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How Do Electrolytes Help With Hydration?

Is it hot enough for you? Summer is in full swing and we hope you are staying cool.

We’ve all been told how important it is to drink plenty of water, especially when we work out, play sports, and spend time outdoors. But there’s more to staying hydrated than drinking liquids.

What most people don’t know is that electrolytes help keep the water in your body balanced. Find out how to optimally support your body with the right supplements and foods so you can stay comfortable this summer.

Safeguard Your Body’s Hydration For Your Comfort & Health

The planet earth is 70% water, and the human body is 50 to 65% water. It’s essential that both are kept in balance.

Why Is It So Important To Stay Hydrated?

Water supports the flow of blood throughout the body, and helps the body eliminate waste. Water enables the body to sweat  in order to help regulate body heat, and is crucial to hormonal balance. Dana Cohen, an internal and integrative medicine physician and the author of the book Quench, says that staying hydrated is the most important thing we can do to support your health. She also says that many of the chronic conditions that people attribute to eating too much sugar, gluten and getting too little exercise may be due to not giving the body the hydration it needs for optimum health. 1

There’s More To Hydration Than Drinking Water

Of course it’s important to replenish the water we excrete each day by drinking  adequate water each day. As a general rule, you should drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh every day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink about 100 ounces of water. If you’re very active and will be working out or hiking, you should add to those 100 ounces.2

But the best way to help regulate and control the balance of fluids in your body is to make sure you’re getting adequate electrolytes.

What Are Electrolytes?

They’re minerals found in your blood that help regulate chemical reactions, and maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells. Since an adult’s body is about 60% water, almost every fluid and cell in the body contains electrolytes.

The primary electrolyte we lose when we sweat is sodium. The other major electrolytes are chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. When they’re balanced, they support hydration, as well as healthy muscles, brain function, blood flow, and more.3

What Do They Do?

The body’s cells use electrolytes to conduct electrical charges. The electrical charges cause muscles to contract, and help balance fluids by holding a positive or a negative electrical charge. For example, salt water conducts electricity easily because salt consists of sodium, which is positively charged, and chlorine, which is negatively charged. When they’re combined, their charges balance each other and help your body maintain balance. Just like electricity uses ions (atoms with an electrical charge) to travel from place to place in salt water, the body uses ions to transport chemical compounds in and out of cells.4

The Major Electrolytes

(These can be obtained from nutritional supplementation and from food)

  1. Sodium is the most abundant electrolyte ion in the body. It’s vital to maintain the right balance of fluid in your cells, and helps cells absorb nutrients.
  2. Chloride is the second most abundant electrolyte ion in the body. Like sodium, it too helps your cells maintain their internal and external balance of fluid, as well as playing a role in maintaining the body’s natural pH balance.
  3. Potassium is used in conjunction with sodium. When a sodium ion enters a cell, potassium ion leaves, and vice versa. It is especially vital to healthy heart function.
  4. Magnesium supports your cells as they turn nutrients into energy. The brain and muscles depend on magnesium to do their job.
  5. Calcium helps control your muscles, transmit signals in your nerves, and manage your heart rhythm, in addition to building bones and teeth. Too much or too little can affect many systems in the body.4

Why Can You Feel Dehydrated Even After Drinking Lots of Water?

  • Certain medications are naturally dehydrating
  • If you sweat out more fluid that you’re taking in
  • You can also deplete electrolytes when you’re sick with a fever.

Signs of Dehydration

  • Dry lips and/or mouth
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Dark colored and/or strong smelling urine
  • Infrequent urination
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Impaired cognitive function and poor mood5

Best Beverages To Keep You Hydrated

  • Water
  • Electrolyte infused water
  • Coconut water
  • Milk
  • Watermelon juice or the fruit
  • Sports drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Veggie juices
  • Non-dairy milks
  • Bone broth

Foods That Naturally Contain Electrolytes

  • Avocados – potassium and magnesium
  • Watermelon – potassium
  • Oranges – calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Bananas – potassium
  • Chia seeds – phosphorus, calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Seeds and Nuts – magnesium and phosphorus
  • Leafy greens –  potassium and magnesium
  • Sweet potatoes – potassium and sodium
  • Spinach – calcium and magnesium
  • Legumes magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus


  1. Cohen, Dana, and Bria, Gina. Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration. Hachette Books. June 12, 2018.

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