Electrolytes are minerals that are naturally present in the body. They have an electric charge
and are in the blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are life-critical. They
balance the amount of water in your body, body's acid/base (pH) level, Moves nutrients into
your cells, and wastes out of your cells. It also is responsible for making nerves, muscles,
the heart, and the brain work as intended. Key amongst them are Sodium, calcium,
potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium. The foods, the fluids we eat daily are rich
sources of electrolytes.
Health issues start with an imbalance in the levels of electrolyte levels, where they become
too low or too high, possibly due to changes in the amount of water in the body. The body
should replace the water it loses, and if something causes imbalance, it can result in
dehydration or overhydration. In other cases, these imbalances are caused by ingesting
medicines, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and liver or kidney problems. The common causes
for dehydration include exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, diaphoresis, diarrhea,
vomiting, intoxication or starvation. Athletes exercising in extreme conditions for three or
more hours continuously while not consuming electrolytes risk dehydration.
Electrolytes, specifically and critically, are involved in maintaining precise osmotic gradients
of electrolytes. These gradients affect and regulate the hydration of the body as well as
blood pH. Hydration regulation is critical for nerve and muscle function. Different species
have developed various mechanisms that help in maintaining the concentrations of different
electrolytes under tight control
Svante Arrhenius first defined solid crystalline salts disassociating into paired charged
particles when dissolved in 1884. This lead to further research and development into
electrolytes, for which he won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Dosage and administration
A blood test is conducted to measure electrolytes with ion-selective electrodes or urinalysis
by medical technologists. It is available as tablets, sachets, and effervescent tablets. In oral
rehydration therapy, the users are given electrolyte drinks, combining sodium and potassium
salts to replenish the body's water and electrolyte concentrations after dehydration.
You can make a home-made electrolyte drink using water, sugar, and salt in precise
proportions. Glucose is critical in this mix as it is utilized in the co-transport mechanism of
sodium and glucose. Electrolytes are widely sold and are present in everyday products like
fruit juices, sports drinks, milk, nuts, and many fruits and vegetables.
The cost of Electrolytes
In the USA, A supply of 20 tablets costs between USD 5 and USD 8 and the 20 sachets cost
between USD 8 and USD 24. However, it is much cheaper in the developing world. In India,
the branded, flavored supply of 0.55 lbs costs around USD 7.
How do Electrolytes Work?
Electrolytes conduct electricity when mixed with water. Multicellular lifeforms evolve and
survive due to this subtle but complex electrolyte balance between the intracellular and
extracellular environments. Electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the
body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and repair damaged tissue. The muscles and
neurons are also called the “electric tissues” of the body.
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