What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are certain minerals that are found in our bodily fluids. Our body needs them to conduct the electrical charges that power our bodies. The electrolytes in our blood, plasma, and cellular fluids conduct the electrical charges that power our heartbeat, breathing, cells, nerves, muscles, fluid balance, and oxygen delivery.
Electrolytes are found in fluids throughout our bodies—both inside and outside of cells. Inside the cell, the major electrolyte is potassium. Outside the cell, the major electrolytes are sodium and chloride. (1)
Why Are Electrolytes Important?
Maintaining balanced concentrations of electrolytes across cell membranes is what allows the electrical charges that power our bodies to be created and carried. “Electrolyte homeostasis” is the name for the healthy balance of electrolytes needed for (1):
- Muscle contraction
- Nerve impulses
- Cardiac activity
- Neurological function
- Cell metabolism
- Acid-base balance
- Blood volume
- Distribution of body fluids
Our bodies are constantly working to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. Through the processes of diffusion, osmosis, filtration, and active transport, water and electrolytes are constantly shifting within the body, into and out of cells, in order to maintain the homeostasis needed for health.
Who Needs Electrolytes?
Under normal conditions, our bodies have no difficulty in maintaining electrolyte homeostasis. However, there are times when the body is unable to regulate the balance of electrolytes. This leads to either electrolyte deficiencies or electrolyte excesses, which can be caused by (1):
- Anorexia and/or bulimia
- Hormonal disorders
- Use of diuretic medications
- Neurological disorders
- Trauma such as burns and accidents
- Chronic or acute kidney failure
- Physical or emotional stress
- Excessive sweating and water intake
The signs of electrolyte deficiencies or excesses are generally neuromuscular, including weakness, decreased reflexes, confusion, twitching, seizures, and heartbeat irregularities. (1) Severe cases are life threatening and require immediate hospitalization and IV fluids.
Electrolytes and Exercise—Water Is Not Enough
During sustained exercise and heat exposure, sweating results in loss of both fluids and electrolytes, primarily sodium.
- People involved in vigorous exercise in hot environments can lose up to 3 liters of water per hour and 3.5 grams of sodium per hour. (2)
- In the large field study of triathletes, 18% of the finishers were found to be deficient in sodium. (2)
Drinking water alone is therefore not sufficient to maintain electrolyte homeostasis during sustained exercise and heat exposure, and can lead to decreased performance, heat cramps, and heat-related illnesses. (3,4) Researchers therefore recommend that athletes consume a drink containing sodium both during and after sustained exercise. (2–4)
Do You Know What’s In Your Electrolyte Drink?
There are many beverages on the market that contain added sodium and potassium to help maintain and restore the proper electrolyte balance during and after intense physical exertion. However, many of these drinks contain ingredients that not only provide no nutritional value but also pose potential health risks:
- Artificial Sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium (Sweet One) are associated with a wide variety of serious health hazards. (5,6)
- Artificial Colors including Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are derived from petroleum and are linked to extensive health hazards. (7)
- Artificial Additives used for texture, color, and/or flavor—including Propylene Glycol, Potassium Benzoate, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80, Calcium disodium EDTA—many of which are rated as health hazards by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). (8)
- Fructose Researchers have recommended avoiding this form of sugar, which is also a major immune system depressant, like all sugars, and competes with the absorption of vitamin C. (9–11)
Sport Oxylent®– Electrolytes and So Much More—With None of The Risks!
- 90 mg Sodium
- As much as most sports/electrolyte drinks
- 221 mg Potassium
- More than most sports/electrolyte drinks
- 207 mg Magnesium
- Magnesium is an essential mineral required for almost every cell in the body. The muscles’ ability to contract and relax is highly dependent upon maintaining adequate magnesium levels within the body. As such, it is imperative for athletes to ensure they are supplementing with magnesium to avoid deficiencies.
- Over 100% DV B Vitamins
- Exercise may increase B vitamin requirements, and low or marginal levels may decrease ability to perform exercise at high intensities. (12)
- 340 mg Vitamin C
- Vitamin C is involved in many biochemical pathways important to exercise metabolism and has been shown to benefit exercise recovery. (13,14)
- No Sugar
- Sweetened with stevia only, which has a Glycemic Index of zero and does not cause the spiked blood sugar levels or the over stimulation of insulin that can decrease athletic performance.
- No Caffeine
- Stimulants such as caffeine can have adverse effects including increased heart beat and restlessness. Sport Oxylent® is a stimulant-free alternative that offers all of the benefits without the jitters.
Without any artificial ingredients that pose risks to our health, each serving of Sport Oxylent® provides not just the electrolytes sodium and potassium, but a 3-in-1 performance drink including the necessary vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and amino acids to provide you with energy, stamina and recovery to get through your day and your workouts!
- Terry J. J Intaven Nurs1994;17(5):240.
- Sharp RL. J Am Coll Nutr2006;25(3 Suppl):231S.
- Valentine V. Curr Sports Med Rep2007;6(4):237.
- Sawka MN, et al. Am J Clin Nutr2000;72(2 Suppl):564S.
- Tandel KR. J Pharmacol Pharmacother2011;2(4):236–43.
- Weihrauch MR, et al. Ann Oncol2004;15(10):1460–5.
- Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks.” [online] http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf
- [online] http://www.ewg.org/chemindex/list
- Dekker MJ, et al. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2010;299:E685.
- Bray G. Curr Opin Lipidol2010;21:51.
- Tappy L, et al. Physiol Rev2010a;90:23.
- Woolf K, et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2006;16(5):453.
- Peake JM. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab2003;13(2):125.
- Thompson D, et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab2001;11(4):466.