Oh, those pesky electrolytes. We hear all about them—and we know we need them—but what do they actually do? Today, we’re breaking down all you need to know about electrolytes, including the role they play in our wellness and how, exactly, to make sure you’re getting enough of them. Read on for a helpful breakdown!
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are vital minerals that help regulate a variety of essential functions throughout the body. They include minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate. When they’re in a fluid environment (like water), these minerals carry an electric charge.
Scientific American puts it this way: “In the world of nutrition, we use the word ‘electrolyte’ more specifically to refer to minerals dissolved in the body’s fluids, creating electrically charged ions. The electrolytes that are the most important in nutrition are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.” So, if we had to sum it up simply: electrolytes are simply minerals that are electric.
What do electrolytes do for our bodies?
So we know they’re electric minerals, but what does this mean exactly? Electrolytes are essential to a properly functioning body. They are the minerals responsible for directing water to the areas in your body that need it most. They also help maintain optimal fluid balance within our cells themselves. When we sweat, it’s electrolytes that do the important job of keeping proper water balances both inside and outside of our cells. This helps us stay hydrated and ensures our body can function well overall. This is essential for healing after a sweaty workout session, a cold or flu, or a medical procedure.
In other words, the answer to the question: Electrolytes serve a number of roles, which, together, help ensure our cells, tissues, and fluids can “communicate,” allowing our bodies to function properly. These roles include:
- Sparking nerve impulses (nerve impulses allow muscles to contract, which, for example keeps your heart beating)
- Balancing the amount of water in our bodies
- Balancing blood acidity and blood pressure
- Helping our bodies build new tissue
How do we lose electrolytes, and how can we replenish them?
When you exercise, you lose a significant amount of vital electrolytes through your sweat—including high concentrations of sodium and chloride, and low concentrations of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Rapidly replenishing these minerals with an electrolyte drink, then, is essential for rapid recovery—as you can’t get these electrolytes from water alone.
Is that why CF(Rehydrate)® contains so much sodium?
That’s exactly right! We often get asked about the levels of sodium in our electrolyte drink, CF(Rehydrate)®. The reason our electrolyte solution contains higher levels of sodium is because it’s meant to help you quickly and effectively replenish all of those important electrolytes you lose through exercise, sweat, and dehydration.
While our electrolyte drink contains a significant amount of sodium to help you replenish electrolytes, what’s just as important as what it does contain is what it doesn’t: Just like all of the medical-grade clinical-nutrition products our team of scientists and nutritionists formulates here at CF Nutrition, CF(Rehydrate)® is free from artificial colors , flavors, and sugars. This makes CF(Rehydrate)® the superior option out there for health-conscious athletes, moms, and everyday on-the-go professionals who want to hydrate wholly, without inundating their bodies with the excess sugar and harmful neon dyes you’ll find in sports drinks.
Overall, the answer to the question is pretty simple: electrolytes help our cells communicate and our body perform at its absolute best. Without electrolytes, your heart wouldn’t beat and you wouldn’t be able to function—making them important heavy-hitters for healthy, happy bodies.
Now that you have a clear answer to the question What do electrolytes do?, be sure to browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips. And don’t forget to fuel yourself and your family with the clean, clinical replenishment and immune support of CF(Rehydrate)® Immunity +.