All too often when we consider our diet in the pursuit of our health we either measure the amount of food we need based on how many calories are in it, or the types of calories. We also acknowledge the need to stay hydrated and drink enough fluids. Those who are more conscious of how their health works often move from there to the overall quality of the food they eat in considering the amount of vitamins or antioxidants they contain. During this growth in understanding one category of nutrients that often gets overlooked, and surprisingly so, is the minerals. Minerals are essential. They function in structural roles such as our skeleton as well as functional roles to maintain balance in every aspect of our physiology. Perhaps the greatest area where we would notice their effects is in keeping us hydrated. Many think that if feel dehydrated they can just consume a sports drink and that will solve the problem. While many minerals are only required in small milligram intakes and others are beneficial in just trace amounts, one group that we require grams upon grams every day of and yet countless research suggests we don’t get enough of is the electrolyte class. By this class I am referring to Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, and Magnesium. So critical are these nutrients that not only do we require more than 7 grams a day, but our bodies readily lose them with the expectation that more is coming in constantly in the diet. That may have been true in previous generations as we recognize that significant sources of dietary minerals came through the consumption of whole foods and natural water sources, however in today’s world we are bombarded with over processed food, poor agricultural soil, and filtered water, not to mention highly varied dietary patterns that may limit meaningful amounts. It is clear that we are not getting enough or in the right amounts, and as it relates to hydration typical sports drinks and electrolyte beverages do not satisfy our needs.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance or Adequate Intake levels of the big 4 Electrolyte minerals are as
Sodium: less than 2300mg/day (<1500mg for those with blood pressure/metabolic health concerns)
Potassium: at least 3400mg/day (lowered from 4700mg/day, with no established RDA. Overall consumption is tightly linked to sodium consumption)
Magnesium: 420mg/day (increased from 400mg/day. Upper Limit is set as 350mg at once, due to laxative effect of some supplement forms)
Calcium: 1300mg/day (increased from 1000mg/day to support skeletal health, especially as we age)
These minerals have a strong relationship with each other. They work as a group, and as such need to be in balance according to our needs. One example that is especially concerning in today’s day and age is when we overconsume sodium while under consuming potassium. These both prevent sodium and
potassium from working properly long term while putting a strain on our heart and kidneys to maintain hydration and electrolyte potential. Sodium works to keep fluid outside of our cells, while potassium works to keep fluids inside our cells. They are also used in helping to transfer nutrients in and out of our
cells, almost like a cellular currency, while maintaining the proper pH of our bodily systems. Overconsuming sodium puts a strain on our potassium levels, which has to be resolved in the strain it places on the kidneys to remove the excess. Furthermore, this balance is responsible for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. When potassium levels are too low compared to sodium, it pulls excess fluids into the blood which contributes to blood pressure increasing. All of this points to one of the most profound health changes we can make, which is to increase our potassium intake relative to sodium to minimally balance out sodium consumption, while maximally supporting systemic and cellular health. In all this we have to ask ourselves: Does my sports drink or electrolyte beverage address this problem? Another example that has become more apparent in today’s health is the relationship between calcium and magnesium. Even if we consume the right amount of calcium every day, the majority of us do not consume enough magnesium. This presents another imbalance, as both of these minerals are responsible for contraction/relaxation of muscular tissue (including the heart), maintaining the health of bone preservation, and surprisingly even colon health. As magnesium intake decreases relative to
calcium, we risk problems with metabolic health across the board. Once again we have to ask does my sports drink or electrolyte beverage address this problem? It is therefore critical to our health to consume and maintain good amounts of the big 4 Electrolytes not only to maintain the proper fluid balance, it is also essential for people to maintain our health as a whole. They support each other, balance each other’s function, and preserve each other’s bodily levels. The conclusion is simple: get more electrolytes with emphasis on Potassium and Magnesium in your diet, and bring more balance back to them. Real Electrolytes is designed to address the most pressing issues we have concerning overall health, mineral consumption, and hydration using Real Foods and High Potencies.