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The Importance of Electrolytes & Minerals

The Importance of Electrolytes & Minerals

"The Body Is 5% Minerals. Yet, This 5% Controls 95% Of The Body's Metabolic Function" - Dr. Fred Bell

The Importance of Electrolytes & Minerals
Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate all carry electrical charges that are responsible for stimulating muscles and nerves. They also regulate the amount of fluids throughout your body, which affects cellular function, blood volume and blood pressure.

Trace minerals are inorganic nutrients that are used for many biological functions, such as digestion, growth and hormone regulation. Humans need less than 100mg of trace minerals daily; current research has not yet clearly defined how much are needed because they are difficult to measure.
 
Iron: Oxygen Transport
 
Iron, the most common trace mineral in the body, is needed to carry oxygen in the red blood cells' hemoglobin to all body parts. There are two kinds of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is from animal tissues and is readily absorbed when eaten, whereas nonheme iron is from plants and is difficult to absorb.  Good sources of heme iron include shellfish, red meats, tofu and fish.

Zinc: Enzyme Activities
 
Zinc is required for about 10 enzyme functions, including nucleic acid synthesis, immune function, wound healing, insulin storage and release and sex organ development. Lack of zinc in your diet can cause stunted growth, skin rash, diarrhea and poor wound healing. Excellent sources of zinc include seafood, beef, eggs, whole grains, nuts and beans.

 

Selenium: Antioxidant 

Selenium works with vitamin E as an antioxidant by protecting cells from free radical damage, such as from peroxides. Selenium participates in an enzyme function (glutathione peroxidase) that prevents free radical production by decreasing peroxide concentrations in the cell, while vitamin E can stop the cell-damaging action of free radicals. 

Although selenium in small amounts is healthy, too much of this mineral causes liver disease, hair loss and weakness. Too little selenium causes muscle weakness and pain and heart disease. 
Good sources of selenium include fish, organ meats, shrimp, whole grains and egg noodles.
 
Iodide: Thyroid Function
 
The thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy and makes proteins, and how sensitive the body should be to other hormones. Dietary iodide is required to make thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine (T4), to promote normal thyroid functions. Too little iodide causes goiter, a condition where the thyroid gland is enlarged from too much release of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland. This causes a fall in metabolic rate and increase blood cholesterol. 
Sources of iodide include table salt, saltwater fish, crops grown near the ocean, cottage cheese and shrimp.
 
Chromium: Glucose Uptake
 
Chromium enhances glucose absorption into the cells and stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis.
Good sources of chromium include mushrooms, organ meats, egg yolks, broccoli, nuts, apples, bananas and spinach.

 

Replenishing Electrolytes
 
Any time you lose fluids, you also lose electrolytes, especially sodium. Under normal circumstances, healthy adults get plenty of electrolytes from eating a balanced daily diet. But excessive sweating, vomiting and diarrhea result in a larger than normal loss of electrolytes. When that happens, drinking electrolyte water helps restore the minerals. Each person loses a different amount of sodium and electrolytes when he sweats. As a general guideline, the University of Arizona recommends dissolving 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt in 12 ounces of hot water, then mixing it with enough 100 percent fruit juice to reach a volume of 32 ounces. This makes four servings.
 
Boost Electrolyte Mineral Intake With Water
 
Drinking electrolytes with minerals prevents dehydration, not only because of the water it provides but also because sodium stimulates your body to hold onto water. When you're exercising, or if you're outside on a hot day, getting enough water is vital for keeping your body temperature down. If you're an athlete, drinking electrolytes is essential for optimal performance and cellular hydration. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water at regular intervals rather than waiting to feel thirsty. Watch for signs of dehydration such as fatigue, dizziness and dark urine.
 
Required Amounts
 
For everyday hydration, women should drink 9 cups of fluids, while men need 12 cups daily. If you're in a hot environment or participating in sustained exercise, drink at least 2 cups of water before your activity and 1 cup every 20 minutes while you exercise, recommends the University of Michigan. 

 

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