7 Situations Where You Might Need to Take Electrolytes

Posted by Nicole on January 8

You probably are aware that electrolytes play many important roles in your body. They are involved in muscle contractions, fluid level regulation, blood pH range maintenance, nerve signals, blood clotting, and more.

But did you know there are times when your electrolytes may be depleted, and you might need to consume more in order to keep your body functioning at its best?

In this post, we will discuss various situations where you might want to consider upping your electrolyte intake.

1. When you get dehydrated

If you are dehydrated, your first instinct is probably to chug down a glass of water, right? Well, you do need to replenish your fluids, so drinking is important. But you need to be careful, because it is not just fluids you have lost. You also have depleted your electrolytes.

MedlinePlus says, “The levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high. This can happen when the amount of water in your body changes. The amount of water that you take in should equal the amount you lose. If something upsets this balance, you may have too little water (dehydration) or too much water (overhydration).”

So, either drink a beverage that contains electrolytes, or get them through diet or supplementation.

That way, you will be replacing the electrolytes you lost, and also reducing the chances that you will create further imbalance through overhydration.

2. When you are working out

Speaking of dehydration, there are a lot of times when it could happen, but one of the most common scenarios is when you are exercising.

In fact, if you are planning on working out, you might even want to think about drinking extra fluids and eating a snack that contains electrolytes before you exercise. That way, you are going in with what you need. Afterward, you can then have another small snack containing electrolytes and drink more water to replenish what you have lost.

3. When you have been drinking alcohol

Suffering from a hangover after a night of heavy drinking? It could be that part of why you feel so bad is because you are in desperate need of electrolytes.

MedlinePlus explains, “Electrolyte solutions (such as sports drinks) and bouillon soup are good for replacing the salt and potassium you lose from drinking alcohol.”

4. When you have been sick

Another way you can deplete your electrolytes (and dehydrate yourself) is by getting sick.

Any type of illness that gives you diarrhea or makes you throw up is going to ravage your electrolyte stores. If you have a fever, that too can result in a loss in electrolytes if you sweat profusely. So, if you forget to drink some fluids later and consume some electrolytes, you are going to start feeling even worse.

Eating and drinking after throwing up can be difficult sometimes. But you should try and replenish your lost stores as soon as you can hold something down.

If solid food is too much, you can always go with a liquid such as vegetable juice or a green smoothie. In fact, that is a good way to get your hydration and your electrolytes in one go.

5. When you are on a keto diet

It can be difficult for some people to get started with a ketogenic diet owing to a phenomenon called “low carb flu.” Basically, this is a situation where you feel sick initially while you are transitioning to a keto diet.

In fact, low carb flu is enough of a drag that some people just give up trying to switch to keto because of it. But there are ways you can prevent low carb flu or reduce its intensity.

One thing you can do is get a lot of electrolytes and fluids as you are making the transition to keto. If you start early on this and you are persistent with it, you should find the entire experience is smoother and easier.

6. When you have certain health conditions

Electrolyte depletion is sometimes the result of health conditions such as kidney disease or congestive heart failure. It is more common in older people as well when kidney function is no longer at its peak. If a health condition is involved in your electrolyte imbalance, you should speak with your medical provider to figure out the best approach to managing both issues.

7. When you are receiving certain treatments

On certain medications, you can experience electrolyte imbalance. It may result from some treatments for cancer too. If you think one of your treatments is causing you to run low on electrolytes, you should again talk directly with your healthcare provider.

Summary

It is always important to make sure we are getting electrolytes in our diet every day, but there are some situations that may call for a higher dose of them than usual.

Basically, anything that causes you to sweat, whether it be a hot day, sickness, or exercise, will deplete your electrolytes. So will switching to a keto diet or drinking a lot of alcohol. Some health conditions and treatments may also drain your electrolytes.

So, try and stay on top of things. Anticipate situations where you are likely to end up needing extra electrolytes. Then, increase your intake to maintain or restore your electrolyte balance. If you can do that, you will keep your body functioning at its best, and you will feel better too.