Electrolytes 101: Definitions, Importance, Types, & Benefits

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We are electrical beings. Your body uses electricity to enervate your heart, command your lungs to breathe, and power your thoughts and emotions. Electrolytes are tiny, charged mineral particles that your body uses to conduct electrical charges, which power vital, life-giving bodily functions like heartbeats and hydration. Electrolytes are generally discussed in the context of hydration, which is essential for health, safety, and performance. But what are electrolytes? Let’s take a deeper look at these charged minerals and the role they play in your body. 

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes live up to their name; these tiny mineral particles carry a natural electrical charge if dissolved in water…like your bloodstream. A negative or positive electrical charge develops when electrons are given or removed from minerals like sodium or magnesium, creating an electrolyte. These positively and negatively charged bits of mineral fill your whole body and are found in your blood, sweat, and urine. 

What do Electrolytes Do?

You have electrolytes in almost all of your fluids and cells, where they perform many vital, life-giving functions, including:

  1. Regulating chemical reactions, such as muscle contractions.
  2. Keeping the right balance of fluid inside and outside your cells.
  3. Keeping your body hydrated is vital for safety and peak athletic performance.
  4. Supports the proper pH balance in your body.
  5. Your brain and nervous system use electrolytes to generate nervous impulses and communicate with the whole body. 

Why Do You Need Electrolytes?

Your body needs the right balance of electrolytes to stay alive and perform its best.  Since electrolytes are dissolved in your fluids, you lose them by sweating. A lack of electrolytes can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and confusion. Severe electrolyte imbalance can lead to dehydration and damage your muscles and organs. Regular intake of balanced electrolytes during exercise and activity outside is essential for health. 

How To Get Electrolytes

We typically get electrolytes through our food and fluids. In modern times, we also have electrolyte supplements, which give us quick access to concentrated sources of these vital nutrients. 

1. Food Sources of Electrolytes

  • Bananas

This classic fruit is many people’s first introduction to electrolytes. In addition to solid amounts of phosphorus and magnesium, bananas are a rich source of potassium, boasting almost 400 mg of this vital electrolyte.

  • Nuts

Falling under the functional food category, nuts are also considered superfoods and just plain delicious. Rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein, nuts also offer hearty doses of essential electrolyte minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. 

  • Potatoes

    If you don’t like bananas, consider reaching for the humble, nutritious, often maligned potato. Not just for muscles, potassium helps keep your kidneys healthy with its fluid-balancing properties.

  • Broccoli

There are many reasons to eat broccoli often, perhaps covered in cheese. Broccoli supports healthy bones, muscles (like your heart), and blood because it is high in calcium.

2. Liquid Sources of Electrolytes

Water is essential for hydration and electrolyte balance. However, it doesn’t naturally contain electrolytes, so it’s essential to find these crucial minerals from other sources like:

  • Coconut water contains chloride, potassium, and sodium, making it very hydrating.

  • Cow’s milk has sodium, potassium, and calcium. Alternative milks such as rice, coconut, hemp, and soy contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium minerals.

3. Supplement Sources of Electrolytes

Supplementation can be as simple as a capsule of table salt or a fully balanced blend of electrolytes in a high-payload gummy. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a combination of sodium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, zinc, and glucose. It’s essential to look for the right ratios of minerals and glucose to hydrate your body effectively rather than upset your stomach.

Types of Electrolytes

Here are some of the essential electrolytes your body uses.

  1. Sodium: Considered one of the most important electrolytes, sodium keeps the right amount of fluid inside and outside your cells while helping them take in nutrients. A lack of sodium leads to symptoms like irritability, disorientation, poor reflexes, nausea, vomiting, and finally can lead to a seizure or coma.  

  2. Magnesium: Working with other minerals like calcium, magnesium helps our muscles contract and supports our cells in making energy. Muscle weakness is the main symptom of magnesium deficiency, with severe cases affecting the heart.

  3. Potassium: Working with other electrolytes, potassium is crucial to muscle function, especially the heart. Sodium, in particular, works with potassium, entering cells when potassium leaves. Lack of potassium can lead to weak muscles, feeling dizzy, or in severe cases, muscle tissues will break down.

  4. Chloride: Second only to sodium in abundance, chloride plays a key role in keeping the proper fluid balance between your cells and the rest of your body. Chloride also helps regulate your body’s internal pH balance. Too little chloride can lead to diarrhea and damage your pancreas and kidneys.

  5. Glucose: Sugar (glucose) not only helps your body take in sodium (and water along with it), but it does so at an optimal ratio of 1:1. Acting in the small intestine, glucose plays a key role in quick, effective hydration. 

HydraFuel Electrolyte Gummies from Seattle Gummy (SGC)

Beat fatigue and finish strong with fast-acting HydraFuel Electrolyte + Fuel gummies from SGC. You’ll hydrate quickly, fill up your energy tank, and hit the ground running. 

These tasty gummies are packed with bio-available and optimally balanced electrolytes. Featuring the complete recommended blend of electrolytes from WHO, the HydraFuel gummy is the first pre and during workout electrolyte gummy that includes fast energy for your muscles! 

Glucose quickly breaks down into easy-access fuel for your working muscles, helping you push through any walls and keep your focus. But it’s more than fuel; glucose helps your body absorb sodium, providing fast hydration and steady endurance. 

Try the HydraFuel Electrolyte + Fuel gummy athletes are raving about and experience PERFORMANCE GUMMIES from SGC.