Step 2 to the Healthy Writer Life: Boost Electrolytes

Another step I take in addition to drinking lots of quality water to feel my best and get through long days of writing, exercising, and chores, is to take or drink electrolytes. I have at least two servings a day, and when I don’t, I wake up during the night with cotton socks in my mouth, feel sluggish all day, and urinate more frequently. How annoying is it to run to the bathroom ten times when you’re in the writing zone?

“Aren’t electrolytes just for athletes?” you ask. No! Everyone needs them (even more as we age), and just like the hydration issue (see Step 1), many of us are deficient.

Woman at desk holding her aching head

Why Are Electrolytes Important?

Electrolytes – sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, molybdenum, copper, and chromium –are essential to life.

For one, our cells can’t absorb the fluids we intake without these. That’s why, when you drink a lot of water and pee it all out, it’s just flowing through your body instead of plumping up your cells. Cells need hydration to survive.

Additionally, our nervous system needs electrolytes to conduct energy. In fact, electrolytes are substances (minerals) that conduct electricity when they dissolve in water. They help regulate the heart, hormones, brain function, digestion, and more.

I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty scientific details here, other than to say it is nearly impossible to get the level of cellular hydration and nervous system function needed from just plain water.

Electrolytes – magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium (and other trace minerals) – help our cells fully absorb the water and fluids we drink and get rid of the fluids we don’t need. They are critical to our nervous system, heart function, and movement.

Other benefits of having enough electrolytes: 

  • Sustained energy
  • Less fatigue
  • A normal amount of thirst
  • Fewer trips to the bathroom
  • Better brain function
  • A happy heart
  • Fewer cravings/better digestion
  • Lower stress reactivity
  • And the snack monster is less active

How do you know if you need electrolytes beyond your dietary food intake?

How do you know if you need electrolytes beyond your dietary food intake? The signs of deficiency mimic dehydration symptoms with the addition of nervous system issues, such as heart palpitations, brain fog, muscle cramps, and limb numbness and tingling.

Most of us need electrolytes beyond what we get from diet alone and it doesn’t hurt to supplement with them. There’s no reason to wait until you’re so deficient your body breaks down and tells you. Being proactive means you have one less thing to worry about.

Older woman kicking up her heels in her home office

How to Boost Your Electrolytes

Most people start with one serving of liquid or capsules per day. There’s no right or wrong to this. I was drinking two 16 oz. glasses of Ultima sugar-free, preservative-free electrolytes mixed with filtered (Kangen) water, daily, until I developed a sensitivity to stevia. Now I take Hi-Lite capsules, several a day (can take up to 10), depending on how I feel and how much I sweat.

What about getting electrolytes from a mineral-rich diet, like eating melon, banana, avocado, leafy greens, nuts, coconut, etc.? If you can eat enough of these foods in a day, that’s wonderful! But most of us just don’t get enough.

You will also get some electrolytes from your tap water and they are found in spring water too, but the ratio may vary, and usually, we don’t get enough from these sources. The bottom line is this: fighting free radicals, sweating, and stress all deplete our electrolyte reserves, especially as we age. We need enough of these “essential” minerals to function at our best.

I wouldn’t want to get through the day without them!

Brands I like …

  1. Ultima Replenisher comes in delicious flavors and seems to work better for me than some others. It’s more complete, but it does contain stevia, which I can no longer have.
  2. BodyHealthcom has a unique electrolyte powder plus amino acids.
  3. Hi-Lite capsules I take now.

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of brands on the market. Just be sure to look for organic, non-GMO ingredients with macro and trace electrolytes together.

Did you know, when electrolytes are out of balance, our bodies think we’re starving? Feeling hungry all the time is more often from thirst and dehydration than hunger.

As with anything natural, there is some controversy about whether we need to supplement with electrolytes, but, personally, I feel different when I have them and when I don’t. I am prone to heart palpitations and other things that only enough electrolytes and minerals seem to manage. I also know I don’t eat enough of exactly the right things every single day to give my body the essential electrolytes and minerals it needs, despite my best efforts.

As with anything, please check with your healthcare practitioner before starting new supplements of any kind.

The Moral of the Story – Give Your Body What It Craves, It Will Give You What You Need

Woman walking with a big smile

If more energy, a clearer mind, and the stamina to get through your busy writer life sounds like a dream come true, it might be as easy as adding electrolytes to your daily routine. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to me or feel free to join the conversation.

The text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the Healthy Writer Life website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your distinct healthcare needs and/or medical condition. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on the Healthy Writer Life website. Regular exercise and dietary needs vary for each individual; you are responsible for your own health and safety at all times.

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