Les éléctrolytes et leurs fonctions

Electrolytes and their functions

Electrolytes and their functions

Electrolytes are compounds found in water that allow the flow of electrical current in our body. They play a crucial role in the proper functioning of cells, the maintenance of pH and nerve transmissions through different fluids and tissues. Some of the best-known ions include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In sweat, the concentration of sodium is the highest, while the losses of potassium, calcium and magnesium are relatively less.

It is important to understand that a loss of electrolytes can lead to a decrease in intensity during physical exercise, which is why top athletes pay great attention to avoiding any deficiency in these minerals.

Sodium plays an essential role, alongside potassium, in muscle contraction and nerve transmissions, while helping to maintain body fluid balance. If you have traces of salt on your clothes and you sweat profusely, it is important to compensate for this loss during physical exertion lasting more than 90 minutes. You can add between 300 and 500 mg of sodium per liter of liquid. People who sweat profusely can even go up to 700 mg per liter (a pinch of salt is usually enough!).

As for potassium, it is mainly found inside cells and its concentration in sweat is much lower. Insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruits can lead to potassium deficiency in many individuals. It is therefore recommended to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables such as bananas, vegetable juice, oranges, potatoes, as well as milk and almonds, for example. When hiking or going outdoors, dried fruits can also be a good snack to provide potassium. Yes, the little box of raisins!

Magnesium is a well-known mineral that is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. It plays an essential role in energy conversion, as well as muscle and nerve functions.

Finally, calcium is essential for the growth of bones and teeth, blood clotting, regulation of heart rate, muscle and nerve contractions. It also promotes the assimilation of vitamin B12 and is involved in numerous enzymatic reactions.

This is why electrolytes are essential for our body!

Study to confirm the information:

  • Montain SJ, Cheuvront SN, Lukaski HC. Sweat mineral-element responses during 7 h of exercise-heat stress. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007;17(6):574-582. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.17.6.574 (Response of mineral elements in sweat during 7 hours of exercise in hot conditions)
Back to blog