We received this question this week from an athlete wondering if there is such a thing as too many electrolytes.
Val John Anderson, Director of Sales and Marketing for elete, reponds:
“Yes, of course, you can have too much of anything.
A number of athletes actually die every year from consuming too much water (called water toxicity or hyponatremia), which can dilute the body’s electrolytes to dangerously low levels.
Consuming too much electrolytes can also be a problem. You wouldn’t want to drink a whole large refill bottle of elete in one sitting for example. That being said, if you are consuming elete by mixing it with your water, you could actually go up to four times the recommended mixing level and not have any problems other than it would negatively affect the taste of your water.
The surprising thing about elete is that people can achieve results with fairly low levels of essential minerals. Which means that you are at extremely low risk for overdoing it.
The conditions (activity, temperature, etc.) that you are exposed to on a daily basis make a big difference as to how much electrolytes you need. An individual who is not physically active or exposed to heat and who also eats a typical American diet may want to actually reduce the amount of sodium, an essential electrolyte, in their diet. On the other hand, athletes or individuals exposed to heat, lose more sodium than any other electrolyte. That is why you see reports of the government or doctors urging the general public to consume less sodium and at the same time, sports doctors regularly urging people to make sure that they consume enough.
The body works very hard to maintain steady levels of electrolytes through what is called homeostasis. If an individuals is deficient, the body will work to absorb more from the diet and to hold onto it in the body. If a person has an excess, the body won’t try to absorb as much and will work to get rid of it through sweat, urine, or other methods. The body also stores essential electrolytes to be drawn upon as needed. These stores can serve functional roles as well. Calcium, for example, is stored in the bones where it gives the bones strength. Magnesium is stored in the muscles where it is essential to the function of the muscles. The heart is the hardest working muscle in the body and it stores more magnesium than any other tissue in the body.
You can say that electrolytes work as a team. An imbalance between the electrolytes can be just as serious as not having enough or having too much. Having a good balance between the electrolytes can help each one to function better.
elete is an electrolyte with a lower emphasis on sodium than most sports drinks. elete also provides a higher percentage of the recommended dietary value or DV of magnesium than the other electrolytes. We believe that this emphasis or ratio is more in line with achieving the needs of athletes when you consider overall needs and what is consumed from the diet. Sodium is abundant in the diet and the main food source for magnesium is green leafy vegetables.
Going back to the question of whether you can consume too many electrolytes, given the level of of training for most athletes, it is more likely that an athlete would have a hard time getting enough electrolytes in your body than that you would be consuming too much.
Most athletes find that they need to be adding elete to whatever they drink all day long to build their body stores up as much as possible before they start to train or compete and then replace what their digestive system can tolerate during training or competition so that they deplete those stores as slowly as possible.”