Electrolyte Balance: An Overlooked Key to Sustained Athletic Endurance and Performance
By Stephen Clouthier, DC
While there is ongoing debate about how much electrolyte support athletes need there is NO DEBATE that electrolyte balance is a key factor in sustaining athletic performance and maintaining proper fluid levels within the body. I find most athletes I work with don’t really want to worry about electrolytes. They (electrolytes) are like the pesky little details of training and exercise that most of us would like to ignore. The problem is that electrolytes are the cement that holds the bricks together in the training wall. If this electrolyte mortar is not present the wall quickly breaks down or becomes unstable.
If electrolytes are like the mortar in a brick wall, the bricks are analogous to water. In one study, significant decreases in upper and lower body anaerobic power output were noted with dehydration. This assertion is heavily supported in the literature. Electrolyte intake and balance is the most significant factor in maintaining proper hydration levels and muscular power in the athlete.
When explaining to athletes in my office the importance of electrolytes, I explain to them that these ions are the substances that conduct the “electrical” communication in the body. They are also responsible for allowing normal muscle and neurologic function to continue even under extremes of physical and environmental stress. The most important electrolytes are as follows:
- Sodium (Na+)
- Potassium (K+)
- chloride (Cl-)
- calcium (Ca2+)
- magnesium (Mg2+)
- phosphate (PO42-)
Per serving Klean Electrolytes contains the following:
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxal-5-phosphate)……….7 mg
Calcium (as Calcium Chelate) ………………25 mg
Magnesium (as Magnesium Chelate)…….25 mg
Sodium (as Sodium Chloride)……………….40 mg
Potassium (as Potassium Chelate) ……….25 mg
Chloride (as Sodium Chloride) ……………. 60 mg
Klean Electrolyte was designed with the athlete in mind. It covers the major needs of the body during exercise by replenishing the bodies stores of these essential electrolytes. Klean Electrolytes™ supplies sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium to help replenish electrolytes and retain hydration. Electrolytes are important for many reasons and help to maintain a normal balance of fluids within the body.‡ They assist is maintaining a balance, of pressure between the inside and outside of cells and help to support the systems that regulate blood pressure.‡ Hydration and electrolyte balance are also critical to nerve and muscle function. For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium, sodium, and potassium. Electrolytes lost during exercise, particularly workouts that are long lasting or strenuous, can lead to fatigue, dehydration, and muscle cramps. Athletes exercising in extreme heat or humidity, or for three hours or longer continuously, risk dehydration. Read the full Klean Electrolyte Product Data Sheet here.
As we head into the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, the extremes of temperature necessitate even closer monitoring of electrolyte balance. Since Klean Electrolyte is designed to be used before, during or after exercise, make sure that it is part of your training plan. Regular and consistent electrolyte supplementation can make all the difference in the functional ability of the neuromuscular system and therefore performance outcomes in training and competition.
Dr. Stephen Clouthier is a graduate from and was an adjunct professor at New York Chiropractic College. He owns the Alternative Health Center in The Woodlands, Texas where he treats athletes of all levels from a nutritional and holistic approach. He is currently pursuing Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician accreditation. As a multiple Ironman and marathon competitor, he lends his expertise as a Level I USAT certified coach, staff coach for Finish Strong Coach and the chiropractic and nutritional doctor for Team Green Adidas.
Learn more about about the NSF Certified for Sport® Program here: nsfsport.com