What are Electrolytes and Why Do You Need Them in Your Body?

Symptoms such as heavy sweating, chest pain, and numb legs, which are not as a result of cardiovascular disease, are likely because of electrolyte deficiency in the body. Electrolytes are minerals which help the body perform most of its work, including contracting your muscles and producing energy. They are among the diverse array of Terra Origin products such as collagen and probiotics, which keep your body healthy by providing you with all the necessary nutrients you may not even know your body requires. Some examples of electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium. You can get these minerals from the foods and drinks that you consume.

Electrolytes are useful, but should not exceed certain minimum levels in the body, lest they cause a health risk. Doctors can measure the level of minerals by taking a blood test.

Factors that cause an electrolyte imbalance

The presence of a limited number of electrolytes in the body may be as a result of losing fluids through diarrhea, sweating, fever, and vomiting. You will also have inadequate electrolytes in the body when you fail to eat and drink enough. Medications such as diuretics, steroids, and laxatives may also result in low levels of electrolytes in the body.

Functions of electrolytes in the body

Electrolytes serve several purposes in our bodies. They regulate the level of fluids in your plasma and entire body, keep the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of your blood normal. They also enable your muscles to contract, which allows the healthy beating of your heart. Moreover, electrolytes help in the clotting of blood which prevents excessive blood loss. Other benefits of electrolytes include transmitting nerve signals from the heart, nerve, and muscle cells to other cells in the body; and building new tissue.

Effects of low or high levels of electrolytes in the body

Low levels of sodium force fluids into the body cells while high levels move fluids out. Either of these changes can result in headaches, lethargy, personality changes, and a host of other problems.

Low levels of potassium can cause weakness of the muscles, spasms, cramps, and respiratory problems. High levels of potassium may also cause the same symptoms and in severe cases, stop the heart from beating.

Insufficient levels of calcium can cause changes in skin, nails, and hair; and may also cause cataracts. Very high levels of calcium can cause loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bowel obstruction.

Low levels of Magnesium can cause death, with high levels resulting in low blood pressure and breathing problems.

When the levels of phosphate in your body are low, you may experience muscle weakness, heart and respiratory failure, and coma. High levels of phosphates are majorly harmless.

What now?

To maintain healthy levels of electrolytes in the body, you need to eat healthy, drinks lots of water, and eat foods rich in electrolytes such as spinach, turkey, bananas, potatoes, avocados, oranges, soybeans, and strawberries. Always consult your doctor before taking electrolyte supplements to avoid an overdose.