When I was doing prereqs for nursing school we had to take a healthcare version of chemistry. I really enjoyed the class when I took it but before it started I didn’t understand WHY we had to take it–I assumed it was a prereq for some other class. Now I understand. EVERYTHING in our body is controlled, at the core, by very, very, simple chemistry. Our bodies are a careful balance between positive and negative–if that gets off then bad things will happen. This balance–called homestasis, amongst other things, is regulated by Fluid and Electrolytes which I will cover in general here and then do a specific post for each of the Electrolytes, pH, lungs and kidneys. Hopefully it will be wrapped up in time for finals and I will ACE my exams. Some of this I will just freehand but I will also consult with my text and lecture notes (EVERY single class before and during nursing school covers F&E so there are a lot of resources).Here are the basics:
Fluid: H20 (water)
Electrolytes: any ion with a charge: + or –
Cations (+): Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+), Calcium (Ca+) Magnesium (Mg+)
Anions (-): Chloride (Cl-), Posphate (PHO4-)
Bases: anything at can accept or donate Hydrogen (H+) ions: Bicarbonate (HCO3-)
Let me know if this is too simplified or if I skip something–it is becoming so ingrained that its hard to know what to explain. But as to Gatorade and Smart Water and all those other things. Eat colorful foods instead. They are not going to give enough electrolytes to make much of a difference–except maybe sodium but we get enough of that as it is. Before a big race or a hangover–they may help a bit but electrolyte drinks don’t offer to much of any electrolyte -why not? Because if they did there is a chance you could kill yourself by drinking too much- especially potassium. Its hard to get to much by eating it in foods but in concentrations–just like too little- it can do a lot of damage. Remember- our bodies are a chemical balance.