Electrolytes might sound like something that only athletes need on training days but these minerals are essential for each of us. There are lots of reasons why you might need to quickly replace electrolytes but there's often more going on you'll need to address too.
With so many health articles and products on sale, it can be overwhelming to work out what's good for you. Many health companies sell vitamins and minerals in isolation too, ignoring the interconnectedness of the body's systems. To stay in top health though, it's important to see the body as a whole.
If you want to know why probiotics and electrolytes are a match made in heaven, keep reading. We'll show you how these two types of nutrients work in tandem.
Why Electrolytes Are Mission Critical
Electrolytes don't often get as much media time as trendy things like omega-3, 'superfoods' or quinoa everything, but don't think they're not vital.
So what are electrolytes? They are, quite literally, electrifying.
An electrolyte is a compound that conducts electricity in the body and allows many vital functions to happen. Yes, it's true, the human body does need electricity to work.
Electrolytes include sodium, potassium and calcium and are found in many of the foods you eat as part of a healthy diet. Even minor electrolyte imbalances can cause unpleasant symptoms though and if your electrolyte levels drop too much, you'll find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.
Electrolyte imbalances, where you have too much of a certain electrolyte and not enough of another, can cause the following symptoms:
- Heartbeat irregularities
How Do You Lose Electrolytes?
In your normal, day-to-day life, a healthy diet should be enough to keep your electrolytes in balance. Vegetables, fruits and fish all contain the electrolytes you need to stay healthy. Sometimes though, it's not enough.
Sweat is a major cause of electrolyte loss if you're not keeping on top of your hydration. As electrolytes need water to work, a drop in your body's water levels can have a severe impact on your electrolyte function.
When you sweat, you're not only losing water. Your sweat is salty because it contains sodium and other electrolytes. When you sweat a lot, through sports or in a hot place, you'll need to replace those electrolytes as well as the water you've lost. If you don't, you may soon start feeling the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance.
Another common way to lose electrolytes is through vomiting and diarrhoea. These are both extremely dehydrating and rob you off electrolytes and other nutrients very suddenly. Vomiting and diarrhoea are traumatic episodes for the body and it's vital that you take care to replenish lost nutrients and water as soon as possible.
How Probiotics Make Your Body Happy
Replacing lost electrolytes is usually done through drinking water and eating healthily. If you've been sweating a lot though or have been ill, you may well need to replace more lost electrolytes than usual and need to do it much more quickly. If your electrolyte loss is down to vomiting and diarrhoea, it's not only electrolytes you'll need to replace either.
The gut microbiota has been getting a lot of airtime recently because scientists have discovered that it's responsible for our overall health. This microbiota is made up of trillions of bacteria that work to breakdown the foods you eat. The health of your microbiota is directly linked to your general health and when they're negatively affected, you won't feel 100%.
Lots of things can mess with your microbiota long term, including several diseases and a diet high in sugar. Diarrhoea is also responsible for damaging your gut flora and when that good bacteria gets washed away, there's room for bad bacteria to grow in its place.
Probiotics are foods and supplements bursting with good bacteria. When you take probiotics, they make their way to your gut where they set up shop and stick around. As good bacteria stop bad bacteria from gaining a foothold, it's vital that you replace them when you've been ill. You should also take probiotics while you're ill, as they're well known to reduce the severity of diarrhoea.
Replace Electrolytes in Combination With Probiotics
Probiotics are great for your health which is why many people take them every day. If you've suffered an upset stomach, taking probiotics is a fast way to get your gut back to full health and make you feel a hundred times better.
By taking electrolytes and probiotics all in one, you're giving your body exactly what it needs to stay in top form. If you've had a hard day in the heat, at the gym or have had an upset stomach, these two powerhouses will put you back on your feet. Adding probiotics in with your electrolytes keeps your gut health strong and makes you much less susceptible to future upset stomachs.
Being hydrated with a good balance of electrolytes is also necessary for your gut health. Poor gut health is a risk factor for low electrolyte levels and low electrolyte levels stop your stomach acid from killing bad bacteria. As you can see, probiotics and electrolytes work in tandem to keep you healthy.
Understanding How Electrolytes and Probiotics Work Is the Path to Health
While there's plenty of advice telling you to replace electrolytes after exercise and illness, it's important to look at the bigger picture. When you take care of your electrolyte levels and your gut health, you'll thrive. Probiotics are vital for maintaining healthy gut microbiota and, bolstered by electrolytes, will keep you on top form.
Don't forget to keep hydrated every day too. Electrolytes and probiotics can only do their jobs when you consume adequate amounts of water.
If you'd like to take electrolytes and probiotics together in one easy supplement, check out our ORSBiotic™ powder. We've packed in the nutrients so you can enjoy all the goodness in a delicious citrus drink.
If you would like any more information regarding the contents of this article or have any questions you can head to our Virtual Clinic to book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our experienced Naturopaths.