Thirsty? There are many ways to quench your thirst, the most obvious of which is by drinking water. But there’s a type of water that can do more than replace water in your body. Instead, it “re-energizes” your body faster and more effectively.
Unless you are living under a rock (in which case, stay cool!), you have most likely heard of electrolyte water. The term is commonly used in marketing to create an image of a power-enhancing drink. Sports and sports-themed beverage brands use it all the time. But what exactly is electrolyte water? It is good for you?
The Truth About Water
Water makes up about 75% of an adult’s body volume. You drink water not just to quench your thirst, but more importantly, you need water to survive.
Almost every system in your body needs water to function properly and stay healthy. It is essential to keep proper bodily functions, including:
- carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
- regulating body temperature
- protecting body organs and tissues
- lubricating joints hydrating tissues in the eyes, mouth, and nose
- flushing out waste products
But here is what you probably do not know: the water in your body is not pure. It is, in fact, a mix of water, cells, glucose, proteins, electrolytes, and other substances. Electrolytes play a major role in the movement of water within the body.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals in the body with an electric charge. They are responsible for the movement and distribution of water throughout the body as they move in and out of cells.
When electrolytes are taken in from the food you eat and the fluids you drink, their electric charge helps to facilitate different body functions, such as moving minerals and nutrients into the cells; moving wastes from the cells; rebuilding damaged tissues; regulating the functions of the heart, brain, muscles, and nerves; and balancing the body’s water and pH levels.
7 Essential Electrolytes
These 7 essential minerals help the body function well. Potassium, for instance, helps in the normal functioning of all cells. It ensures the proper operation of muscles and nerves, regulates heart rate, and helps synthesize protein and carbohydrates.
Magnesium, another essential electrolyte, supports healthy blood sugar levels, promotes heart health, and boosts anti-inflammatory benefits. Calcium promotes healthy bones and teeth and plays a major role in blood clotting.
Aside from these benefits, electrolytes are more commonly associated with rehydration.
Too Little Water and Electrolytes?
Water leaves the body when you breathe, sweat, urinate, and defecate. Other undesirable conditions also lead to water loss. These conditions include vomiting, diarrhea, and heatstroke. While you can always drink water to keep yourself hydrated, it is sometimes advisable to replace fluids with a drink that has electrolytes to recover water, electrolytes, and energy more quickly and prevent dehydration.
Dehydration is the absence of sufficient water in the body and may lead to headache, dizziness, fatigue, and in extreme cases, death. When you sweat profusely due to physical activities, increased temperature or increased altitude, age, or medical conditions, you may need more than your regular water to rehydrate yourself.
Benefits of Electrolyte Water
Electrolyte-infused water is enhanced with minerals essential to re-hydrate the body, especially during physical activities that lead to excessive sweating and illness.
It may benefit athletes and those suffering from acute to mild vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. However, is electrolyte water suitable for you?
While your body needs the minerals infused in electrolyte water, it should not replace regular water as your go-to drink. Other water types, such as spring, purified, or mineral water, can quench your thirst, replenish the water in your body, and help meet your required daily mineral intake. So unless you are an athlete or need re-hydration, you can say stick to your regular bottled water.
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