When many adults hear the word “electrolytes,” they think these hydrating substances are only needed by children, the elderly, and professional athletes. However, every adult body needs electrolytes, regardless of age, level of activity, or lifestyle habits. Here’s what adults need to know about the various types of electrolytes and their functions, as well as why electrolytes are so important between the ages of 18 and 65.
The Different Types of Electrolytes
As the name suggests, electrolytes are chemical compounds that can contain ions and conduct electricity when in a solution. We commonly think of electrolytes being in sports drinks, but they also help water molecules flow across the membranes of cells and even enable battery functionality. Ultimately, electrolytes are important to help your body’s cells regulate their natural electric charges and the water flow across cell membranes. Many chemicals, including sodium chloride (table salt), contains electrolytes. Other chemical compounds that are electrolytes include nitric acid, calcium chloride, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and magnesium hydroxide. Some of these electrolytes compounds are components of foods and medicines, while others should be handled with caution. In the diet, sodium is useful in stimulating the nerves and muscles, as well as regulating the amount of bodily water. Meanwhile, potassium and magnesium are excreted when you sweat and need to be replenished throughout the day.
What Happens to the Adult Body When It’s Dehydrated?
Adults become dehydrated for many different reasons, including travel, alcohol consumption, exercise, and . Dehydration occurs when the body loses too many fluids or electrolytes compared to the amount of fluids being consumed. When this happens, the adult body is unable to function normally and begins experiencing the common symptoms of dehydration. Adult bodies commonly experience increased thirst, feel tired, have less urine output, have headaches, and experience dry skin when dehydrated. It is also very possible for adults to become dizzy, have a dry mouth, and have few or no tears as a result of dehydration.
The Importance of Electrolytes for Adults
The adult body needs a steady supply of pure water throughout the day, but oftentimes just water isn’t enough for the body to operate at an optimal level. When combined with pure water, electrolyte-rich foods and drinks prevent cramping during exercise and physically demanding household chores or jobs. Various bodily systems, including the digestive, nervous, muscular, and cardiovascular systems depend upon electrolytes to run properly and prevent the formation of disease and discomfort. These examples are just a few of the many reasons why adults of all ages should pay more attention to their daily electrolyte intakes.
How Adults Can Get More Daily Electrolytes
Fortunately, there are easy and convenient ways that adults can get the hydration they need on a daily basis, beyond simply drinking more water. Many fruits and vegetables contain electrolytes, such as milk, yogurt, bananas, watermelon, and avocados. Potassium-rich foods are great for maintaining a balance of water and electrolytes in the body. You can also get the electrolytes your body needs through beverages, including Hydralyte’s oral electrolyte solution drink. Hydralyte electrolyte solutions contain 75 percent less sugar and four times the electrolytes than the leading sports drinks, which means that you’ll get all of the health benefits of electrolytes without any unwanted ingredients. Finally, low-fat and fat-free milk are also effective in replacing electrolytes if your body does not have a sensitivity to dairy products.