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What are Electrolytes?

They are mentioned a lot when we talk about rehydration, so what is an electrolyte and why are they so important?

They are minerals and a component of plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood, plasma also containing water, nutrients, wastes and proteins it represents 55% of the blood. The most common electrolytes are Na+(Sodium), K+(Potassium), Cl-(Chloride), Ca2+(Calcium) and Mg2+(Magnesium) and they are so called because their presence allows the plasma solution to conduct electricity.

They are essential for normal cell metabolism and must be present in the plasma at the right quantities. Any interruptions or the slowing of their delivery to the cells can be a serious situation – see Imbalance.

Your body needs these minerals to regulate hydration, muscle and nerve function, PH levels, blood pressure and other important processes.

When we’re dehydrated, we haven’t just lost fluid; we’ve lost some of these valuable electrolytes contained in that fluid.

What is an Electrolyte - A Closer Look at 3 of the Most Important

Potassium: Potassium is the main intracellular mineral, intracellular meaning found inside cells. It is concentrated at 30 times greater within cells then it is found outside cells. Its main function is water balance, nerve impulse transmission and muscular contractions. It also has the ability to regulate the sodium levels within the body which is important to maintaining it’s balance.

Sodium: Sodium is an essential mineral commonly referred to as salt, it has a critical role as it helps muscles to fire and the brain to work effectively. Sodium is the major extracellular mineral and is involved in body-water balance and acid-base balance, it is found mainly outside cell walls and helps to regulate fluid flow around the body. It also helps maintain blood volume which is an important factor in athletic performance, it is related to the ability to deliver nutrients to cells, to the removal of metabolic by-products from cells, and to help control the rate of sweat in an athlete. Sodium is a key ingredient in sports drinks not only for its essential role in the body but also because it promotes the desire to drink.

Magnesium: Magnesium is responsible for maintaining the electrical potential in nerve and muscle cells. Magnesium is essential for the body’s metabolism and is present in most foods. Involved in more than 300 reactions including which food is synthesized to new products, it also is a critical component in the processes that create muscular energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.


SOS Rehydrate – The Superior  Hydration Formula

It is critically important to maintain healthy levels of electrolytes in the body for many reasons, to help maintain balance sometimes an electrolyte supplement is needed. If you want to excel at sports, or you may need to recover quickly from illness. Regardless of the reason, why not try SOS Rehydrate, with optimum amount of electrolytes, and virtually ZERO calories.

Please view our other information pages to find more details on What is Dehydration, Dehydration Symptoms, Electrolyte Drinks and Imbalance.

Sources – Advanced Sports Nutrition – Dan Benardot, Bodyworks – Paul Strube

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