What Are Electrolytes?
You’ve probably heard of electrolytes on the topic of sports and athletics. But electrolytes are important for everyone. But what are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are basically just various types of salts that help regulate the flow of water into and out of your cells. Some include1:
These electrolytes help create nerve impulses (signals from your brain how to keep breathing, digesting, and pumping blood), allow for proper muscle contraction, regulate pH levels of the body, and a bunch of other stuff that keeps you alive. Without electrolytes, your cells would shrivel up and die, so your body takes electrolyte regulation seriously (and so should you!)
Bottom line: electrolytes are super important. Don’t neglect them.
Do You Have an Electrolyte Imbalance? If You’re Feeling Hungover, your Answer is Probably Yes
Our bodies are pretty good at regulating proper levels of electrolytes. But day to day we do things that drain our electrolytes like working out and sweating a ton, drinking alcohol and peeing all our electrolytes out, or just by not drinking enough water in general. Also, any sickness that causes vomiting or diarrhea is going to dehydrate you and deplete your electrolytes.
Electrolyte imbalance is one of those things where you often don’t feel or see symptoms of it until it’s “too late” meaning your body has already done its best at helping you out, but now you’ve got to give it something to work with (aka, drink an electrolyte beverage).
Bottom line: if you’ve drank alcohol, worked out, vomited or had diarrhea, you need to drink some electrolytes.
Electrolyte Imbalance and Hangovers:
Some of the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include:
- Brain fog
- Muscle weakness or cramping
Sound familiar? So much of what causes a hangover is actually just dehydration (more on that here). In order to help prevent these symptoms, make sure to replenish electrolytes after you drink, but before you go to sleep. Waiting to replenish electrolytes hours after they’ve been depleted will make it more likely that you’ll have a hangover
Sources of Electrolytes:
You can get electrolytes from your diet naturally, or from beverages that are fortified with electrolytes (like DrinkLyte). Some foods high in electrolytes include table salt, pickled foods, bananas, avocado, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, dairy products, and leafy greens.
If you want to really be a superstar at preventing a hangover, make sure to follow these rules which include what foods and beverages you should eat before and after drinking.