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Electrolyte imbalance is an interruption of the balance of minerals in the body, this can be caused by many factors including dehydration, illness, dietary deficiencies and certain medications.
The body use these minerals in many different ways, with low electrolytes leading to symptoms such as feeling lethargic, confused, swelling, muscle spasms, reduced nerve function, dizziness, insomnia, or digestive problems at the more mild end. If you are showing any of these symptoms you may need to look at consuming an electrolyte replacement supplement.
During intense exercise the rate of sweat increases and because the mineral concentration in sweat is different to that of the plasma this can quickly upset the fluid and mineral balance in the body through loss of this sweat.
During this increased sweat loss you are likely to deplete chloride and sodium to a greater degree than other minerals, including potassium and magnesium.
Intense exercise is not the only cause of this electrolyte imbalance, deficiencies typically occur with heavy sweating, frequent diarrhoea, frequent vomiting, dieting, using diuretics and even simply not replacing fluids adequately.
It is not uncommon for a litre of sweat loss to contain well over 1000mg of sodium. This can mean that an athlete losing 2.5 litres of sweat per hour may easily lose over 5000mg (5g) in just 2 hours. This easily exceeds the recommended daily sodium intake in just 2 hours of exercise and highlights the importance of sodium replacement in best practice hydration strategies.
As potassium is widely found in fresh fruits and vegetables and the relatively small amount lost in sweat during exercise, athletic performance is not always impacted in well-nourished individuals.
Potassium is vital for heart and skeletal function and can be depleted from activities that place stress on the body, be it athletic, lifestyle of sickness, so if this is the case potassium supplements may be required.
SOS has a small amount of potassium in its formula as potassium plays an important part in regulating sodium absorption.
Magnesium is important for muscle function process, an imbalance can effect performance both physically and athletically, this effect is exacerbated in hot and humid environments.
Though an important factor in maintaining electrolyte balance is a well balanced diet, sometimes this will not be enough. If you’re battling an imbalance, replacement of these minerals is vital to allow your body to perform at an optimal level again.
SOS Hydration is scientifically formulated to help to quickly restore balance without unnecessary added sugar.
Please view our other information pages to find more information on Electrolyte Drinks, What is Dehydration, What are Electrolytes and Dehydration Symptoms. Or for more information on SOS Rehydrate specifically visit our Science and Benefits pages.
Sources – Advanced Sports Nutrition – Dan Benardot