Our body fluid consists of water plus a variety of dissolved substances, including electrically
charged minerals called electrolytes. Water serves many important functions in our bodies,
including dissolving and transporting substances, accounting for blood volume, regulating body
temperature, and cushioning and lubricating body organs and tissues.
Electrolytes help regulate fluid balance by controlling the movement of fluid into and out of
cells. Electrolytes, specifically sodium and potassium, play a key role in generating nerve
impulses in response to stimuli. Calcium is an electrolyte that stimulates muscle contraction.
We maintain healthy fluid levels in our body by balancing intake with excretion. Primary sources
of fluids include water and other beverages, foods and the production of metabolic water in the
body. Fluid losses occur through urination, sweating, our feces and evaporation from our lungs.
Sodium is the primary positively charged electrolyte in the extracellular fluid. It works to
maintain fluid balance and blood pressure, assists in acid-base balance and transmission of nerve
signals, aids muscle contraction, and assist in the absorption of some nutrients. The adequate
intake (AI) for sodium is 1.5 grams per day. Deficiencies are rare, since the typical North
American diet is high in sodium. In some studies, excessive sodium intake has been related to
high blood pressure, bloating and loss of bone density.
Potassium is the major positively charged electrolytes inside the cell. It regulates fluid balance,
blood pressure and muscle contractions and it helps in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Potassium is found in abundance in fresh foods, particula