Drinking Electrolytes while fasting will help you keep your body functions while you stay away from food. Electrolytes have various functions in the body and they are key to a successful fast. In this article, we will examine the key points about electrolytes you need to know and how it ties in with fasting.
Watch this short interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick about the importance of electrolytes in prolonged fasts (i.e. 48h):
What are Electrolytes?
These are elements that your body uses to regulate, manage and maintain bodily functions. Electrolytes are drained when you engage in physical activities and fasting. Ensure you get enough electrolytes to your body when you are fasting to ensure that your body can keep up with the activity. The best way to consume electrolytes are as food and it is always advisable to do so. In situations such as fasting where you may not be able to eat, you can take your electrolytes directly.
Electrolytes are important to bodily functions and processes. During fasting periods it is important you have a plan to refuel and replenish lost electrolytes. Two major ways electrolytes can be lost is through physical activities and fasting. A good strategy is to take them daily to maintain body activities. Taking the right amount of electrolytes will make all the difference while you are fasting. Drinking electrolytes during fasting periods does not break your fast and it is encouraged to help you sustain yourself during fasting periods.
Functions of Electrolytes
Electrolytes have various functions they perform in the body and these include:
- Electrolytes help Control your bodily fluid balance.
- They regulate your blood pressure.
- Electrolytes help your muscles contract and relax (including involuntary muscles like the heart).
- Maintaining the correct acidity of your blood pH levels.
Major Sources of Electrolytes
Here are the major sources of electrolytes and the functions they perform in the body. If you want to know why you should keep your electrolyte levels up during a fast, this section will shed some light.
Low sodium levels cause headaches, muscle spasms, and other deficiencies. Ensure you have a daily dose of sodium that has been recommended for your size and weight, and gender. If you are engaging in fasting longer than 3 days, ensure you take enough supplements that contain sodium. The amount of sodium you consume prior to fasting will be determined by the length of your fast.
If you intend to fast for a long period, you may need to up your intake beyond the RDA (recommended daily amount). With a prior heart condition, suffering from hypertension, or renal disease you will need to take lower amounts of sodium. If you are not sure about your sodium status, you should consult your personal medical practitioner for advice.
Potassium helps regulate the fluids in the muscles. It helps the nerves send signals throughout the body. Individuals who have high amounts of potassium in their body do not experience muscle spasms in their legs or other muscles.
Magnesium controls and regulates nerve and muscle functions. It also helps with sleep and can help you get proper sleep. If you are going to be on a prolonged fast of more than 3 days, ensure you consider taking magnesium supplements.
Zinc promotes the production of testosterone and aids nerve function. It is one electrolyte that has far-reaching benefits in both sexual health and during fasts.
Calcium is important to muscles and bones. It helps your heartbeat regularly and promotes blood clotting. It also helps muscles contract and gives you strong healthy bones. Taking calcium in between fasting breaks will do wonders for your health.
A good source for these electrolytes is: Nuun Electrolyte-Rich Sports Drink Tablets
Additional Electrolyte Sources
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. One teaspoon of baking soda contains 1259 mg of sodium. It is good for healing digestive problems, fixing the kidney, and balancing pH levels. It promotes alkalinity and contains natural antifungal and antibacterial components that keep your body safe.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar which is popularly known as ACV is a type of fermented alcohol. It has numerous health benefits including enhanced insulin sensitivity, better digestion, and reduced inflammation. There are no calories present in ACV but it does contain traces of potassium and other minerals that are great for fasting.
Signs You are Low on Electrolytes
If you are fasting and you begin to experience any of the following signs then you are low on electrolytes:
- Feeling dizzy, confused or having a headache.
- Being exhausted, tired, or you are fatigued.
- You have muscle spasms, you have cramps or muscle twitches.
- Enhanced hunger and thirst.
- If you get heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats.
- Increased blood pressure and elevated heart rate.
Conclusion on drinking electrolytes while fasting
Electrolytes are important to the function of the body and can be gotten from a number of sources including food. If you intend to fast for extended periods of time, you will need to take in these electrolytes through other mediums. These mediums include supplements and other natural sources.
Before you engage in any fasting activity ensure that you have properly consulted with a relevant medical practitioner. If you know anyone who may be interested in fasting, you can share this article with them so they are aware of what they need to keep their body functioning.