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Updated: August 20, 2022 @ 8:00 am
Ever notice that sometimes even after drinking a glass of water, you still don’t feel refreshed? That’s because water alone doesn’t contain the essential electrolytes your body needs to function. Electrolytes include potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals conduct electrical currents when dissolved in water, which helps your body perform various functions. While a mineral-rich diet provides electrolytes, sometimes it just isn’t enough. If you are experiencing increased fatigue, headaches, confusion, cramps, or muscle aches, you may need more electrolytes. Some reasons you may need to supplement your hydration routine with a natural electrolyte drink include:
Prevent heat stroke on hot summer days
To improve exercise performance and recovery
To support milk supply for breastfeeding mothers
Rehydrate during illness
Electrolytes replace the minerals lost from sweat, illness, or breastfeeding to replenish your body and help it function optimally. They do so much more than fuel healthy hydration. Adding an electrolyte drink to your daily routine can benefit your health in nine surprising ways.
How do electrolytes increase hydration? Sodium and potassium work together to balance water levels at a cellar level. These ions communicate to your cell how much water to store and how much water to flush out. You feel less thirsty after a natural electrolyte drink because these minerals help absorb and retain the water. Keep sodium and potassium levels balanced. Too much sodium could draw moisture out of cells, leaving you dehydrated.
The nervous system functions when electrical currents travel from cell to cell. These electrical impulses control muscle movements. An influx of sodium provides your brain with the necessary electrical charge to signal action potential, which is what allows cells to communicate with each other. Potassium then neutralizes the cell, allowing it to prepare to send another impulse down the chain. Magnesium supports these impulses by feeding the fatty later between cells which helps cells send effective electrical signals. Without these electrolytes, electrical impulses in your body, like your heartbeat, wouldn’t function properly.
Not only do electrolytes support the heart, but they also support all the muscles in the human body. A deficiency of potassium, calcium, or magnesium may cause muscle cramps or twitches. These ions are essential to muscle contraction. Our nerves send signals from the brain through the spine to muscles using the electrical signals electrolytes provide. When this impulse reaches the muscle, it will signal the muscle to contract. When you chew a bite of food, pick up a book or pet your dog, these electrical signals are causing the movement. Calcium even helps repair muscle damage.
Sodium and magnesium help the mitochondria in your cells convert food into energy. The ions themselves may not contain any calories. Still, they give your cells the electrical signals needed to metabolize stored energy. Boosting hydration with electrolyte drinks won’t give you the same buzz as a cup of coffee, but it will help you avoid that dreaded afternoon slump.
Electrolytes help control your blood sugar levels. When cells create energy in the mitochondria, potassium channels signal insulin production. Supplementing your diet with potassium can help lower blood sugar levels.
Healthy levels of potassium and magnesium also help regulate blood pressure. While sodium is also an electrolyte, diets with too much salt can result in high blood pressure. Potassium balances sodium levels and can lower blood pressure. Too much potassium can also be dangerous as it can lower blood pressure. It’s essential to provide your body with a balanced electrolyte level to stabilize blood pressure.
Nursing mothers spend hours each day feeding their babies. Since the milk they produce is 87% water, it only makes sense they have to drink more water to stay hydrated. Lactation consults confirm that adding a natural electrolyte drink to a nursing mother’s routine can help increase milk supply. Choose a drink without artificial sweeteners or added caffeine, as those ingredients can be dangerous to little ones.
pH is a measurement that determines the acidity level of a liquid. A liquid that is an acid will measure less than 7, neutral liquid at 7, and base, or alkaline, liquid measure above 7. The natural blood pH of the human body is between 7.36 and 7.44. Chloride, in particular, helps maintain normal pH levels in the human body. When pH levels decrease, you may experience fatigue, headache, or low heart rate.
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Magnesium is known to help regulate mood and promote restful sleep. It works with your parasympathetic nervous system to help you relax by regulating melatonin production.
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