For our health, electrolytes are crucial for survival. They transfer electrical solution when with water and this includes: calcium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine, bicarbonate and even hydrogen phosphate.
Why are they so important for overall health?
The magnesium makes the muscles relaxed and makes good pulse balance. Also it keeps the nerves safe and healthy and reduces anxiety too. Digestion is much improved and proteins balanced.
The sodium makes the nerves work better and muscle get contracted better too.
Calcium stops blood clots to form, aids the nerves and blood clots, makes teeth and bones stronger and divides cells.
Chloride is responsible for better fluid balance.
Potassium balances the pressure and makes muscles healthier.
All these are mostly found in many fluids like the sweat, urine and blood. After they get dissolved with water, due to the electric charge in them they get divided in negative and positive ions. Via the chemical processes, nerves communicate with each other and depend on the opposite ions and charges in and out cells.
The imbalance in electrolytes can be due to:
- Bad diet
- Not enough nutrients from digestive problems
- Chemo treatments (they rob off the calcium and potassium inside)
- Antibiotics (hormones, diuretics…)
- Kidney problems (they require sodium, potassium and magnesium and need it a lot_
- Sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fevers.
- Meds for cancer, diabetes, hormones, heart.
- Endocrine issues
The usual signs of electrolyte imbalance:
- Muscle pain, twitch, weakness
- Weight changes and appetite changes
- Numbness and joint pain
- Irregular heartbeat and pulse
- Unstable pressure
- Bone problems
- Constipation, cramps, diarrhea
- Hard time focusing
If you have these of above, seek doctor’s help. Estimate the electrolytes, also make urine and blood tests and even EKG for the heart.
If you need to make more tests for deficits, try X-rays for the kidneys. The electrolyte deficit will require ultrasound. That deficit can be confirmed only with high values and they are seen through the blood:
- Potassium 5-5.3 mEq/L
- Sodium 136-145 mEq/L
- Calcium 5-5.5 mEq/L
- Chloride 97-107 mEq/L
- Magnesium 1.5-2.5 mEq/L
Dizziness, confusion and irritable mood
The body will show these symptoms when you have high sodium amount and it is not treated. You might even experience seizures, delirium and coma.
Insomnia and anxiety
Low magnesium will make you feel tired, with troubles sleeping, night sweats, spasms in muscles and fast pulse.
Imbalance in electrolytes will vary the energy you have and show cramps, diarrhea, constipation and hemorrhoids.
If the potassium is too high or too low you will develop hyperkalemia that impairs the nerve work and muscles’ work too, thus leading to tingly and tired or numb muscles. Also this will damage the normal heartbeat, cause stress, and too much calcum will impair the heart health and the pathways to the heart.
When calcium values vary, you might vomit, have kidney stones and constipation and even focus problems.
Spasms in muscles
When you are dehydrated and have low Mg and potassium, the muscles will give up first.
Treating the imbalance in electrolytes
- Lots of water to balance this out and change the amount of water inside.
- Improved diet habits- after you see the imbalance or balance, change the diet. More home prepared food and no fast food. Also, lots of green leafy veggies, sweet potato, crucifer veggies, avocado, cabbage, bananas, squash and broccoli. Also, coconut water, cucumber, celery, pineapple, amasai, watermelon, citrus fruits, carrot, kefir, bell pepper, kiwi, yoghurt.
- For low level of calcium, eat legumes, dairy (raw milk, probiotic kinds of yoghurt, leafy greens, veggies and beans.
- Check the meds- even meds might alter the levels of electrolytes inside the body; diuretics, cancer meds, antibiotics, hormone therapy and pressure meds. Chemo impacts you the most, laxatives and diuretics make severe changes in the potassium and magnesium inside the urine and blood. Some types of diuretics might increase the potassium and others might lower the electrolytes and disturb the digestion processes, sleeping, heartbeats and cause anxiety. Such imbalances are mostly triggered by hormone imbalance and anti-diuretic effect meds like thyroid and aldosterone meds.
- Keep track of sodium ingesting- the more processed foods you eat, the more sodium you ingest. Sodium is crucial for water release or retention and if this is too high, the kidneys might suffer and impair more tissues. If this level is normal, you will NOT have muscle spasms, dehydration, lethargy, bloating and fatigue or irritable mood.
- Post workout hydration- after you workout always drink water, but also before or during the workout too.
Consider supplements too to replenish all nutrients you need, while you change the diet habits and lifestyle habits. And always talk with a medical expert before trying anything new as far as the health goes.