Electrolyte imbalance or depletion is a dangerous situation to have inside of your body. Because our bodies are so electrically and liquid oriented, electrolytes are the very things we need to transmit information, keep control of our tissues and perform any bodily function there is.
What are electrolytes? Electrolytes are positively or negatively charged ions which transmit nerve signals and information between cells, help us to absorb water and food, and are lost when we urinate, have bowel movement, sweat, or vomit. Sodium chloride, or table salt, is a popular electrolyte in our bodies, with positive sodium ions Na+ and negative chloride ions Cl-. Other bodily electrolytes include potassium K+, calcium Ca2+, sulfate SO42-, magnesium Mg2+, phosphate PO42-, and bicarbonate HCO3-.
How can I increase my electrolyte production? The main method your body uses to break down materials and create ions is through digestion. This means that most, if not all, electrolyte potential comes from ions found in food and water and juice. The supposed “electrolyte drinks” out there contain less than 1% of the electrolytes found in a glass of fruit juice. Fruit juice is also better for you and you will not suffer from a sugar crash later on. Since over 80% of your body’s energy is spent on digestion, it is recommended to drink some electrolyte potential right before bed and allow a good night’s sleep to break down the materials into ions.
What if I have electrolyte depletion? Severe electrolyte imbalance or depletion is caused by dehydration, not eating in two or three days, huge amounts of stress in your life, or hard exercise. You can feel the beginning of electrolyte depletion because it feels much like your leg feels when it is waking up after circulation has been cut off. The tingling and numb sensations when waking up a leg or arm after circulation has been cut off is almost identical to the beginnings of a lethal electrolyte depletion. The differences will be that you will not feel differently in a few minutes, after the circulation has supposedly returned, and the tingling sensation will travel from the outer extremities, up the arms and legs, toward the torso, leaving completely numb and lifeless limbs in its wake. If the tingling sensation reach or begins in your head, your vision will begin to static over much like an old-fashioned television set, your hearing will static over much like a radio which is not on a station, and voices will begin to sound farther and farther away. Whatever the case, if this happens to you and continues to happen, you must get some electrolytes in your body quickly, and the fastest way is through liquids. Just about any liquid will do at the beginning to start counteracting the spread of the problem, but the preferable substance is fruit juice or a sugared liquid, such as a soft drink.
Electrolyte depletion is a scary thing if it begins to creep through your body. Because of the danger to the system, heat and blood will travel to protect the vital organs and your skin and outer extremities will feel very cold, and the cold will creep along your body. Drink a glass or two of juice, grab a thick warm blanket to protect your body temperature, lie down on a couch or a soft bed, and either wait it out or take a nap. This will enable your body to start fighting the problem and regain electrolyte balance.