What precisely are electrolytes? You hear them talked about on a regular basis to promote sports activities drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and Brawndo. Do you want them? Are you getting sufficient? What do electrolytes do for you anyway?

All you hear about is “rehydrate” this, and “electrolyte” that…is all this for actual? Have been people born to devour sports activities drinks?

We’ll be diving into these waters headfirst, to provide you all the things it’s essential to find out about electrolytes:

  • What are these electrolytes?
  • Are you getting sufficient?
  • Do you have to be supplementing electrolytes?
  • Are Gatorade and different sports activities drinks a good suggestion?

First up, let’s chat chemistry.


Your physique is continually working across the clock to maintain itself in stability. A method it does that is with “ionic options,” referred to as electrolytes. They work to maintain your physique, muscle mass, and nerves functioning correctly.

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals and compounds, which is the place the “ion” half is available in. They mainly conduct electrical energy when blended with water. No electrolytes, means no electrical energy, means body-no-worky.

There are all types of electrolytes, however crucial are:

  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Bicarbonate

Once more, these are important for well being, which is why your physique strives to maintain them so as.

Which brings us to your kidneys. Your kidneys exist to assist preserve your physique in stability by regulating the fluids and electrolytes in your physique. A method they do that is by making pee – kidneys basically filter blood to allow them to do away with waste merchandise like urea and ammonia.

When you find yourself dehydrated, your kidneys make your pee as concentrated as attainable to maintain water within the physique. When you find yourself properly hydrated, your kidneys let extra water depart with the waste. Which is why your pee seems totally different relying on how hydrated you’re (we’ll contact on this once more later).

Bringing it again to our matter at hand, your kidneys additionally regulate the focus of electrolytes in your blood.

Once you work out, you sweat (belief me on this one, I’m a health skilled). Once you sweat, you lose fluids and electrolytes – particularly sodium and chloride (which is why your sweat tastes salty…cease tasting your sweat you creep). Now, whenever you’re missing fluids and electrolytes, your muscle mass undergo and your efficiency suffers.

Which is why having your electrolytes in stability is so essential.

I can see the priority in your face already.

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Not solely are you able to lack electrolytes, however you may as well have TOO MANY. Electrolytes tackle a constructive or detrimental cost once they dissolve in your physique fluid. So having too a lot of some and never sufficient of one other can create issues.

Ugh. Health may be difficult.

Listed below are some indicators that issues are out of whack:

  • Dehydration. If you happen to don’t have sufficient water in your system, your electrolytes might be out of stability. As we talked about, electrolytes dissolve in water, so if you’re dehydrated nearly by definition you’re missing electrolytes. Drink up. Once more, we’ll discuss pee shade as an indication of hydration later.
  • Diarrhea and constipation. Gross. Nevertheless, we have to chat about this. Poop is generally made out of water, so diarrhea and constipation may very well be an indication of an electrolyte imbalance. Plus, should you get a viral an infection and get diarrhea, you possibly can change into dehydrated after which… extra electrolyte imbalances. In case you have issues going #2, see your physician if this lasts for quite a lot of days.
  • Fatigue. A standard symptom of an electrolyte dysfunction is fatigue. If you happen to’re feeling groggy, one thing may be off along with your electrolytes, particularly an absence of magnesium. Many various physique processes rely on magnesium, so being poor could make you are feeling chronically drained.
  • Muscle cramp. Has your muscle ever freaked out and felt prefer it was attempting to detach itself from the bone? Nearly as in case your leg was going to snap in half? That’s a muscle cramp, and certain brought on by an electrolyte imbalance or dehydration.

Typically, in case your electrolytes are out of stability, it’s since you are poor. It’s far more frequent to have too few than too many electrolytes. Which is why correct hydration is so important.

Now that I’ve satisfied you that you’re going to die a depressing and horrible loss of life from the dearth of electrolytes, let’s chat about Gatorade.


How does Gatorade (or any sports activities drink–they’re all about the identical) work?

Sticking to the theme of this text, it comes right down to electrolytes. Water will get into your bloodstream sooner (and to the appropriate locations) when it’s blended with electrolytes, as a result of water follows electrolytes. Stated one other means, the absorption of water is determined by sodium, an electrolyte.

And Gatorade, like Brawndo, has electrolytes.

Gatorade has a superb quantity of sodium, in addition to glucose (sugar). And your small intestines LOVE glucose. The little transporters in your small intestines will choose up that glucose, and in flip choose up the sodium. In the event that they‘re choosing up glucose and sodium, they’re additionally grabbing the H20, and BOOM! You’re getting rehydrated sooner. That’s the idea, and there’s some proof in assist.[1]

One other good thing about Gatorade is that sodium minimizes urination (Keep in mind osmosis from highschool chemistry? Water goes the place the salt is). Once you’re consuming Gatorade, the liquid will keep in your physique longer, giving it extra time to get absorbed, which is able to get you again into stability faster!

