Electrolytes: What are they?

We hear about electrolytes a lot, but what exactly are they?

Electrolytes are simply a combination of minerals (like sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.) that you can take to support your body’s needs. They come in different forms, and you typically drink them.

Electrolytes get talked about – especially this time of year – because they are easily depleted when you’re physically active, hot, sweaty, etc.

When you sweat, you lose electrolytes. Symptoms of low electrolytes can include feeling dizzy, lightheaded, weak or having a headache or muscle cramping. (Obviously, these symptoms can be caused by other concerns as well – they’re not exclusive to low electrolytes.)

Remember that your body is amazing, and it will alter its functions to regulate as best it can when electrolytes drop. If you can replenish your body with electrolytes when it needs them, even better.

Electrolytes come in powders, dissolvable tablets and liquid drops.

  • You add them to water and drink (sip slowly rather than gulping down to get the most benefits) during activity and afterwards.
  • They’re easy to find at health food stores, grocery stores and other places you would buy supplements.
  • Definitely look at the nutrition label to ensure there’s not a bunch of additives and/or sugar that you don’t need (artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, sugars and anything that ends in -ose, etc.)

Electrolytes are generally safe; however, caution with using electrolytes especially if you’re on cardiac and/or kidney medications.

Always check with your own healthcare provider before trying a new product, including electrolytes.

This blog and website do not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Always check with your own healthcare provider before taking a new supplement and before making any significant diet, lifestyle, exercise or other changes. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.