Drinking Water Is Wellness 101 ... But Are Electrolytes Even More Important?
For as long as we can remember, we've been told to drink our eight glasses of water per day. Hydration leads to better energy, improved brain function, smoother digestion, fewer muscle cramps and headaches, improved skin health, better performance, better sleep, and more. What we haven't been told is that drinking water isn't always enough... In fact, it turns out drinking too much water may actually be detrimental to your health. But don't put your water glass down just yet.
The solution isn't to cut down on your water intake but rather to balance it out with electrolytes. Adding an electrolyte mix, like Drink LMNT, to your water can help to make sure you're not overhydrating and developing low sodium levels as a consequence. LMNT makes better hydration easy with flavorful drink mixes that contain everything you need and nothing you don't. But let's break this all down...
Overhydration: It's a real (and serious) thing.
We've always been taught that hydration is important—the more water the better. But the science behind this golden rule of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is a little murky. The 8x8 standard seems to have originated with Irwin Stillman, a doctor from the 1960s who advised drinking 64 ounces of water per day—down from the U.S. National Academy of Science's 84-ounce target set in the 1940s. However, recent papers [*] [*] on the topic have shown that neither recommendation had rigorous data behind it.
Drinking water beyond thirst isn't always a good idea. Thirst is the signal your brain generates from constantly measuring blood volume. When you need more fluids, you get thirsty. But when you drink plain water beyond thirst, it dilutes blood electrolyte levels—especially sodium—and leads to gnarly consequences, such as headaches, low energy, cramps, confusion, and worse.
Since low-sodium symptoms look similar to dehydration symptoms, we often default to chugging water. But have you ever noticed this doesn't always solve the problem? That's because in reality, this can actually exacerbate it. When low sodium gets serious, it's called hyponatremia—a dangerous condition that is super common in endurance athletes. So what can you do to ensure you're staying on top of hydration? Easy: Add electrolytes.
Evidence suggests that we should aim for 5,000 mg sodium, 4,700 mg potassium, and 6,00 mg magnesium per day from diet and supplements. That may sound like a lot of sodium, but for reference, athletes can lose up to 7 grams of sodium per day through sweat. And it turns out the government's "heart-healthy" recommendation of no more than 2.3 grams of sodium per day has actually been linked to heart attack and stroke in heart disease patients. Five grams per day was the sweet spot.
Your body is pretty good at maintaining fluid balance on its own. If you drink too much water, you'll excrete more fluids through urine. If you don't drink enough water, your brain will tell you you're thirsty. If you consume too many electrolytes, you'll excrete the excess through urine. But if you consume too few electrolytes, your body will pull these minerals from bone... If that doesn't sound great, that's because it's not.
Although your body is doing its job to keep blood levels of electrolytes balanced, that doesn't mean hydration status is optimal. That's why it's important to replenish both water and electrolytes in the right amounts so that your body doesn't have to take minerals away from your bones. Drink LMNT has you covered with perfectly formulated ratios of sodium, potassium, and magnesium for healthy hydration throughout your day.
Adding electrolytes to the mix.
Hydration is key for performance and overall well-being; there's no doubt about that. We just need to change the way we're thinking about hydration. Both water and sodium need to be replaced to maintain proper fluid balance and prevent the unwanted symptoms that result from dehydration and low electrolytes.
Drink LMNT is your go-to for daily electrolyte needs. Not only do they make hydration easy, but they also make it delicious with a variety of palate-pleasing flavors such as Orange Salt, Citrus Salt, Watermelon Salt, and more. And without any carbs, sugar, or artificial ingredients, the LMNT packets are perfectly suited for anyone following a keto, low-carb, or paleo diet.
Interested in putting it to the test? Luckily LMNT is giving the mbg community the opportunity to claim one free Drink LMNT sample pack including each of their eight flavors. To grab your complimentary sample pack, click here and start seeing the benefits of better hydration!
Ryan Brady is a Content Freelancer at mindbodygreen. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Yale University and is currently finishing her M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology, with concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice, at Columbia University.
Ryan is passionate about holistic health, fitness, and spiritually-centered living. She loves using her knowledge and personal experience to help others improve their well-being. When she’s not working or studying, Ryan can be found traveling to new places, snuggling her dog, or experimenting with gluten free, vegan baking.