Natural Electrolyte Replacement

By Pharmacist Anusuya Kashi

Natural electrolyte replacement

Electrolytes are important

  • They are needed to maintain the balance of body fluids

  • They are needed to keep the pH of body fluids at an optimum level

  • They are conductors of electrical charges, which makes them necessary for nerve impulses and all muscle activity

How we lose electrolytes

When there is an excessive loss of body fluid, it leads to a corresponding depletion of electrolytes. This loss of electrolytes can cause a lot of problems.

Electrolyte imbalance is generally a result of the following:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating due to a high fever
  • Excessive sweating during intense exercise
  • Excessive sweating needed to keep the body cool in a hot climate

Symptoms of electrolyte loss

When the body loses an excessive amount of water and electrolytes it can lead to symptoms like:

  • Shivering
  • Paleness
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure

The predominant electrolytes in the body include potassium, magnesium, chloride and sodium. Of these, most Americans get an overabundance of sodium and chloride (table salt) in the processed foods they eat.

Therefore, unless an individual is losing excessive body fluids and electrolytes as discussed above, they probably don’t need to be concerned with getting enough Sodium and Chloride.

However, if a person is losing electrolytes through vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating, they probably need natural replacement sodium chloride, along with other electrolytes.

Electrolyte Drinks

Drinking water can help deal with dehydration, but to restore electrolyte replacement balance, it is important to consume foods or substances that are rich in macro and trace minerals.

The body processes these minerals to convert them into electrolytes.

Sports electrolyte drinks are less than desirable

Commercially available sports electrolyte drinks and other electrolyte products are useful for replacing 2 or 3 electrolytes, and are certainly better than nothing.

However, most of these drinks contain a lot of sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and even artificial sweeteners that are less than desirable. 

Making a natural electrolyte drink

All of the electrolytes needed by the body are found in the ocean.

Concentrated Ionic Sea Minerals contains potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride, plus a host of wonderful trace mineral electrolytes

Here is the recipe for a more balanced and natural electrolyte drink that can be used to rehydrate after substantial water and electrolyte loss for replacement.

  • ½ teaspoon Ionic Sea Minerals

  • A pinch of sea salt (to provide added sodium that may be needed to help stop muscle cramping caused by excessive sweating)

  • 16 ounce of water

  • Something to flavor it, like Crystal Light Pure Lemonade

For a more diluted formula that may not need any flavoring and can be consumed while exercising or throughout the day, try this.

  • 1 teaspoon of Ionic Sea Minerals (90 mg sodium)

  • (optional, 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt containing an extra 500 mg sodium)

  • 2 to 3 liters of water

How about colloidal minerals

Can I just take some colloidal minerals to help with electrolyte replacement?

While this may sound like a good idea, colloidal minerals are quite difficult for the body to absorb and convert to the ionic form required by the body for use as electrolytes. Ionic minerals (minerals in salt form) are a much better choice.

Electrolytes in Foods

Fruits high in electrolytes

Fruits are a powerhouse of nutrients. By choosing the right fruits it is possible to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance at an optimal level.

  • Potassium: bananas are an excellent source. A medium-sized banana has around 400 milligrams of potassium. Oranges, prunes, melons, avocado and raisins are also good sources of potassium.

  • Magnesium, another important electrolyte, is abundantly available in blackberries, grapefruit, strawberries and dry fruit such like figs, cashews and almonds. One-fourth cup of almonds have around 132 milligrams of magnesium. A fourth cup of cashews contains a little more than 200 milligrams.

  • Sodium: good sources are apple, pineapple, prunes and pear. A single cup of sliced apple contains 6 milligrams of sodium. A cup of pineapple contains 3 milligrams for ultimate electrolyte replacement.

Vegetables high in electrolytes

Like fruits, vegetables are also a rich source of important electrolytes.

  • Potassium: potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, beans, kale and peas contain a good amount. A single cup of spinach has more than 800 milligrams of potassium.

    A medium-sized sweet potato has 950 milligrams. Kelp and other seaweeds are an excellent source of vital electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc.  

  • Magnesium: leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard, dried beans, lentils, pumpkin and flax seeds are a wonderful source of magnesium.

    In fact, a single cup of Swiss chard or spinach can give you about 150 milligrams of magnesium. A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contain as much as 190 milligrams of magnesium.

  • Sodium: vegetable juice made from tomatoes is a healthy source. A single large raw tomato contains 9 milligrams of sodium. Olives, celery, rye, lettuce and seaweed are also good sources of sodium and chloride.

Coconut water is rich in electrolytes

There is another natural and healthy way of replacing electrolytes the body has lost – coconut water.

In fact, in many of the tropical countries where the coconut is easily available, coconut water is the first remedy people use when dealing with diarrhea or dehydration due to summer heat or a high fever.

Coconut water is rich in minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc and selenium. Equally important, it has a natural sweetness, but is low in sugar.

Citrus fruits and juices

Citrus fruits and fruit juices are also a good way to naturally replenish lost electrolytes.

Fruit juices like lime, orange and lemon can be mixed into water that contains sea salt and sugar to make a nutritious and refreshing drink.

Conclusion, natural electrolyte replacement

Most diets focus on ensuring an intake of the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber.

However, it is equally important to pay attention to getting an adequate amount of electrolytes to keep the body functioning in top condition. Sports drinks and electrolyte formulations can help in emergencies, but for healthier results, the natural electrolytes mentioned in this article are a better way to go.

(Return from Natural Electrolyte Replacement to What is an Electrolyte)

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