Electrolytes are one of the things that people tell you are important but most people aren’t aware of why. Common among athletes and sport drink companies, they’re often overlooked as a nutritional supplement but are key to keeping the body functioning optimally.
So what are electrolytes?
Essentially, electrolytes are minerals that carry a charge. When dissolved in a solution, they dissociate into positively and negatively charged ions, which play two crucial roles within the body: they regulate the flow of water in and out of cells and they transmit nerve impulses.
There are six main minerals in the body that function as electrolytes, each with their own specific role:
Why do we need electrolytes?
If you’ve ever done an intense workout or sat in the sun a little too long, you’ve probably noticed that you may feel a but ‘off’. This may be because your electrolyte levels are imbalanced, resulting in various symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, confusion, or muscle cramping.
Correct balance of electrolytes is important for several functions in the body. These include:
- Muscle contraction
- Regulating heart beat
- Body temperature control
- Energy production
- Neurological functions
- Maintain proper body fluid levels
- Regulate pH levels
There are many electrolyte products available on the market, from sports drinks to simple blends of minerals, and while they all have their advantages, which ones rank on top?
Here are our top 3 picks:
Potassium is one of the two major electrolytes found inside of the cell and is an important component of the pump that functions to move minerals in and out of cells. Our muscles are incredibly sensitive to fluctuations in potassium levels, so maintaining adequate amounts is critical. Potassium is also important for other functions including blood pressure regulation, fluid and nutrient regulation, enzyme production, hormone balance, and replenishing glycogen stores.
While potassium can be obtained through many different foods, supplementing is also recommended.
- 100% pure
- Well absorbed and highly bioavailable
- Soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free
- Offers 448mg per serving (1/4 tsp.) — compared with 99mg per capsule in most other forms
- Not as convenient as pill or capsule
- Can be an unpleasant taste
What customers say:
- Great to help with restless legs at night
- Mixes great with water or juice
- Helps reduce back spasms
Most people think that a cal-mag supplement supports optimal bone strength, but calcium and magnesium are needed in the body for much more. Calcium is necessary for regulating heart rate, blood clotting, muscle contraction, while magnesium is needed as a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic reactions including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, glucose control, and regulation of blood pressure. It also plays a crucial role in the structural development of bone and transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes.
Since calcium and magnesium functions coincide with one another, you’ll often find these two supplements together. However, they do compete for absorption so under certain circumstances, like low calcium levels, it’s best to take them separate.
Like the other electrolytes, calcium and magnesium can be obtained through diet, but supplementing may be necessary in certain conditions.
- Plus vitamin C for stress relief
- Highly absorbable and bioavailable form
- Effervescent powder
- Made from pure ingredients
- Contains no dairy, soy, yeast, or shellfish
- Free of major allergens (eggs, tree nuts, peanuts)
- 500mg of calcium, 500mg vitamin C, and 200mg magnesium per scoop
- Less expensive than other products
- Some issues dissolving fully
- May be unpalatable for some people
What customers say:
- Helps with muscle cramps
- Very tart flavour
- Absorbs well
- Great for muscle soreness and digestion
- Great product and quality
- Pure product, minimal ingredients
- May help normalize bowel function
There’s nothing like coming home from a stressful day and taking a hot bath to relax, but what if your bath could do more than just relax you? Adding epsom salts is a great way to reap relaxation, as well as a whole slew of other health benefits from magnesium. When epsom salts are dissolved in water, they release magnesium and sulfate ions, which are then absorbed through the skin.
Magnesium is great to help with a variety of concerns including constipation, improving exercise performance and recovery, cleansing pores, detoxifying the skin, and reducing muscle pain and swelling.
- USP grade magnesium-sulfate
- Dissolves quickly
- 100% pure and unscented
What customers say:
- Cheaper than other brands
- Great for relieving headaches
- Very relaxing
- Helps moisturize skin
- Dissolves very well in water
- Great product and great price
If you’re looking for more information on magnesium supplements, check out our extensive article here that covers why we need magnesium and our top recommendations for magnesium products.
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