So I notice this part reads like an advert for Gatorade. Pay no consideration to the bag of cash left for me within the nook. All this discuss how nice Gatorade is at getting you rehydrated faster will REALLY solely have an effect on you should you’re doing hours and hours of strenuous exercise. That report talked about above was important on this level. If you happen to’re simply understanding for 45 minutes, consuming water all through the exercise and afterward will preserve you lots hydrated. You’ll be able to forgo a sports activities drink.

Nevertheless, should you’re operating a marathon, Gatorade may be a good suggestion.

You recognize what isn’t a good suggestion? Bourbon. Belief me on this one.

Nevertheless, I run a health web site right here. So I can’t let this be the ultimate phrase on Gatorade.

Is Gatorade wholesome?

Actuality test: Gatorade is basically sugar water with some electrolytes added.

And sugar can make you fat.

If you happen to’re trying to burn fats, consuming a 32 ozGatorade will in all probability put again all of the energy you simply burned off throughout your exercise (there are about 200-240 energy in there, most of which is sugar).

It comes right down to whole energy consumed vs. whole energy burned daily. To lose physique fats, it’s essential to be in a caloric deficit, which means it’s essential to burn greater than you devour. Ingesting Gatorade could make this equation tougher to tip in your favor.

So if you’re doing average train, and even strenuous train for a shorter (an hour or so) period of time, water ought to suffice.

In case you are operating marathons or doing hours of intense work, then replenishing your electrolytes is essential. And a method to try this may very well be Gatorade.

Simply don’t sit in your sofa consuming donuts and consuming Gatorade, regardless of the presence of electrolytes. The sugar will go straight to your intestine!

Are you doomed? Do you must drink sugar water to get sufficient electrolytes?


All types of meals include electrolytes. Our caveman ancestors didn’t have entry to Fierce: Melon. They needed to get their electrolytes from meals.

That is nonetheless a superb technique.

Listed below are some concepts on tips on how to eat your electrolytes:

  • Fish. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel all have excessive concentrations of calcium. A weight loss program excessive in fish, like the Mediterranean, may be a good suggestion on this regard.
  • Fruit. Bananas, in addition to oranges and melons, are a superb supply of potassium. So are avocados, that are additionally technically within the fruit household.
  • Nuts and seeds. If you happen to’re on the lookout for meals with magnesium, look to nuts and seeds. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin and watermelon seeds are all an awesome supply of magnesium.
  • Spinach. This leafy inexperienced is packed stuffed with electrolytes. One cup of spinach comprises 839 mg of potassium, 245 mg of calcium, and 157 mg of magnesium. Popeye was on to one thing.

I’ll additionally notice, that almost all REAL meals (mushrooms, lentils, peas), may have micronutrients like electrolytes. Processed meals like a Twinkie? Not a lot.

If you happen to eat a weight loss program containing largely REAL meals, you need to be positive on electrolytes. We advanced to get our vitamins from the meals we eat. In order for you extra steering on what wholesome consuming means, be sure to take a look at our Guide on Healthy Eating. We clarify what REAL meals is, plus offer you steering on tips on how to transfer your weight loss program in that route.

It ought to be famous that if you wish to complement with additional electrolytes, you don’t must swig Gatorade. There are many electrolytes on the market. Combine some with water after a exercise and also you’ll be good to go. This, plus frivolously salting your meals will do the trick.

I’ll finish this part by saying that some low-carb diets like Keto could cause you to lose water and electrolytes together with it. We dive within the topic fairly closely in our guide, however it’s good to remember that if you’re going low-carb, you’ll probably want extra electrolytes than the typical particular person.

Okay. That about does it. Nevertheless, I promised we’d get to it.


We began this text speaking about pee. And like a Quentin Tarantino film, that’s how we’ll finish it. With pee. This joke labored in my head…

  • Do you may have pale yellow pee? You’re proper on monitor.
  • Shiny or darkish yellow pee? Make a couple of extra journeys to the water cooler.
  • Mountain Dew coloured pee? Your physique is severely dehydrated.
  • Another shade of the rainbow? RUN to the physician.


PS: In order for you an accountability companion to reply all of your health questions, I’ll once more remind you of the Nerd Fitness Coaching Program. We may give you suggestions on exercises, diet, and different way of life habits. We are able to even check out the colour of your pee to see should you’re dehydrated.[2]

**All photograph credit may be discovered proper right here[3]**