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I think we all can agree that in any type of weather you can get dehydrated. If you are an athlete that trains outside you know all about having to protect yourself from the elements and clothing can raise your body temperature. When It’s summertime and you are outside for a long period of time you risk dehydration. Staying hydrated in any weather is key. What if i told you that just taking bottled water out with you won’t do much for you? You’re sweating your body isn’t getting enough electrolytes because you are sweating.
What if i told you there is a way for you to be out in the sun and be hydrated at the same time. Think of electrolytes and hydration as being united. Electrolytes are necessary for muscle and nerve function, body-fluid balance, and the functioning of your cardiac and digestive systems.
The four major electrolytes that maintain the body’s fluid balance are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Let’s talk about the four major electrolytes and what they do for our bodies.
• Hypernatremia: Too much salt, not enough water.
• Hyponatremia: Too much water, not enough salt.
Symptoms to be aware of: nausea, lethargy, fluid retention, confusion or sudden change in behavior, muscle cramping, severe muscle weakness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, seizures, chest pain
Recommendations: Drink 3 to 8oz. every 15 to 20 minutes, but drink based on thirst not ahead of thirst to maintain proper fluid balance
Consume 10 to 20 grams (40 to 80 calories) of carbohydrates per hour. Start at lower range and build if you need to during training.
Does your face have a white, grainy, salty residue? Do you notice it on your clothes as well? You are then considered a “salty sweater” and will need to consume a higher amount of salt pre, during, and post workout.
The average amount a person sweats is 50 0mg /lb sweat. Losing one pound in two hours means your sodium losses equal around 2,000mg. If you are a salty sweater, your sodium loss is most likely higher.
Some Picks: CoCo Libre Organic Coconut Water is the only organic coconut water on the market. With no added sugar, this natural hydration delivers electrolytes that balance the body. CoCo Libre ingredients are potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.
Motive Pure is Electrolyte Hydration. It provides nutrients and helps your body absorb water. Just mix with water and drink. Motive Pure is all natural and contains water, citric acid, and electrolytes. It is zero calories and zero sugar.
Sodium is the major positive ion (cation) in fluid outside of cells. The chemical notation for sodium is Na+. When combined with chloride, the resulting substance is table salt. Excess sodium (such as that obtained from dietary sources) is excreted in the urine. Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in the generation of these electrical signals. Therefore, too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels (too much or too little) can be fatal.
- Increased sodium (hypernatremia) in the blood occurs whenever there is excess sodium in relation to water. There are numerous causes of hypernatremia; these may include kidney disease, too little water intake, and loss of water due to diarrhea and/or vomiting.
- A decreased concentration of sodium (hyponatremia) occurs whenever there is a relative increase in the amount of body water relative to sodium. This happens with some diseases of the liver and kidney, in patients with congestive heart failure, in burn victims, and in numerous other conditions.
A Normal blood sodium level is 135 – 145 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 135 – 145 millimoles/liter (mmol/L).
Potassium is the major positive ion (cation) found inside of cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+.The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body is the regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles. A seriously abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and increases the chance of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), which, when extreme, can be fatal.
- Increased potassium is known as hyperkalemia. Potassium is normally excreted by the kidneys, so disorders that decrease the function of the kidneys can result in hyperkalemia. Certain medications may also predispose an individual to hyperkalemia.
- Hypokalemia, or decreased potassium, can arise due to kidney diseases; excessive losses due to heavy sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, eating disorders, certain medications, or other causes.
The normal blood potassium level is 3.5 – 5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 3.5 – 5.0 millimoles/liter (mmol/L).
People are generally aware of the fact that most of the calcium in the human body is found in the skeleton and the teeth (99%), but what may not be as well known, is that the remainder occurs in our bodies as ionized calcium (an electrolyte). As a cation, ionized calcium is called the “second messenger” which means that it reacts to changes in calcium levels inside the cells. It regulates cell function, the heartbeat, and blood clotting.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium is between 1000 and 1300 mg per day which can be supplied by milk and dairy products (our richest sources of readily available calcium), green vegetables such as collard greens, nuts, tinned fish if one eats the bones, and calcium-extracted tofu which is made from soybeans.
Most of the magnesium in the human body is also located in bone, but about 1% of magnesium is found in the fluids outside the cells. Magnesium is regarded as one of the most important cofactors in enzyme reactions, so if our magnesium levels are dangerously low, it can have life-threatening consequences.
The RDA for magnesium varies between 310 and 420 mg per day depending on age and gender. The most important sources of magnesium in the diet are green leafy vegetables, legumes (cooked or canned dry beans, lentils, peas or soybeans) and unprocessed or whole grains and cereals and products made from these grains such as wholewheat breads and crackers, wholegrain breakfast cereals, unsifted flour, and brown rice.
Electrolytes serve various purposes, such as helping to conduct electrical impulses along cell membranes in neurons and muscles, stabilizing enzyme structures, and releasing hormones from endocrine glands. The ions in plasma also contribute to the osmotic balance that controls the movement of water between cells and their environment. Imbalances of these ions can result in various problems in the body, and their concentrations are tightly regulated. Aldosterone and angiotensin II control the exchange of sodium and potassium between the renal filtrate and the renal collecting tubule. Calcium and phosphate are regulated by PTH, calcitriol, and calcitonin.