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Electrolyte Imbalances

Electrolyte Imbalances

Electrolyte Imbalances

Electrolyte imbalances is an interruption of the balance of minerals in the body, this can be caused by many factors including dehydration, illness, dietary deficiencies and certain medications.

Your body uses these minerals in a lot of different ways and when you have low electrolytes you may notice symptoms such as feeling lethargic, confused, swelling, muscle spasms, reduced nerve function, dizziness, insomnia, digestive problems, and even changes to your heartbeat. In more serious cases bone and muscle weakness and even coma in the most extreme level. If you are showing any of these symptoms you may need to look at consuming a replacement supplement.


Imbalance Causes

During intense exercise the rate of sweat increases and because the mineral concentration in sweat is different to that of the plasma this can quickly upset the fluid and mineral balance in the body through loss of this sweat.

During this increased sweat loss you are likely to deplete chloride and sodium to a greater degree than other minerals, including potassium and magnesium.

Intense exercise is not the only cause of this electrolyte imbalance, deficiencies typically occur with heavy sweating, frequent diarrhoea, frequent vomiting, dieting, using diuretics and even simply not replacing fluids adequately.


Effects of Imbalance on Athletic and Physical Performance

When an athlete loses a single litre of sweat this can easily equate to a loss of 3 grams of sodium chloride, so an athlete losing 2.5 litres of sweat per hour will lose close to 15 grams of sodium in just 2 hours. This easily exceeds the recommended daily sodium intake and athletes are encouraged to consume food and drinks containing sodium especially in hot or humid conditions.

It is widely discussed that low sodium levels increases the severity and frequency of cramping. Though a less known problem is sodium’s effect on maintaining blood volume, an imbalance in this electrolyte can greatly hinder athletic performance by restricting the amount of blood available to carry nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.

As potassium is widely found in fresh fruits and vegetables and the relatively small amount lost in sweat during exercise, athletic performance is not impacted in well-nourished individuals.

Potassium is established to be critical for heart and skeletal and can be depleted during chronic diarrhoea and vomiting or laxative abuse, so if this is the case potassium supplements may be required. SOS has a small amount of potassium in its formula as potassium also has the ability to regulate sodium absorption.

With the importance of magnesium in the muscle function process, an imbalance could cause an athlete to underachieve physically and athletically, this is especially the case when athletes are training in hot and humid environments as they could lose a relatively large amount of magnesium by sweating. Just a small amount of magnesium deficiency could exacerbate the effects on the body during intense physical activity, both during the time of activity and the recovery process.


Choose an Electrolyte Replacement Product that Works

A good strategy to maintain electrolyte balance is to consume a well balanced diet. But sometimes this will not be enough, such us times of sickness or during increased activity so a supplement is needed. If you’re battling an imbalance, replacement of these minerals is vital to allow your body to perform at an optimal level again.

SOS is doctor formulated and can help to quickly restore balance. SOS Rehydrate is low in sugar and the fast acting.

Sources – Advanced Sports Nutrition – Dan Benardot


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