Hydration supplements can negatively impact sodium levels
Hydration supplements disguised as powders and electrolyte drinks can benefit the body but should not replace water intake. Preventative medicine specialist Peter Bastian, MD, MPH, says that while electrolytes are vital for healthy bodily functions, he recommends finding them in foods rather than processed supplements.
Electrolytes, like magnesium and sodium, have many functions in the body and are responsible for regulating overall hydration. Sodium helps with cellular hydration by maintaining the proper balance of fluids in cells and preventing dehydration.
Hydration supplements are loaded with sodium, but 90 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of less than 2,300 milligrams. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables allows you to ingest enough electrolytes into your system, limiting the need for supplements containing excess. amounts of sodium.
Studies show that high or low levels of electrolytes disrupt normal bodily functions and can eventually lead to complications such as nausea, muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. Bastian says it’s especially important to keep sodium levels balanced during exercise to prevent these symptoms.
Electrolyte drinks or powder mixes may benefit you when you have not drunk the proper amount of water to compensate for urine and sweat excretion. But Bastian recommends eating an apple and drinking water. Natural carbohydrates and proteins combined with water will provide needed electrolytes while re-energizing and re-hydrating the body
“Many supplements claim to provide the necessary components for hydration,” Bastian explains. “They fail to mention that our food provides us with the same components and fuels the body before it breaks down.”
For more information about nutrient-dense foods or supplements that may benefit your health, schedule an appointment with a Loma Linda University Health preventative medicine provider on MyChart.