Electrolytes and certain nutrients are of vital importance for our bodies. Electrolytes are responsible for stimulating nerves throughout the body and balancing the fluid levels, and when they are imbalanced, it can result in numerous conditions and can even be fatal!
Here are the most important roles of the primary ions of electrolytes:
Calcium – aids muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting and formation, cell division, and keeps your teeth and bones strong;
Sodium – maintains the fluid balance in the body, aids nerve signaling and helps muscles contract;
Chloride – responsible for keeping the balance of fluids;
Potassium – regulates blood pressure, heart contractions and muscle contractions;
Magnesium – aids muscle contractions, heart rhythm, bone strength, nerve function, reduces anxiety, improves digestion and keeps a balances protein.
How do electrolytes work and what causes the imbalance?
Electrolytes are found in all bodily fluids such as sweat, urine and blood. They have an electrical charge that is separated to positive and negative ions when dissolved in water. Depending on the oppositely charged ions, nerves signal other nerves inside and outside the cells through chemical reactions.
There are many factors for electrolyte imbalance, and here are some of them:
- Endocrine disorders;
- Hormonal imbalance;
- Antibiotics (over-the-counter drugs, diuretics, corticosteroid hormones);
- Some medications (cancer, heart disease and hormonal drugs);
- Kidney damage or disease;
- Malabsorption caused by digestive or intestinal problems;
- Unhealthy diet;
- Being sick.
The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are fever, insomnia, constant thirst, anxiety, muscle aches and spasms, changes in weight and blood pressure, pain in the joints, numbness and fatigue.