These are chemical substances that separate, when dissolved in fluids, into electrically charged particles (ions) capable of conducting electric currents vital for the function of nerves and muscles. Your cells utilize electrolytes to maintain electrical currents across their cell membranes and to carry impulses to other cells. Both nerve cells and muscle cells are regulated by the exchange of electrolytes between the extracellular fluid and intracellular fluid. The body uses electrolytes to help regulate nerve and muscle function and to maintain acid-base balance and fluid balance. For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). Without sufficient levels of these key electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions may occur. Electrolytes also regulate many vital processes in our body.

Functions of electrolytes: Maintain, promote, distribute, and regulate body fluids.

Oxford Food & Nutrition Dictionary: Chemically salts that dissociate in solution and will carry an electric current; clinically used to mean the mineral salts of blood plasma and other body fluids, especially sodium and potassium.

*Physiology. Any of various ions, such as sodium, potassium, or chloride, required by cells to regulate the electric charge and flow of water molecules across the cell membrane. The major cations (positively charged electroylytes) in the body's fluid supply are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The major anions (negatively charged electrolytes) are chloride, phosphate, sulfate, and bicarbonate. Organic acids such as lactate, pyruvate, and aceto-acetate also carry negative ions.

• •

ECF: Major Cation- Na; Major Anion- Cl ICF: Major Cation- K; Major Anion- PO4

Stability of electrolyte balance is dependent upon several factors. One is an adequate intake of water. Electrolytes are involved in metabolic activities and are vital to the function of all cells, therefore, when the body becomes dehydrated, electrolytes do not have sufficient fluid for mobility in order to function. Another factor is an adequate intake of electrolyte-

5. An imbalance can produce hypokalemia or hyperkalemia. Sodium (Na: 135. Magnesium (Mg: 1. 4. Hypokalemia results when blood levels of potassium become too low and is usually a consequence of vomiting. confusion.5 mEq/L) is found most abundantly (98%) in bones and teeth with the remaining in tissues and fluids. low blood pressure. diarrhea. Hyponatremia results when blood levels of sodium become too low usually caused by excessive sweating. Hypercalcemia occurs when the parathyroid over functions. . It is essential for ATP production and activity of neurons and muscle cells. and excretion of water and its dissolved particles. Still another is the homeostatic conditions within the body that can regulate the absorption. Potassium (K: 3. 2. and possible cardiac arrest. and shock. or vomiting. and possible arrest. Such symptoms include muscle weakness. It is essential for electrical activity of neurons and muscle cells.containing foods. 3. weakness. An imbalance can cause hyponatremia or hypernatremia.5. and possibly kidney stones. It functions mainly in intracellular fluid rather than extracellular. Symptoms include muscle spasms leading to tetany (a continuous spasm). distribution. diarrhea. It maintains normal excitability of neuons and muscle cells and is essential for blood clotting. confusion. The following are major electrolytes and their functions: 1. or kidney disease. Symptoms are fatigue. An imbalance causes hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia. cardiac arrhythmias.145mEq/L) creates much of the osmotic pressure of extracellular fluid and is the most abundant cation in it.5.5.10 mEq/L for total Serum Ca and inonized Ca 4. Calcium (Na: 8.5 mEq/L) is concentrated mostly in bone. abnormal sensations.5mEq/L) creates much of the osmotic pressure in intracellular fluid and is the most abundant cation in it. Hypocalcemia occurs when the blood levels of calcium become too low usually as a result of a decreased function of the parathyroid gland or a decreased calcium intake. It is essential for electrical activity of neurons and muscle cells. Hyperkalemia comes as a result of blood levels of potassium becoming too high and is usually a consequence of Addison's Disease with symptoms of weakness.2.5. Hypernatremia happens when the sodium blood levels become too high as a result of an excessive water loss or sodium ingestion. Symptoms are extreme thirst and agitation. Symptoms are dizziness. bone fragility. Imbalances can occur when serum levels become either too high or too low usually resulting from renal disease or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea.

as well as phospholipids and the phosphate buffer system. returning some electrolytes. the body must keep fluid levels from varying too much in the areas of the body that contain fluid (called compartments). because how much fluid a compartment contains depends on the concentration of electrolytes in it.7. fluid moves out of that compartment. acidifier • Propionate – quick energy. fluid moves into that compartment. the kidney help maintain a balance between daily consumption and excretion.2. help the body maintain normal fluid levels in these compartments (called fluid balance). 7. bacteria . Phosphate (HPO4: 1. To adjust fluid levels. and ATP. Any good electrolyte product will contain: • Sodium – major electrolyte • Glucose – quick energy • Glycine – assists in glucose absorption • Sodium Bicarbonate – helps correct physiological acidiosis • Acetate – quick energy. Thus. If the electrolyte concentration is high. having electrolytes in the right concentrations (called electrolyte balance) is important in maintaining fluid balance among the compartments. 6. There are many types of electrolytes and electrolyte manufacturers—some with little experience in putting together a successful electrolyte product.6 mEq/L) is most abundant (85%) in bones and teeth. The three main compartments are • • • Fluid within cells Fluid in the space around cells Blood Electrolytes. particularly sodium. If the electrolyte concentration is low. the body can actively move electrolytes in or out of cells. Sulfate is part of some amino acids and proteins in the form of sulfur. RNA. It is also part of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. acidifier.DNA. retards Salmonella spp. It easily diffuses into and out of cells helping to regulate osmotic pressure.108 mEq/L) is the most abundant anion in extracellular fluid.5. Chloride (Cl: 98. It functions primarily as an intracellular anion and is part of the nucleic acids . The kidneys help maintain electrolyte concentrations by filtering electrolytes from blood. To function normally. and excreting any excess into the urine. 8. Thus. Bicarbonate (22-26 mEq/L) is part of the buffer system.

milkspecialties. however.• Acidifiers – helps to inhibit bacterial growth and assist milk clot formation • Chlorides – major electrolyte • Potassium – major electrolyte • Thickeners – (+ or –) • Probiotics – (+ or –) • Vitamin C – necessary for immune system function and preservation • Organic bound trace minerals – necessary for immune system function.com/technical/vet_advisors/Electrolyte%20Use%20and %20Management%20-%20Volume%203.pdf http://en. physical collapse or sudden death may result if the excess accumulation occurs in the nervous system. Treating this type of excess sodium accumulation is difficult and rarely successful. necessary component of any good electrolyte product.innvista. sodium may accumulate in some tissues at excessive levels.wikipedia.htm . Seizures.org/wiki/Electrolyte http://www.answers. *Sodium is a major. SOURCES: http://www.com/topic/electrolyte#ixzz1DyQQkHO9 http://www.com/health/nutrition/minerals/electrol. Without adequate water intake. but can be prevented by providing free-choice access to fresh. clean water at all times.

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