My Monday literally flew by! I ate lunch around noon (from Sunday meal prep, cauliflower rice and chicken) + 1 handful sunflower seeds.
UCAN and protein shake before and after an upper body workout today. Followed up by the best dinner of my life… an open faced egg sandwich, sometimes they just hit the spot don’t they?
The rest of this post is sponsored by Brode Electrolyte Vitamins with a sweet giveaway!
What Are Electrolytes?
When Brode EV first reached out to me to see if I’d like to try their product I was excited to review their product because I frequently get asked about hydration tips and electrolyte needs from almost all my clients, especially in AZ. I feel like the term “Electrolytes” gets thrown around a lot so I thought maybe I’d dispel a few myths surrounding them.
According to the National Institute of Health “Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.” There are many types of electrolytes with many functions but they all share one common goal, maintain fluid balance between the fluid inside the cell (intracellular) and outside the cell (extracellular.) Which allows pH balance to be obtained and optimal cellular communication to occur.
Common Types of Electrolytes and Functions:
I love the analogy comparing electrolytes to the motor oil in your car, it isn’t exactly the fuel that keeps you going but it is required to make the car run! There are many types of electrolytes in the body, today we will review the four most common.
Sodium or NaPositively charged cation that is primarily found outside the cell and regulates fluid balance. Think way back to 6th grade biology, or whenever they teach the principle of osmosis. The body seeks balance between the electrolyte concentration between permeable substances (such as a cell wall or other tissues in the body.) For instance, high blood pressure is often exasperated because too much salt causes fluid to increase inside the arteries (which in the situation of consistently high blood pressure are usually in a state of inflammation) in an attempt to balance the solution leading to increased pressure to push the fluid through. Conversely, not enough salt will cause water to be drawn out, leading do low blood pressure and dehydration. The minimum required salt intake for proper function per day is 500mg, most Americans average around 3,500mg. We lose a significant amount of salt in our sweat which needs to be replaced as it is being loss or shortly after.
PotassiumPositively charged cation primarily found inside the cell also responsible for nerve transmission, fluid balance and cellular communication. A balance between potassium and sodium is absolutely vital for optimal function of the heart, muscles and nerves. Recommended levels intake are 5 times that of sodium and most Americans fall short of the recommended 4,700mg of Potassium per day.
- Hypokalemia (low levels of potassium) is usually the result of excessive vomiting or diarrhea. That being said, because most Americans fall short I recommend my clients pay special attention to getting enough, especially if they have high blood pressure already (as opposed to focusing on lowering sodium intake drastically.) Hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium) is rare unless underlying medical situations are present or it is induced intentionally (lethal injection).Foods naturally rich in potassium are avocado, potatoes, coconut/coconut water and bananas.
MagnesiumMost people truly underestimate the importance that magnesium plays in maintaining optimal function in our body. It is required for over 300 reactions in the body and plays an important role in composing DNA and RNA. When calcium enters muscle cells the muscle contracts and when it leaves, magnesium takes it place and the muscle relaxes. The current recommendations for formulations state they should focus on a two to one ration of calcium to magnesium.Hypermagnesia is rare except in the case of kidney problems or excess supplementation. Hypomagnesia is much more common, low levels of magnesium are linked to a variety of symptoms including trouble sleeping, increased stress, increased blood pressure, calcification in the heart, increased hormonal problems and PMS, muscle spasms, anxiety and depression. It is more common in alcoholics as alcohol consumption tends to dispel 260% more magnesium than normal.Foods naturally rich in magnesium are pumpkin seeds, swiss chard and spinach.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and levels are extremely tightly controlled to prevent deficiency or excess. In fact, our bones serve as reservoir for calcium and if levels run to low (hypocalcemia), calcium will be extracted from the bones to keep up with demand. If this keeps up long term the result can be a weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis. During exercise, it directly plays a roll in muscle contraction and certain enzymes actually require calcium to produce energy from fatty acids. Hypercalcemia is rare except in genetic conditions or with over supplementation.
Food naturally rich in calcium include tofu, sardines, and sesame seeds
So, as you can see electrolytes are just as important as you thought they were for proper hydration, nerve transmission, cellular communication and muscle function. However, you don’t need to rely on sugary sports drinks filled with preservatives and artificial sweeteners to replace what was lost in sweat and urine. Including foods rich in these minerals is the first step, then you can include supplementation without the extra ingredients when necessary to help replace losses.
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Brode Electrolyte Vitamins
- As I mentioned earlier I’m always on the look out for a great electrolyte supplement for myself after long runs and my endurance athletes (most people typically need to replace electrolytes beginning 1-2 hour after the start of exercise depending on climate and intensity.) What I love about Brode EV is that it comes in pill form so it’s easily transported and doesn’t contain any added preservatives or artificial sweeteners.Brode EV tablets are swallowed not dropped in a drink and the manufacturer recommends them for to provide additional support for drinking, flying and athletics.They pack quite a lot of one’s daily value in two tablets, but it is recommended to take only one at a time in most situations. Personally I broke a tablet in half right after a long run which I thought was perfect for me.
Disclaimer: Brode EV is a supplement and therefore not regulated by the FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Make sure to seek direction on supplements from a trusted health care professional. If you would like an individual consultation regarding supplement regimens please check out my nutrition services page.