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Archive for Electrolytes

Electrolytes 101

Most college students recognize the “101” designation! For any course of education you take up, that’s the basic, introductory course in that field. So, Electrolytes-101 is simply a beginning look at the study of electrolytes.

The “body electric” depends on electrolytes. An electrolyte is simply a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when placed in a solvent. In our bodies that is usually just plain water. And the electrolytes are generally cell salts. The cell salts are dissolved into electrically charged ions that interact with each other, conducting electrical energy and supporting the body’s electrical components.

Electrolytes are naturally occurring elements in the body and important to control many physiological functions. Examples of these electrolytes are sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and even calcium. We get them from numerous foods and drinks and many supplements also contain them. They are necessary for balanced loads in the body.

In severe cases of imbalance, we may see such drastic things as seizures, coma, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest. But we may regularly see symptoms in hot, sweaty activities like outdoor running and sports. You see, we lose a lot of electrolytes when we sweat. So it is not unusual to see young people with muscle cramps, muscle weakness, nausea, confusion and the like after an outdoor summer athletic practice. If we let it go further, we may see diarrhea, fast heart beating, headaches, and cramping.

When I was a kid our PE coaches use to give us salt tablets after hard play outdoors in the last spring and summer. Both sodium and chlorine which make up table salt are electrolytes. But a more complete form of “cell salts” are better balanced and more effective – and without the heart strain that can come from using too much table salt.

Cell Salt formulations go by the homeopathic names of their ingredients. A couple of examples might be Mag. Phos., which stands for Magnesia Phosphorica and is formulated to help with muscle cramps and pains, or Nat. Sulph., which stands for Natrum Sulphuricum, and helps with flu symptoms, nausea, and vomiting.

Original studies in cell salts led to the formulation of 12 standard cell salt formulas. More recent studies have identified up to some 27 different cell salts. They should always be replaced after any strenuous activity. So if your work or play produces active perspiration, or if you feel fatigue, lethargy, or a mild headache after a bout of physical activity – take some cell salts – or a salt tablet as a minimum!

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.