What are electrolytes, and what are they for?

Also known as: electrolyte disorders.

Electrolytes are minerals that are found in the body and are essential to vital bodily functions, including the muscles, the acidity of blood, the function of the nervous system and many others. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and others.

When you sweat, your body loses electrolytes. These can be replaced through a nutritious diet, as well as sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Electrolytes are maintained in the body within a narrow range and are essential to the metabolic activities of all cells. When these electrolytes are out of balance (either too high or too low) they cause problems in many organs or systems.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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