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The importance of electrolytes?

  1. Jun 28, 2013 #1
    I always hear on those gatorade and sport drinks commercials "electrolytes this, electrolytes that." What makes them so special? And what are the long term affects they can have on your body? I'm only in high school and took AP Chemistry so don't use words that are TOO big!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2013 #2
    You lose sodium through sweat. So 'sports' drinks have 'electrolytes' to replenish the body. I'm not sure if ions other than sodium are involved. Calcium might be too since it is involved in neuron activation. I'm not sure.
  4. Jun 29, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    As TheAbsoluTurk wrote, it is about replenishing ions lost through sweating. In normal situation there are enough ions in what we eat, but sport - especially high intensity exercises - means excessive sweating. To properly operate our organisms require some level of all the ions, when they are lost, organism can fail (think cramps).

    (google for electrolyte depletion, just bear in mind severe problems appear in extreme cases)
  5. Jun 29, 2013 #4
    A concrete example would be the sodium/potassium pump used by cells. So those are two ions required amongst others
  6. Jun 29, 2013 #5
    All makes sense and sounds familiar-thanks everyone.
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