Electrolytes

Electrolytes are important to your health.   You can’t always get enough in your food.

Why are they important to your health?

Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that are important for the cells in the body to function and allow the body to work. The major electrolytes  found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium – there are others.

Electrolytes are critical in allowing cells to generate energy, maintain the stability of the cell walls, and to function in general. Electrolytes generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body inside and outside of the cells, and participate in many other activities.

The concentration of electrolytes in the body is controlled by hormones, most of which are manufactured in the kidney and the adrenal glands. There are specialized kidney cells that monitor the amount of sodium, potassium, and water in the bloodstream.

The body functions in a very narrow range of normal, and it is hormones keep the electrolyte balance within those normal limits.

An example of keeping electrolyte concentrations in balance includes turning on the thirst mechanism when the body gets dehydrated.

Electrolyte: Sodium (Na)

Sodium is most often found outside the cell, in the plasma (liquid) of the bloodstream. It is a significant part of water regulation in the body, since water goes where the sodium goes. If there is too much sodium in the body, perhaps due to high salt intake in the diet from table salt and processed foods, the sodium is excreted by the kidney, and water follows.

Sodium is an important electrolyte that helps with electrical signals in the body, allowing muscles and the brain to work. It is of the action that keeps sodium in the plasma and potassium inside the cell where they are needed.

Symptoms of Sodium Imbalance

Too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction. Symptoms are lethargy, confusion, weakness, swelling, seizures, and coma.

Potassium (K)

Potassium is mostly inside the cells of the body. The difference in concentration from within the cell to the outside of the cell is essential in the generation of the electrical impulses in the body that allow muscles and the brain to function.

Potassium Imbalance

Too much potassium can cause abnormal electrical conduction in the heart and can create heart rhythm problems.

Too little potassium can happen when the body loses too much from vomiting, diarrhea, sweating ad meications such as diuretics and laxatives.

Electrolyte: Calcium (Ca)

Calcium metabolism in the body is closely linked to magnesium levels.

Calcium Imbalance

Too much calcium is associated with kidney stones, abdominal pain and depression Too much calcium can be associated with heart rhythm disturbances.

Too little calcium symptoms include weakness, muscle spasms, and heart rhythm disturbance.

Electrolyte: Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium is involved with a variety of metabolic activities in the body, including relaxation of the smooth muscles that surround the bronchial tubes in the lung, skeletal muscle contraction, and excitation of neurons in the brain. Magnesium acts as part of many of the body’s enzyme activities.

Magnesium levels in the body are closely linked with sodium, potassium, and calcium metabolism; and are regulated by the kidney. Magnesium enters the body through the diet. Too little magnesium stimulates absorption from the intestine, while too much decreases the absorption.

Conditions of Magnesium Imbalance

Common causes of low magnesium include too much alcohol and associated malnutrition, chronic diarrhea, and medications like diuretics (water pills used to control high blood pressure). More than half of hospitalized patients in ICUs may become magnesium deficient.

Symptoms involve the heart with rhythm abnormalities, muscles with weakness and cramps, and the nervous system, potentially causing confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.

Too much magnesium in the blood stream and most often occurs in patients with kidney function problems in which the excretion of magnesium is limited. Since the absorption and excretion of magnesium is linked to other electrolytes.

Symptoms can include heart rhythm disturbances, muscle weakness, nausea  and vomiting, and breathing difficulties.

Electrolyte: Bicarbonate (HCO3)

This electrolyte is an important component of the equation that keeps the acid-base status of the body in balance.

Water + Carbon Dioxide = Bicarbonate + Hydrogen

This electrolyte helps buffer the acids that build up in the body as normal byproducts of metabolism. For example, when muscles are working, they produce lactic acid as a byproduct of energy formation. HCO3 is required to react with and form carbon dioxide

Summary:

Electrolytes are minerals, such as sodium and potassium that are found in the body. They keep your body’s fluids in balance and help keep your body working normally, including your heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and brain function.

RECOMMENDED

Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder

Flu Activity is High this Season? What can be done?

There is a lot of talk this year about how bad the flu is, they even report on the news of  the deaths.   Of course, they are also talking about getting a flu shot?   Does that work?

I’ve heard from many people how they got the flu shot and still got the flu, but then the answer has been, it would have been worse if they didn’t get the flu shot.   I’m skeptical. I know one person who rarely gets sick much less gets a flu, but her doctor talked her into getting one this year.  Yes, she got sick.

Whatever you think about this, you should some information to help with the flu if you do get it (or even if you get a cold)

Here is our article on Flu

Here is an article by Dr. Axe regarding  What the Virus does to the Nervous System

Worried About Taking Vitamin B6

Some people have asked about the vitamin B6 they are taking as a result of using the Nerve Support Formula. This question is one that people ask about any B6 in any formula.

The Linus Pauling Institute found that adverse effects have only been documented from vitamin B6 supplements and never from food sources.

Therefore, safety concerning only the supplemental form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, also called pyridoxine hydrochloride) is discussed here.

Although vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is excreted in the urine, long-term supplementation with very high doses of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) may result in painful neurological symptoms known as sensory neuropathy.

Symptoms include pain and numbness of the extremities and in severe cases, difficulty walking. Sensory neuropathy typically develops at doses of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) in excess of 1,000 mg a day.

However, there have been a few case reports of individuals who developed sensory neuropathies at doses of less than 500 mg of Vitamin B6 daily over a period of months.

None of the studies in which a neurological examination was performed reported evidence of sensory nerve damage at intakes below 200 mg of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) daily.

To prevent sensory neuropathy in virtually all individuals, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine set the tolerable upper intake level for pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) at 100 mg/day for adults.

Please let me know if this answers any questions you might have had on this subject.