Friday, August 29, 2008

What Is An Electrolyte Anyway?

If you're like me, you probably throw around the word "electrolyte" regularly without really knowing what they are. It's that salty stuff that helps you consumer water, right? ;-)

Dr. Shawn Dolan at First Endurance has an updated article about electrolytes that spelled it out quite thoroughly. Here's a sample that taught me something about how the body triggers thirst:
"During exercise, the body loses fluids and sodium through sweating. This causes a decrease in blood volume, thereby increasing sodium and chloride concentrations in the blood. The increased concentration of electrolytes in the blood through decreased blood volume is what triggers the thirst mechanism. By the time an athlete becomes thirsty; the electrolytes are already out of balance, so restoration of blood volume is critical for the prevention of dehydration. Water consumption is effective in increasing blood volume; however, there is a consequential dilution of sodium in the blood due to the increased blood volume and excessive sodium losses in sweat, so electrolyte replenishment is key."
Electrolyte concentration triggers thirst...who knew? Go here to read the whole article. It's worth checking out.

- SD


  1. Thats good to know. A lot of people are unaware of the possibility of literally diluting themselves with too much water and to little salts.

  2. Great info! Thanks, Scott. I just spent nearly an hour reading and going through data.
    The people I run with tend to go overboard with e-caps and s-caps. I think they're more than likely puking because of too many. Some consume over 70 capsules in a 100M event. Then they still seem to think they were hypo- instead of hypernatremic. Go figure.
    I consume maybe 3-5 during cool 50M events, and the rest comes from food and sport drink. I never have stomach problems or cramps.
    Of course, everyone is different. We have to find our balance. But if they are puking, they aren't balanced.

  3. Excellent information. That really helps explain a lot.
    I still can not get over the people I see drinking all the fad E-drinks and sports drinks all day long when they don't need them. Saying something about it usually gets me the death stare.

  4. Hi Scott
    Sorry to approach you this way - Couldn't find your email anywhere... could you please contact me via mine?
    Thank you

  5. yes it(electrolytes) s vital in emergency / non stop vomiting / drowsiness etc..

    - Even a glucose drink will not
    help. but electrolyte is great source.
    there is some home methods to prepare it if you cant get it from a pharmacy

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