What Are Electrolytes and How Can They Keep Us Properly Hydrated?

April 28, 2021

What Are Electrolytes and How Can They Keep Us Properly Hydrated?


Electrolytes are essential minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and others that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and are found inside and outside the cells1. Essential bodily functions rely on the small electrical charge that electrolytes provide.  Some of these functions include nerve impulses, muscle contractions, balancing pH and hydration maintenance. An electrolyte imbalance can be detrimental to overall health, the most common of which are imbalances of sodium and potassium. This is a particular concern for certain populations such as athletes, the elderly and those with certain medical conditions2.

Electrolyte imbalances usually occur due to dehydration and dehydration usually causes further electrolyte imbalances. Dehydration is a major concern in healthcare today and is one of the leading causes for hospitalization. Along with adequate water consumption, the use of electrolytes can help prevent dehydration. The body needs to keep the right amount of water inside and outside cells to be properly hydrated and prevent them from either shriveling up or bursting3. Electrolytes such as sodium regulate the amount of fluid in the body by telling cells in the body cells how much water to hold onto or let go of. This process is called osmosis. The body can become dehydrated and electrolyte imbalanced through exercise, weather conditions, bouts of diarrhea and vomiting or from certain medications.  Incorporating electrolytes into water during consumption can bring the body back to hydration homeostasis. 

But how can we incorporate more electrolytes into our daily routine? Fruits and vegetables contain electrolytes - so a balanced healthy diet can keep your electrolytes in check. However, more aggressive interventions might be needed to replenish levels in the body in certain situations that can cause more instances of dehydration. There are many mineral supplements on the market that can be found either isolated or as a blend.  These can be as convenient as mixing in with water.

At Healthquest Vitamins and healthquestvitamins.com we have these key electrolytes in isolated forms from brands such as Pure Encapsulations, Bluebonnet, Natural Factors and others. For electrolyte mixture products we carry brands such as Ultima and Trace Minerals.



  1. Terry J. The major electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and chloride. J Intraven Nurs. 1994 Sep-Oct;17(5):240-7. PMID: 7965369.
  2. Shirreffs SM, Sawka MN. Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S39-46. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.614269. PMID: 22150427.
  3. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 15.8, Osmosis, Water Channels, and the Regulation of Cell Volume. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21739/

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