolytes you need for basic functions.
- Your body needs sodium to function properly. It helps with muscle and nerve function. Your kidneys control how much sodium is in your body. If you have excess sodium and your kidneys cannot get rid of it properly, build up can occur and can lead to high blood pressure.
- Calcium is stored in your bones and teeth and helps with muscle function and blood vessel contraction and expansion. It also helps secrete hormones and enzymes and in sending messages through the nervous system. People need plenty of calcium to help prevent osteoporosis.
- Potassium is important for nerves and muscles to communicate with each other. It also helps the body move nutrients in and out of cells. A diet rich in potassium can help offset the harmful effects that too much sodium has on blood pressure.
Information taken from: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html
The amount of electrolytes in your system is related to the amount of water in your body. Factors that can cause imbalances in electrolytes are: dehydration, over-hydration, medications, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and kidney problems. Remember, for your overall physical and heart health, you need a delicate balance of electrolytes to work properly and efficiently. Please talk with your doctor about your electrolytes and how much fluid or water you should be drinking throughout your day, especially when exercising.
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