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Everything you need to know about electrolytes

April 19, 2023 3 min read

Everything you need to know about electrolytes

Do you do sport regularly? Then you've probably heard about electrolytes and electrolyte drinks.

These important minerals help regulate fluid balance, nerve and muscle function and energy production. 

Whether you're going to the gym or just need an energy boost, make sure you're getting enough electrolytes!

In this article we explain what electrolytes actually are, what effect they have, why they are so important and how you can recognise a deficiency.


 1. What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that can conduct electrical charge when dissolved in a liquid such as blood. The positively charged particles are called cations. Sodium, for example, belongs to the cations. The negatively charged anions include chloride, for example. Electrolytes in the blood are in an electrolyte balance. 

The distribution of the total body water into the different areas (cell interior, intercellular spaces, ...) via cell membranes is determined by the osmotic pressure: the cell membranes are permeable to water, so that the water distributes itself in such a way that it strives for the same concentration everywhere.

The total body water volume is regulated by excretion or retention (restraint) of electrolytes via the kidneys. This must be constantly adjusted to the demand: water and electrolytes are lost daily through excretion and respiration, while water and electrolytes are supplied through food and drink.

In the human body, the following electrolytes in particular play a decisive role:

1. Potassium

Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system, muscle function and maintenance of the nervous system.

2.  Natrium 

While sodium increases blood pressure, potassium lowers it. This makes the sodium-potassium ratio of your daily diet all the more important.

3. Calcium

Contributes to normal muscle function and normal energy metabolism, among other things. Our Spirulina & Chlorella Complex is a great everyday support containing calcium, potassium, magnesium among other nutrients.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium contributes to electrolyte balance and normal energy metabolism.

5. Chloride

Together with sodium, regulates the flow of substances and water between the cells and is thus important for various transport processes.

6. Phosphorus

Contributes to normal energy metabolism and normal cell membrane function.


 2. What are the effects of electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essential for various metabolic processes. Among other things, they regulate the electrical voltage of the outer membranes. 

The electrolytes are present in different quantities inside and outside the cells. This creates a voltage on the cell membranes that is necessary, among other things, for the transmission of nerve impulses.

In addition, your body needs sufficient electrolytes to control the water balance. This is important because 60% of your body consists of water. Your water balance is therefore the basis for all life processes.

You need electrolytes for the following functions, among others:

  •    Water balance
  •    Acid-base balance
  •    Nerve and muscle function
  •    Protein formation
  •    Hormone release

3. How do you recognise an electrolyte deficiency? 

You train hard and love tough workouts? Then you should pay special attention to your electrolyte balance. When you sweat, your body not only loses water, but also important minerals.  

But besides endurance sports, electrolyte deficiencies can have other different causes, for example due to diseases and disorders in the body.

Disturbances in the electrolyte balance affect the entire body. They mainly affect the nervous system and the musculature.

Electrolyte deficiency manifests itself with the following symptoms:

  •    High blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia
  •    Nausea, constipation, bowel obstruction
  •    Chest pain, cramps, muscle weakness, paralysis
  •    Lethargy, confusion, behavioural changes, headaches, unconsciousness


Make sure you are taking in enough electrolytes 

Electrolytes play a crucial role in regulating fluid balance in our bodies, transmitting nerve impulses and maintaining muscle function. 

When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, which can lead to dehydration and muscle cramps. It is therefore important to replenish electrolytes after exercise or heavy sweating.