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How much of a concern (if any) are electrolytes?

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Old 07-21-2012, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default How much of a concern (if any) are electrolytes?

I am really into drinking a lot of water, and I am trying to get 90% of my calories from whole foods, and I never add salt to anything I cook. So, I am not really taking in a lot of sodium, and I am taking in around 160-180 oz of water/herbal tea a day. I seem to be thirsty a lot, so I would drink more, but I can't spend my entire life in the bathroom. I'm also putting in some hard gym days (often an hour or more of lifting three times a week, mixed with HIIT on alternating days - always resulting in soaked work-out clothes), and it's just plain hot in the Midwest, so I'm also sweating a lot.

Should I worry about electrolyte replacement? If so, does anyone have any recommendations for electrolyte sources that are inexpensive and not full of either sugar or artificial sweetener? I'd like to try coconut water, but the only time I've seen it on shelves, it was $4 for a 20-oz. bottle. Not in my price range.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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HEY!!

I think you may need some "casual electrolytes".

Natural food solutions: sodium. (clearly you know, from reading your post that sodium is essential for maintaining those badboys). - food wise, soy sauce, pickles. juice boxes of coconut water (35 cal a pop).

I dont suggest you "religiously" drink electrolyte solutions- but throw one in every day or two? maybe 3-4 times a week? i know i sweat a lot, work out frequently, and also don't use salt in anything. given that, i am not THIRSTY, but i pee a lot. like, i drink a glass of water, and take a "pregnant woman on a racehorse" type of potty break... that's a very low electrolyte level. so every once in a while, especially what i want to drink something flavoured, i drop a little something something electrolyte in my water bottle lol . my personal favourite is NUUN (google it, i know you said you are in the midwest, i'm not sure if you have a place called "the running room"? they usually sell it in my area- alternatively you can order online. they are in my oppinion the best tasting. where i buy them, it's 7 $ for 12 pills (you're supposed to drop 1 pill into a 500 ml waterbottle). i drop half a pill into a 500 ml waterbottle, and they taste good.

another one, in emergen-c. they have it at whole foods it's about 20 dollars for 24 servings, again i empty 1 packet into a litre, or 1/3-1/2 of a packet into 500 ml. they are effective, but terrible tasting (imho).

let me know if that helps!
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #3
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Put some salt on your food!
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Agree, put some salt in your food!

The other recommendations work too, they sell Emergen-C at my local Walgreens, so you may find it there, not just in Whole Foods.

The sodium that causes you to bloat is usually because of the processed foods you might have been eating. Salting for taste is not going to cause you to retain water. However, if your doctor recommended reducing your salt intake, talk to him/her first before taking our advice!

My doctor -- for me -- recommended potassium pills, which I forget to take. But some of my training sessions are long and there is legitimate concern that I might be losing too many electrolytes. I do carry Emergen-C (in orange flavor, tastes like Tang!) just in case I need it during my sessions, but I prefer just plain water, to be honest.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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I prefer plain water as well. I think I will look into either the NUUN or Emergen-C. I don't know that I need it, but why waste mental energy worrying about it? And no - I have received no advice to watch my sodium levels. As for the salt on my food - I just don't care for it much. A tablet on my heavy lifting days seems like a reasonable compromise.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:08 PM   #6
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Unless you are running a marathon or working out like a professional athlete most individuals don't need to add extra electrolytes to their system. I would suggest asking a dietitian if you have concerns.

We also end up getting whole lot of sodium from any processed foods we eat.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:00 PM   #7
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I personally am always running low... I know when I'm low on magnesium because I get twitches, anxiety, etc. It's not an easy nutrient to test for though, especially through the blood. Potassium really should be consumed through food sources, such as tomato juice or coconut water. Supplements on the shelf just don't cut it (unless prescribed, they don't have enough.) Magnesium shouldn't be supplemented long term either, as you can develop resistance to absorbing it even through food... though I'll admit, I take them a lot (maybe the source of my woes, but I don't know.) Calcium can obviously be supplemented, or consumed however you like. And of course, in order to maintain healthy levels of electrolytes, you need a good balance of all of them. I kept getting prescribed potassium at one time, until I started taking magnesium on my own, then all my problems went away.

I'm not a doctor, just saying. Probably better to talk to one...
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:21 PM   #8
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Because I don't really eat processed food I can easily get electrolyte imbalances after strenuous activity - the salt I tend to use is non-iodized, too, which can cause issues. So my easy supplemental solution to trace elements and sodium is eating a little seaweed every day. It's yum!

Potassium I get primarily from avocado and magnesium from offal and organ meat, as well as supplementation. But it is easiest to supplement with food for me and seaweed combined with salting my food goes a long way to keep me feeling good if I'm being quite active.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arctic Mama View Post
Because I don't really eat processed food I can easily get electrolyte imbalances after strenuous activity - the salt I tend to use is non-iodized, too, which can cause issues. So my easy supplemental solution to trace elements and sodium is eating a little seaweed every day. It's yum!

Potassium I get primarily from avocado and magnesium from offal and organ meat, as well as supplementation. But it is easiest to supplement with food for me and seaweed combined with salting my food goes a long way to keep me feeling good if I'm being quite active.
Agreed, seaweed is great!! I take a kelp suppliment everyday, too. Mostly for radiation mitigation, but it's great for helping things stay in balance, too.
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