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Electrolytes: What, Why & How

Electrolytes: What, Why & How

Electrolytes. You've almost certainly heard the term in the marketing campaigns of sports & energy drinks companies but do you know what they are?

An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved into water. They carry electrical charges which are essential for carrying out important physiological functions in the human body.

The table below shows the main electrolytes and the functions they perform in your body:

Electrolyte

Functions in the body

Calcium

Necessary for muscle contraction, nerve function, blood clotting, cell division, healthy bones and teeth

Chloride

Maintains fluid balance in the body

Potassium

Regulates heart contraction, helps maintain fluid balance

Magnesium

Necessary for muscle contraction, nerve function, heart rhythm, bone strength, generating energy and building protein

Sodium

Maintains fluid balance and necessary for muscle contraction and nerve function

In order to maintain electrolyte balance, they must be kept within narrow concentration levels in the body so that they can carry out their critical functions. In periods of intense exercise or illness, your body can experience electrolyte imbalance which is why it's imperative to replace them through fluid intake. This is why sports drink brands have made electrolytes the central part of their marketing campaign, because electrolyte balance is so important for athletes.

Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance

  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Blood Pressure changes 
  • Dizziness 
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness 
  • Joint Pain 

Over-Hydration

You may be forgiven for thinking that over-hydration is not particularly common, but because it has many of the same symptoms as dehydration, it can often be mistaken. Over-hydration can lead to a condition called hyponatremia which causes the body to flush out all of the electrolytes in our system. As many of these electrolytes in standard drinking water are found in very low concentrations, over consumption can cause a diluting effect on electrolytes within your system. This is more of a risk for professional endurance athletes who train outside in intense heat. 

How an Alkaline Water Filter can help?

Popular sports drinks designed to replace electrolytes are often high in potassium and sodium but lacking in calcium and magnesium. Depending on the brand, they may also be high in sugar. Many of these electrolytes however can be added to drinking water. Sodium, calcium and magnesium are added to your drinking water with our alkaline water filter. This makes replacing electrolytes and maintaining balance of these minerals a seamless part of your everyday routine and avoids the risk of diluting electrolytes by drinking water devoid of these ingredients. This is also likely to lower the risk of over-hydration. Not only that but it provides a cheaper alternative than bottled sports drinks brands, which are generally at least £1 per 500ml bottle. And of course, the less we consume plastic bottles the better it is for the environment

 

Ps. Did you see the first glimpse of our new box.... 🤐 😍

Alkaline Water Filter

Is your fitness program missing the most basic foundation?

Is your fitness program missing the most basic foundation?

With the explosion of the health & fitness industry over the last decade more people than ever before are regularly attending the gym. To varying degrees people push themselves towards their chosen goals; weight loss, muscle gain, endurance, general well being. However, amidst the growth of knowledge about nutrition and fitness, many people often neglect the most important foundation for exercising - adequate hydration. Research by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute found 40% of those going into group fitness classes were partially dehydrated.

The Science

In order to achieve optimum performance in any activity, mental or physical, adequate hydration is the key. Therefore, when exercising your body demands more fluids to perform effectively. It is estimated that everyday we lose around 1L through evaporation from the skin and breathing - invisible perspiration - regardless of physical or mental exertion. Add in exercise, and the general consensus is that we should consume around 240ml per 20 minutes of exercise.

Dehydration when exercising also poses some considerable dangers to our bodies. Lack of hydration while working out increases the likelihood of dizziness, lack of mental sharpness and muscle cramps. When your body is adequately hydrated, your heart can pump blood around it much more efficiently meaning the transportation of oxygen and nutrients is much easier.

This extract from an article by Robert Wildman PhD for Bodybuilding.com hones in on just how counter-productive training while under-hydrated can be:

"During resistance training, water is driven from blood into muscle cells and surrounding areas—known as interstitial space—based on the muscle squeezing during contraction. This creates the "pump" sensation, but on a more fundamental level, it's also just what muscles do when they try to move a heavy load. However, when body water is compromised because of poor fluid consumption, often in combination with excessive sweating, water is drawn out of muscle and back into the blood. This ensures the preservation of circulation and keeps your blood pressure at safe levels.

When you don't have enough water to fill the muscle cells, you're at risk of losing more than your pump. Research studies have shown that when cells lose water, and thus volume, protein production can slow down and protein breakdown can speed up.2-4 While researchers are still working out the details, it seems likely that post-exercise muscle protein synthesis (MPS) would also be hampered in an dehydrated state.

Greater muscle breakdown, less new muscle growth—if the implications of that don't make sense to you, then you're definitely operating a quart low."

Now that the implications are clear, perhaps it's time to push your hydration as far as your pushing your body in the gym.

The Solution

Throughout this series of blogs we have highlighted the unnecessary expense incurred with bottled water. Aside from the financial and environmental ramifications, the quality of bottled water is often no greater than that of filtered tap water sold with a huge markup - evidence of which we have seen from Aquafina. A number of bottled water brands are also wholly owned by corporations like Coca-Cola and Nestle which prioritise taste at the expense of consumers' health.

With a Phox alkaline water filter you can hydrate your body properly for exercise as our product produces nutrient-rich alkaline water. Alkaline water has a number of benefits pertaining to exercise as it neutralises lactic acid build up due to it's higher pH level. Contaminants, like chlorine, for example, are also removed which eradicates the potential of free-radicals forming through water consumption. Our filters also mineralise tap water enhancing the quantities of minerals like calcium and magnesium.

So if you're looking to take your health and fitness regime to the next level, do so with nutrient-rich alkaline water from a Phox alkaline water filter. Not only will you make substantial savings if you've been drinking bottled, you'll be joining us in reducing the carbon emissions produced by plastic bottled water too. Most importantly though, your body will be optimally hydrated for peak physical performance.

 

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