Do you need to replace electrolytes? A doctor weighs inDave Smith
As if the running water was not good enough for our bodies, now many of us try to take the water to the next level by adding electrolytes. But do you really need those extra electrolytes? Let’s go deeper into that.
The term “electrolyte” refers to a class of minerals with which you are probably familiar: sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate: they all carry an electric charge and affect the pH balance of the fluids in your body, which makes them electrolytes They perform critically important functions. They are involved in almost everything your body does, especially to ensure that your muscles and nerves function properly. Your life depends on them. So, accumulating additional electrolytes makes sense, right?
In most of the cases, no. He gets all the electrolytes he needs from food. They are not only additional electrolytes Usually unnecessary, in cases of high doses, they could even be harmful. Our bodies are tuned to get rid of the electrolytes that your body does not need (yes, that means you are probably only urinating the electrolytes you just drank), but too much can overwhelm your body’s abilities. For example, too much sodium could raise blood pressure. Too much potassium could cause heart rhythm problems. The risk is small, since our bodies are well-oiled machines to deal with the potentially harmful things we throw at it. But it is still a waste of money, except in very few cases.
Let’s exercise, one of my favorite subjects. Electrolyte-enhanced waters are often aimed at physical fitness fans (I can use that term since I am one). The truth is that the overwhelming majority of people only need running water. Even if you are soaked after your 30-minute workout, water is your favorite beverage. With a good sweat, your body loses mainly water. It may have a salty taste, but that is because the water has evaporated, leaving a layer of salt on the skin.
Here are a couple of exceptions when it comes to exercising. In these situations, electrolytic water is a good idea.
When you exercise high intensity for more than 45 to 60 minutes, such as running, your body loses many electrolytes. We are talking about a level of exercise in which it is difficult to speak more than a few words without pausing to breathe. Opt for electrolytic waters without sugar. It is not necessary to drink the calories you just burned.
If you wear a heavy sweater during exercise and have a particularly salty sweat, electrolytes are for you. How do you know? Salty sweaters may notice salt stains on your clothes.
On another favorite topic: weight loss. Specifically, I am talking about low carb diets that put you in a state of fat burning called ketosis. Does the ketogenic diet sound familiar? When you are in ketosis, your body loses water but also electrolytes from the beginning, especially sodium. This can contribute to that “keto flu” feeling that some people feel the first few days. Others may even experience muscle cramps, especially in the legs. In this case, additional electrolytes can help (without sugar, of course). You probably only need them temporarily. Drink plain water again after a few days and see how it feels. Remember, water is one of the best weight loss tools you have.
Another exception is vomiting and diarrhea. What comes out of you is rich in electrolytes. In this case, running water may not be your best option. But remember, although you want to replenish electrolytes, you don’t necessarily need the extra sugar found in some waters. Opt for one without added sugar unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
What happens after one night of being served? Hangover bars are popping up everywhere, offering you to inject electrolyte solutions, so they must be in something, right? The real benefit here again is … old water. One reason why you feel so bad is dehydration. Rehydrate is the key. But I understand: Water doesn’t always feel so good when you have a stomach upset for a party night. If the taste of electrolytes helps you rehydrate, do what you need to do.
Finally, I feel compelled to make a quick mention of the popular alkaline waters (also known as a bunch of hooey). What you drink, or eat, will not increase or decrease the pH levels in your body. It just won’t happen. That is because your body controls your pH levels very closely. (Fortunately!) Our body does not tolerate even a very small change in pH and will do everything possible to correct it. In other words, minerals (many of which are electrolytes) that they put in the water to alkalize it are just an expensive way to alkalize your urine for no reason.
Electrolytic waters may sound attractive, but they offer no benefit to the vast majority of us most of the time. Stay with water and drink lots of water.
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