What is Electrolyte Water and What are the Benefits?

A woman sipping out of a reusable water bottle

We all know drinking water is good for your health, from regulating your body temperature and blood pressure, to improving your mood, memory, and productivity, the benefits of drinking water are truly remarkable1. But are the benefits of drinking H2O heightened by adding electrolytes to water? The Quench Water Experts are here to dive into how electrolytes can supercharge your hydration.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge when dissolved in water. Your body retains electrolytes from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. These minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are distributed through your body and use their electrical energy to facilitate important bodily functions including:2

  • Balance the amount of water in your body
  • Balance your body’s pH level
  • Move nutrients into your cells
  • Move wastes out of your cells
  • Regulate your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain functionality
  • Help rebuild damaged tissue3

Many times, sports drinks and waters that are infused with electrolytes will reference (or target) athletes in their marketing. That’s because when a person exercises and sweats, they lose valuable electrolytes in the process that need to be refreshed. A good balance of electrolytes isn’t just important for those playing sports. We need electrolytes in our bodies to do everything: walk, breathe, even think! Without electrolytes in our brains, our nerve cells don’t communicate very well.

What Is Electrolyte Water?

Electrolyte water is infused with electrically-charged minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sometimes, electrolyte water may be referred to as mineral water or alkaline water. Believe it or not, sea water and tap water even contain electrolytes in the form of various kinds of salt. Obviously, drinking salt water isn’t recommended; it’s having the right balance of minerals that is vital to promoting health. Electrolyte drinking water is specifically designed to improve hydration and other bodily functions by having optimal concentrations of only the most beneficial electrolytes. Electrolyte waters, like sports drinks, have added electrolytes for greater hydration, but sports drinks often contain large amounts of sugar and calories.

What Are the Benefits of Electrolyte Water?

Water comprises up to 60 percent of the human adult body. When you lose even a small amount of this 60 percent, your body can’t perform all its essential functions.4 When you become dehydrated, electrolytes step in to regulate hydration levels. 5

In some circumstances, electrolyte levels in your blood can become too low, causing an imbalance. An imbalance in electrolytes can have a harmful effect on your health. Symptoms can include:6

  • Fatigue
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness and cramping
  • Headaches
  • Convulsions

Electrolyte imbalances often occur due to dehydration. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially during exercise, illness, or excessive heat – which is when you tend to lose the most fluids.7 While regular drinking water is a requirement for preventing dehydration, it’s best to replace those lost fluids with electrolyte water, and here’s why:

1. Improve Exercise Performance

During physical activity, you need additional fluids to replace the water lost in sweat. In fact, a water loss of as little as 1–2% of your body weight can lead to decreased strength, speed, and focus. Sweat also contains electrolytes, including a significant amount of sodium, as well as small amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.8

In order to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat, it is recommended that you drink electrolyte-enhanced water over regular drinking water while exercising. This will help improve your heart, brain, muscle, and nervous system function.9

2. Support Nervous System Function

We can all picture athletes chugging down sports drinks to replenish their lost electrolytes, but athletes aren’t the only ones who need to keep their bodies hydrated and fluid levels balanced. Understanding the importance of consistent hydration keeps us safe and ultimately more productive. Even a small drop in hydration can lead to decreased cognitive abilities, lower concentration and alertness, and slower reaction times. At 3% dehydration, your reaction time is equivalent to someone with a blood alcohol content of .08%.10

Your nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells that transmit signals from your brain to other parts of your body. Electrolytes play an integral role in that communication process.

  • Sodium – initiates the electrical impulses your nerve cells require for proper communication
  • Potassium – neutralizes the nerve cell so that it can reinitiate subsequent electrical impulses
  • Magnesium – allows for the effective transmission of electrical impulses

Your diet should include enough sources of sodium, potassium, and magnesium to meet your recommended daily intake to support continued brain function. An easy way to reach your daily goal is by drinking electrolyte-enhanced water. 11

3. Rehydrate During Illness

In the short term, vomiting and diarrhea are usually not serious conditions. However, severe or persistent symptoms can quickly lead to dehydration if fluids and electrolytes are not replaced. Doctors recommend drinking electrolyte-enhanced water at the first signs of illness to prevent dehydration. Sports drinks are similar but contain higher amounts of sugar. They’re not recommended, as the sugar may worsen the illness. However, sports drinks may be tolerated if diluted to 1-part water, 1-part sports drink.12

Importantly, electrolyte beverages may not be enough for treating severe dehydration. If illness lasts more than 24 hours or if you’re unable to keep fluids down, seek medical advice.

4. Prevent Heat Stroke

Hot environments put you at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses, which range from mild heat rash to life-threatening heatstroke. Normally, your body manages heat by releasing it through your skin and by sweating. However, this cooling system may begin to fail in hot weather, causing your body temperature to rise to dangerously high levels.13 The key to preventing heat-related illnesses is to limit your time in the heat. However, getting plenty of fluid and electrolytes is also extremely important to help your body stay cool.14

In hot environments, electrolyte-enhanced water is recommended for hydration over other beverages because of its ability to replenish the vital electrolytes being lost in sweat. Drinks containing sugar and caffeine such as soda, coffee, and tea may worsen dehydration, as can alcohol.15

Get Electrolyte-Enhanced quenchWATER+ to Feel the Difference in Your Workplace

quenchWATER+ is our Quench branded mineral-infused and electrolyte-enhanced alkaline water brought to you through our Quench bottleless water coolers. We produce quenchWATER+ using a state-of-the-art filtration technology. Our proprietary 5-filter setup produces the cleanest water through our reverse osmosis (RO) then the water passes over compressed minerals in our Mineral+ filter to add back a blend of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other healthy minerals to create amazing tasting electrolyte-enhanced water.

So, whether you have employees working in a hot warehouse, members exercising in a gym, patients recovering in a hospital, or anything in between – Quench has you covered for your optimal hydration needs with our electrolyte-enhanced quenchWATER+. And with our bottleless water coolers, you will no longer have to worry about stocking, storing, and ordering 5-gallon plastic water jugs or single-use plastic bottles. It’s a win-win; hydrate your employees while saving the environment!

To learn more about quenchWATER+ and to see which water cooler is right for you, please visit our website.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html
2 https://medlineplus.gov/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html
3 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002350.htm
4 https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
5 https://www.livestrong.com/article/521215-the-benefits-of-electrolytes-in-water/
6 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17277604
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27939861
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28332116
10 http://www.resourceoptions.com/how-electrolytes-can-boost-productivity
11 https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/electrolytes-brain-2895.html
12 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8604285
13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15952443
14 https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.html
15  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dehydrating-drinks