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What are electrolytes?

“Electrolyte” is the umbrella term for particles that carry a positive or negative electric charge. In nutrition, the term refers to essential minerals found in your blood, sweat and urine.

Electrolytes found in your body include:

  • Sodium

  • Potassium

  • Chloride

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Phosphate

  • Bicarbonate

These electrolytes are required for numerous bodily processes including proper nerve and muscle function, muscular performance, maintaining PH balance, keeping you hydrated and improving cognition.

Electrolyte loss through sweat:

When you sweat you lose both water and electrolytes, especially sodium and chloride.

Prolonged periods of sweating particularly during sport/activity and in the heat can lead to significant electrolyte loss.

After exercise and lots of sweating if you just rehydrate yourself with only water then you aren't replenishing the electrolytes you lost and this will lead to an electrolyte imbalance.

Effects of electrolyte imbalance:

Electrolyte imbalances often occur due to loss of sweat after physical activity, this can then lead to dehydration.

This can then lead to:

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • Reduced muscular performance

  • Reduced sleep quality

  • Reduced cognition

So ensure you rehydrate after sweating with both water and electrolytes for maximal recovery and rehydration. Hydration drinks are there for a reason.

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