When you sweat you lose more than just water, you lose vital electrolytes. Refueling and rehydrating after intense training is second nature for some athletes. However, not everyone realizes the importance of replenishing key electrolytes lost through perspiration, and that it can make or break performance.
Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are electrically charged minerals that travel through the blood and extracellular fluid. They regulate the body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, recovery of damaged tissues, and nerve and muscle function. Electrolyte levels are tightly controlled within a strict concentration range by the kidneys and a variety of hormones.
While all electrolytes are important, special attention should be paid to maintaining sodium and potassium levels to protect against muscular and neurological deficits that can hinder performance.
The most highly concentrated electrolyte in sweat is sodium. A study of an elite soccer team during a 90-minute training session found on average two grams of sodium were lost through sweat (1). These sodium losses can cause impaired mental and physical performance (2).
Sodium plays a key role in many important processes, including the vital regulation of cellular charge balances. As a positively charged ion, sodium works in contrast with the negatively charged potassium to create cell membrane potential. The charge-driven activity of membrane potential drives normal muscle and nerve function (3).
Maintaining stable sodium levels is especially important during an intense workout to avoid a drop in blood pressure. When sodium levels are low, the amount of extracellular fluid in circulation decreases resulting in less blood volume and a lowered blood pressure, which can cause fatigue or worse depending on how low levels drop (4).
Potassium is also particularly important for athletes due to its role in regulating fluid and nutrient balance across cell membranes, which affects muscle and neuron activity (3). Without enough potassium in the body, muscle cramping and weakness, along with low energy is common.
Even though not as much potassium is lost in sweat as sodium, it’s still important to restore depleted levels after a workout. This is because significant changes in potassium levels in the blood can be dangerous. When potassium levels fall far below the normal range, the nerve impulses that cause the heart muscles to contract are disrupted. In some extreme cases this can result in a dangerous irregular heart beat or arrhythmia (5).
Sports drinks are a great tool to help rehydrate and restore electrolyte balance, especially when exhaustive workouts or athletic events cause substantial loss of fluids and electrolytes. However, many popular sports drinks contain excess sugar and calories that make them an unhealthy choice for most people, not to mention the artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners that are common in typical sports drinks.
Competitive athletes and people engaged in intense physical training are not the only ones who can benefit from electrolyte replenishment. Everyone loses fluids and electrolytes during the day and factors like physical activity or warm weather can increase loses.
Isagenix created AMPED™ Hydrate with both competitive athletes and everyday active people in mind. It’s a a refreshing, natural electrolyte drink that replenishes nutrients lost throughout the day and during exercise. AMPED Hydrate doesn’t have the added sugar and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners found in typical sports drinks. It’s made with natural ingredients, provides 15 to 20 calories per serving, and contains 0 grams of sugar. Anyone can benefit from AMPED Hydrate as a refreshing way to replenish fluids and electrolytes any time throughout the day.
- Maughan RJ, et al .Water balance and salt losses in competitive football. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007 Dec;17(6):583-94.
- Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner EL et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:377-390.
- Higdon Jane. Sodium (Chloride). Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health. 2004 Feb.
- Sahay M, Sahay R. Hyponatremia: A practical approach. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Nov-Dec; 18(6): 760–771.
- 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care: Part 10.1: Life-Threatening Electrolyte Abnormalities Circulation. 2005;112:IV-121-IV-125.