Summer Heat Making You Sweat? Here's How To Make Sure You're Getting Enough Electrolytes
Summer is in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere, and as such, we're all sweating a bit more than usual. And while we're not complaining about the summertime sun, we should talk about the loss of electrolytes we can experience in summer—plus what to do about it. Here's what to know.
Minding your electrolyte levels in summer
It's no secret that we sweat more in the summer, but what we might forget is the impact sweating can have on our electrolyte levels. As research published in the journal Sports Medicine1 explains, water and electrolytes are both lost as a consequence of thermoregulatory sweating, "and in some situations, especially when exercise is prolonged, high-intensity, and/or in a hot environment, sweat losses can be sufficient to cause excessive water/electrolyte imbalances and impair performance."
Electrolytes are essentially a category of electrically charged essential minerals that the body both produces and derives from food and beverages. As leading functional medicine physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., previously told mindbodygreen, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphate, chloride, and sodium are all examples of important electrolytes.
"You mostly lose sodium and chloride in terms of the electrolytes lost in sweat," mindbodygreen's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains. "But don't forget about these electrolytes (and essential minerals!) you also lose—calcium, potassium, magnesium."
According to Gandhi, electrolytes are important for sustaining a healthy body and mind, as they help to balance our fluid levels; help to keep our muscles, nerves, heart, and brain cells working; and even help to transport nutrients to our cells.
What to do about it
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Sounds obvious, but if you're sweating, that means you're losing water and you'll want to replenish it. It's never a bad idea to up your water intake, but it's especially important in the summer when you're more likely to be dehydrated. And of course, if your water has electrolytes mixed in, even better—which brings us to our next point.
Get those electrolytes.
Along with making sure you're drinking enough water, you might want to add electrolyte packets into the mix. There are a ton of options available that can help fortify your water with vitamins and minerals, but if you're unsure which to choose, here's a roundup of our favorite electrolyte powders.
Eat mineral-rich foods.
Last but not least, to make up for any minerals lost in sweat, be sure to eat plenty of mineral-rich foods on the daily. Here are some of our faves to keep in mind during your next trip to the grocery store:
- Quality red meat
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens
- Organ meats
The more you sweat, the more you'll want to pay attention to your electrolyte levels. Whether you're an everyday athlete or you're just sweating more in the summer heat, when in doubt, drink more water and up those vitamins and minerals!
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.