Electrolytes are important to good health. Also, maintaining a good balance of these vital elements is essential. An interesting fact about these electrolytes is that they tend to be active in water, so our bodies are constantly losing them and they need to be replenished. You probably already know that during periods of intense physical activity, or even moving in hot climates, the body will have a greater need for replacing these chemicals. However, if you are sick, say having a cold or flu, it is also necessary to take extra steps in order to replace your electrolytes.
Essentially, electrolytes are types of salt or sodium. In fact, sodium, potassium, and chloride are the main types of these chemicals. They are found in a high number of foods, which makes an actual dietary deficiency quite rare. They also have an electrically charged ion. It is how they received the name. This allows electrical impulses to be sent from one cell to another, playing a vital role in the nervous system from the brain to various parts of the body.
What Happens If We Lose Electrolytes?
If your body loses too many electrolytes, the effects can be quite severe. Most electrolyte loss is combined with lack of water, which results in muscle cramping. After this, you will begin to feel weak and dizzy. Even increased sweating will not be able to lower your increased internal core body temperature, which has been rising. This can then lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be potentially fatal.
If you continue to lose water and electrolytes without replacement, bodily functions will deteriorate. It might even get to the point where the brain and nervous system will start malfunctioning. This can lead to the brain not being able to control the working of the heart muscle, or ‘telling’ the lungs to fill with air. This can be fatal.
Losing Electrolytes When Sick:
While you may end up sweating excessively at times during a sickness, this is probably not the norm. Other sickness symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea also lead to a loss of bodily fluids including electrolytes. If these ions are not replaced, not only will it potentially lead to other issues, but it might lead to a significantly longer recovery period. This is one of the biggest reasons to continue drinking fluids when you are sick.
Replacing Your Lost Electrolytes:
Obviously, when you are sick you really do not feel like doing much. However, one of the best things you can do is to continue drinking fluids. This could be as simple as taking some water or other types of fluids which contain electrolytes. These are specially formulated to help you quickly replace the depleted water and electrolyte levels that may result from sickness. In many cases, these drinks are also made to taste very good and can serve to also speed up your recovery time.
In many cases, these drinks do not need to contain large amounts of sodium. When combined with small amounts of electrolytes, water, and carbs, this can be enough to also help you avoid getting too much of anything that is not needed. There are even low-calorie and low-sugar options for those watching their weight and concerned about replacing your electrolytes when sick.