Is it easier to maintain your balance in yoga class or balance your electrolytes?
Though both require a bit of practice to banish the wobbles, it’s worth the effort.
Achieving these feats of physical harmony will leave you buzzing with higher energy levels, better moods, and improved overall health.
While we’re no namaste gurus, we can share everything you need to know about electrolyte balance.
We’ll demystify the magic of these minerals, highlight the benefits of keeping them all in check, and follow up with the best do’s and don’ts for your wellness routine.
Let’s kick it off with the basics:
What are Electrolytes & How Do They Work?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that carry an electrical charge in your body.[*] These powered-up ions send signals between your cells and nerves to spur or maintain vital processes like muscle contraction, blood pressure, acid/base (pH) balance, and more.
The most important electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates.
Let’s run through how each major electrolyte works:
Sodium conducts nerve impulses, contracts and relaxes muscles, and regulates blood pressure.[*][*] You also need it to maintain extracellular fluid balance (i.e., fluids outside your cells) to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration.[*][*]
Potassium helps regulate muscle and heart contractions, blood pressure, nerve impulses, and fluid balance.[*][*][*] It also supports your digestion and metabolism and enables your body to absorb calcium (another electrolyte).[*][*][*]
- Energy metabolism
- Muscle growth and function
- Blood pressure and blood sugar regulation
- Nerve signaling and neurological functions
- Releasing neurotransmitters that affect your mood and mental health
Calcium has a hand in muscle contraction, blood clotting, hormone secretion, transmitting nervous system messages, and several other critical functions.[*]
Chloride is the second most common electrolyte in your blood after sodium. It supports the regulation of body fluids, pH balance, and blood pressure.[*] Chloride also stimulates digestion and helps oxygen and carbon dioxide flow within cells.[*]
What are the Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance?
High or low electrolyte levels disrupt normal bodily functions and can lead to life-threatening complications.[*] If you’re tired, sluggish, or irritable, it may be a sign that your electrolytes are out of balance.
- Low sodium levels (hyponatremia) can lead to headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, swelling, and fatigue.[*] High sodium levels (hypernatremia) can cause rapid breathing, trouble sleeping, and restlessness.[*]
- Potassium is one of the most common electrolyte imbalances.[*] Signs of low potassium levels (hypokalemia) include heart palpitations, lightheadedness, and muscle weakness, cramping, and twitching.[*][*] High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) are usually due to a medical condition. It can result in arrhythmias (i.e., irregular or abnormal heart rhythms).[*][*]
- Symptoms of low magnesium levels (hypomagnesemia) include fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps and twitches, irregular heartbeat, and pins and needles.[*][*] High magnesium levels (hypermagnesemia) may result in muscle weakness and trouble breathing.[*]
- Low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) lead to muscle cramps (especially in your back and legs), dry skin, brittle nails, irritability, and depression.[*] High calcium levels (hypercalcemia) may cause kidney stones, increased thirst, frequent urination, and bone pain.[*]
- Because chloride is usually bound to sodium (table salt is sodium chloride, after all), imbalances are uncommon. They often manifest as dehydration, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and trouble breathing.[*] Blood tests revealing low chloride levels (hypochloremia) or high chloride levels (hyperchloremia) often indicate a serious medical condition at the root cause.[*]
Why Is It Important To Balance Electrolytes?
Besides avoiding the bad vibes that electrolyte imbalances create, the benefits of keeping your electrolytes in perfect harmony include:
The Do’s and Don’ts of Electrolyte Balance
1. Do Consider Your Age, Medical Conditions, & Medications
Blood tests may reveal electrolyte imbalances as a side effect of these medical conditions or treatment plans:[*]
- Cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or high blood pressure
- Specific electrolyte disorders
- Endocrine gland disorders
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Chronic kidney disease or kidney failure
- Liver diseases like cirrhosis
- Respiratory acidosis or respiratory alkalosis
- Vitamin deficiencies
Similarly, taking medications like antibiotics, diuretics, laxatives, and steroids often results in electrolyte imbalances.[*]
If you’re in any of these boats, speak with your healthcare provider to create a customized game plan to stay on top of your electrolytes.
2. Don’t Rely On Sugary Sports Drinks
Sports recovery drinks are loaded with sugar and artificial colors, which harm your health.[*][*] Since science shows you don’t need glucose to facilitate hydration or electrolyte absorption, it’s time you ditch them for good.[*][*][*]
Unlike ultra-sweet sports drinks, IQMIX is sugar-free, vegan, and keto-friendly. Each packet contains just 1 gram of carbohydrates and 10-15 calories. You’ll score key minerals for proper hydration and electrolyte balance, including:
- 500 mg of sodium
- 380 mg of potassium
- 750 mg of Magtein®, a clinically studied form of magnesium (magnesium L-threonate) that supports cognition and mood
3. Do Up Your Electrolyte Game on a Keto or Low-Carb Diet
Keto and low-carb diets deliver powerful health benefits for your energy levels, body weight goals, and mental health.[*][*][*][*] But slashing carbs or practicing intermittent fasting may naturally lower your levels of electrolytes.
When you restrict net carbs:
Fasting? If you’re downing plain water alone, you’re likely flushing out more electrolytes than you’re taking in. A sugar-free electrolyte supplement like IQMIX is super low-calorie and delivers the electrolytes your body and brain need during your fasting window.
🏝️ Make any fast feel like a day in paradise with the IQMIX Tropical Pack! Our limited edition Piña Colada and Passion Fruit flavors will sail you through the roughest seas of food temptation.
4. Do Prioritize Electrolyte-Rich Foods In Your Diet
5. Don’t Overhydrate With Plain H2O
Health and wellness influencers constantly tout the benefits of drinking gallons of water. But overhydration occurs when there’s way too much water in your cells and not enough electrolytes. This excess water dilutes electrolyte concentrations, so they’re basically invisible.
Conquer Your Electrolyte Balance ⚡
Electrolytes power everything you do. Balancing them is the secret to feeling more alert and focused and performing at your highest level.
So if you’re ever off your game, reach for a quick boost with IQMIX. Just mix a packet into water for an instant, uplifting, sugar-free electrolyte drink that raises the bar on your hydration, clarity, and mood — and won’t make you crash later.
Written by Lauren Ciccarelli, a writer and research geek passionate about low-carb nutrition, mental health, and meditation. Her 2,500+ articles empower doers with science-backed tips for leveled-up living.