What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that can dissolve in water to form ions. Some of these positive and negative ions play essential roles in the body. The most important electrolytes in the body include:
While different electrolytes have different roles in the body, some of the essential functions of electrolytes are:
- Maintaining fluid balance
- Stabilizing blood pH
- Regulating muscle contractions
- Conducting nerve impulses
Proper electrolyte levels are critical for these processes to run smoothly. Electrolytes are lost from the body whenever fluid is lost, such as during sweating, urination, diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms of low electrolyte levels can range from fatigue and headache to muscle cramps and irregular heartbeat.
Why Consumers are Choosing Electrolytes
When active consumers reach for a beverage to support their workouts, electrolytes are high on the list. Due to high awareness among consumers of electrolyte losses through sweating, electrolytes are must-have beverage ingredients in sports hydration beverages. This becomes particularly important for consumers who are sweating heavily from exercising intensely, for long durations, or in hot environments.
Sports drinks and fortified waters are the most popular options for restoring electrolyte balance during and after exercise. Some consumers may also use products like coconut water, juices, or smoothies. However, these types of products may lack the levels and consistency found in beverages specifically formulated to support hydration.