What is electrolyte infused water & what are the benefits?

It may sound like another fitness buzzword but electrolytes actually play an important role in how your body functions and there are a number of benefits to drinking electrolyte infused water and other sports drinks. 

Here, we discuss the benefits of electrolyte water and who or why you might want to drink it.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and are found in blood, tissues, organs, and other bodily fluids. They’re distributed through the fluid in your body and their electrical energy helps to support important bodily functions such as muscle health, blood pressure, and fluid balance. 

Some common electrolytes found in sports drinks and electrolyte water include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It’s a common misperception that electrolyte water is superior to regular water to keep you hydrated when, in reality, it depends on the circumstances. 

Electrolyte water may be beneficial if you’re at risk of losing minerals very quickly such as if you’re unwell, exercising or sweating excessively, or are in an unusually hot climate. If none of these apply then it’s likely that regular water will work just fine to keep you hydrated.

What is an electrolyte drink?

Electrolyte water and drinks are those which have been infused with electrolytes. Many sports drinks boast the powers of electrolytes and often have carbohydrates and sugars added as well as the yummy flavours to help support our body and muscles during exercise.  

You can easily make your own electrolyte drink with a few ingredients you probably have in your cupboard, but most tap water is also infused with electrolytes so it’s not always necessary to make your own. On average, 34 ounces (1 liter) of tap water contains 2–3% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for sodium, calcium and magnesium although there’s little to no potassium.

Who should drink water with electrolytes

If you eat a healthy diet and drink adequate water - so that your urine is clear to pale yellow - you don't need to drink electrolyte drinks on a regular basis because your electrolyte levels should be balanced. However, if you lose more fluid than you take in and get dehydrated, you lose electrolytes and may need to drink a sports drink to avoid becoming dehydrated. 

Symptoms of dehydration include dark-colored urine, extreme thirst, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and infrequent urination. If you have these symptoms, have been very unwell,  or have done a lot of exercise, you may find that one of these drinks will help. 

Electrolyte water benefits include: 

  • Improved rehydration for athletes due to the ability to absorb and balance water better.
  •  They help keep the amount of water in your body balanced. 
  •  Help maintain pH levels and help move nutrients in and out of cells.  
  •  Electrolytes also help muscles, nerves, and organs work properly.

Can I drink electrolyte water everyday?

It’s not necessary to drink electrolyte drinks every day as doing so may mean you’re consuming too much of one of the minerals. It’s best to drink them only when you need to. 

But for those days when you do need the extra boost of hydration, why not give making your own a try? Once made, pour it into areusable stainless steel water bottle to help avoid the drinks in plastic bottles and keep single-use plastic out of the oceans and landfills. 

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