The amount of people with inadequate electrolyte levels continues to amaze me. It is no surprise why there are so many people with adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure and a seemingly endless list of every disease name under the sun associated with or due specifically to dehydration. In short, electrolytes are the most fundamental component to how your cells function.
My recent nutrition and lab test analysis work has resulted in significant improvement in my clients’ function and performance with added electrolytes. The electrolyte solution I use with my clients works to improve the electrical charge on the cell membrane. One thing that I am very aware of, and adamant about is that not everyone needs exactly the same electrolytes.
What Is An Electrolyte?
Electrolytes electrically charge your cells. These ions have either a (+) or a (-) symbol indicating that they have an imbalanced distribution of electrons. Humans require very complex balances of electrolytes in order for the physiological processes of the body to function. Electrolytes either work outside of the cell or inside of the cell. The hydration that electrolytes create are what moves water in and out of the cells, which is fundamental to producing and regulating the body’s energy.
Electrolytes are responsible for:
- Blood pH
- Hormone Synthesis
- Muscle Contraction
- Nerve Conduction
- Digestion & Detoxification
These basic functions are critical for determining how efficiently your cells detoxify, as well as how efficient is your digestion and assimilation.
Electrolytes: The Key Players
The following is a list of the essential electrolytes that maintain an electrical charge of your cells: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Sulfate, Chloride.
Potassium and phosphorous are the primary intra-cellular ions and sodium and chloride are the primary extra-cellular ions. The various ratios between these ions is what determines the electrical charge. Calcium is largely responsible for cell membrane permeability; the balance between aerobic and anaerobic functions.
If the cell membranes are too loose (aerobic), they will leak and become too permeable. This results in lipid peroxidation, high amounts of pro-inflammatory fatty acids and free radicals. If the cell membranes are too tight (anaerobic), this can result in poor utilization of oxygen, loss of minerals through the urine and poor electrolyte utilization.
Hydration & Fluid Retention
Water consumption is only partly responsible for hydration. Electrolyte mineral salts are what charge the cells.
It is extremely common for people with hypertension to have fluid retention (edema) in their tissues. At the same time, their cells tend towards dehydration. This is due to the destruction of the electronegative colloidal properties of body fluids. This particular scenario is caused by what can be called ‘Electrolyte Stress Imbalance’.
In such cases of electrolyte stress, there are abnormal ph levels, free radical activity, and de-regulated fluid and electrolyte dynamics. Excess tissue fluid levels may also be accompanied with excess sodium and decreased potassium. When sodium levels increase, magnesium tends to be excreted. This is a set-up for congestive heart failure.
What is needed here is a strategy for dispersing agents, and something capable of drawing fluids from the tissues into the cells. A specific electrolyte/dispersing agent called magnesium thiosulfate is very capable of pulling fluids from tissues into cells.
Electrolytes facilitate hormone synthesis. Much of hormone synthesis is controlled by the balance between sodium and potassium. This is particularly true of adrenal function. High levels of sodium and low levels of potassium correlate with adrenal hyperfunction, and conversely, high potassium and low sodium tend to indicate diminished adrenal function.
The adrenal mineralcorticoid hormone aldosterone regulates sodium retention and potassium excretion. Meanwhile calcium is a secondary intracellular hormonal messenger.
Electrolytes & Digestion
Sodium, chloride and the trace mineral zinc are essential for the production of stomach acid, known as HCL. Other electrolytes such as calcium and magnesium are dependent upon adequate levels of stomach acid for absorption. More than 50% of the population is estimated to be deficient in HCL.
Many supplemental forms of magnesium are not assimilated due to HCL insufficiency. Acid in the stomach is necessary to release the magnesium salt for assimilation.
I have been seeing good digestive results when my clients combine the correct electrolyte solution with malic acid. Malic acid has a stronger clinical effect than Betaine HCL due to its higher hydrogen content.
Through the correct, functional interpretation of blood chemistry, it is possible to obtain the right information regarding electrolyte function. The nutrition work I have been involved with recently focuses specifically on the analysis of electrolytes, and implementing strategies for improving your electrolyte levels and various functions of your body.
This method of blood chemistry analysis:
- Explains the difference between “conventional” blood test interpretation” and “Functional” interpretation
- Identifies various potential imbalances of electrolytes
- Lays out a comprehensive nutritional strategy for you