One evening earlier this week my body suddenly felt like its power grid was shutting down and I was going to faint. Fortunately I was sitting at my computer desk at the time.
New York City, along with much of the country, has been suffering through a prolonged heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90’s, high humidity, and ‘bad air’ alerts nearly every day. Even a short while spent outdoors produces heavy sweating as the body tries to keep itself at a reasonable working temperature.
I’d been trying to stay hydrated but this scary experience made me realize I was probably dehydrated at the cellular level and needed to pay more attention to my electrolyte balance during this kind of weather.
So this is what I did – and will continue to do until the weather becomes more conducive to life:
Replenished my electrolytes with a packet of Emergen-C Immune Plus (Blueberry-Acai flavor) – because it’s what I had around – mixed into a cup of filtered water
Ate some pink sea salt to restore needed trace minerals to my body
Manually cleared the lymph glands in my neck and across the top of my chest to drain accumulated toxins from my lymphatic system and sinuses
Worked on my pyloric and ileocecal valves to get my digestion moving
Used a hollow, spiky 6″ Bodymind ball vertically along the center of my back to open up the energy channels running from my spine to the rest of my body
ELECTROLYTE BALANCE RESTORATION
WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES
Electrolytes are minerals found in our bodily fluids. They carry an electric charge and are essential to keeping the heart, nerves and muscles functioning properly. Therefore, it is important to maintain a precise and constant balance of electrolytes to stay healthy. The kidneys play an important role in ensuring that electrolyte levels remain steady despite any changes the body may undergo. Having an electrolyte imbalance – an excess or a deficiency – in the body can be dangerous and in some cases fatal. (Gulati, 2011)
On average, the body produces about 100 watts of electricity a day. Our electrolytes take on a positive or negative charge when they dissolve in body fluid, enabling them to conduct electricity and move electrical charges or signals throughout your body. These charges are vital to many processes that keep us alive and functioning well, including the operation of the brain, nerves, and muscles, and the creation of new tissue. (Morris, 2015)
FUNCTIONS OF ELECTROLYTES
There are many electrolytes needed to run the body. Here’s a list of some of the most important ones and their primary functions (Morris, 2015):
- Helps control fluids in the body, impacting blood pressure
- Necessary for muscle and nerve function
- Helps balance all the electrolytes
- Helps balance electrolytes
- Balances acidity and alkalinity, which helps maintain a healthy pH
- Essential to proper digestion
- Regulates the heart and blood pressure
- Helps balance electrolytes
- Aids in transmitting nerve impulses
- Contributes to bone health
- Necessary for muscle contraction
- important to the production of DNA and RNA
- Contributes to nerve and muscle function
- Helps maintain heart rhythm
- Helps regulate blood glucose levels
- Enhances the immune system
- A key component of bones and teeth
- Important to the movement of nerve impulses and muscle movement
- Contributes to blood clotting
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Helps cells produce the energy needed for tissue growth and repair
- Helps the body maintain a healthy pH
- Regulates heart function
Our electrolytes perform many other functions, including regulating body temperature, respiratory rate, digestion, energy production, fluid transport across cells, ion transport, renal function (including bladder control), glucose metabolism, neurological function, signal transduction, thought, and memory; maintaining fluid levels; preventing cardiac arrhythmia. All our senses also rely on electrolytes in the body for gathering information and then transporting those messages to the brain and the muscles; and many, many more. (Kane, 2016)
It would be easier to count the number of stars in the sky than the number of functions electrolytes perform in our bodies. (Kline, 2015)
WHEN ELECTROLYTES BECOME UNBALANCED (Morris, 2015)
The levels of the fluids found inside and outside the cells of our bodies should remain fairly consistent. On average, about 40% of our fluids are inside the cells and 20% are outside the cells. Electrolytes help the body adjust these values to maintain a healthy percentage balance.
While it’s normal for our electrolyte levels to fluctuate, they can become seriously imbalanced – resulting in the creation of too many or not enough minerals or electrolytes. Among the things that can cause such an imbalance are:
- Fluid loss from heavy exercise or physical activity
- Over hydration – drinking too much water
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Medications such as diuretics, antibiotics, and chemotherapy drugs
- Alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
- Severe burns
- Some forms of cancer
I took a packet of Emergen-C Immune Plus because it was what happened to be at hand. If you prefer to avoid the sugars, colors, and flavors in Emergen-C products, you could use LyteShow or LyteCaps, and/or drink raw coconut water and switch from refined table salt to a pink sea salt.
Ingredients in Emergen-C Immune Plus (Blueberry-Acai) packets:
If you can’t make out the fuzzy image above (the best I was able to find), see this page on VitaCost’s site – which also lists the less than desirable ingredients in Emergen-C, such as the fructose and maltodextrin.
LYTESHOW & LYTECAPS
These two electrolyte products will replenish your electrolytes without any of the calories, sugars, sweeteners, carbohydrates, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in Emergen-C products:
Liquid: LyteShow – Electrolyte Concentrate for Rapid Rehydration – 40 Servings (With Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc)
Each 4 ounce bottle contains 40 servings of LyteShow concentrate. Depending on usage, each bottle lasts approximately 2-6 weeks. Ingredients include balanced ions of magnesium, sodium, chloride, and potassium. Also contains zinc, an essential trace element, and citric acid. (Amazon.com)
Capsules: LyteCaps – Perfect Balance of Electrolytes for Serious Rehydration – 30 Servings, 60 Vegetarian Capsules (With Magnesium, …
Each 60 vegetarian capsule bottle contains 30 servings of LyteCaps. Ingredients include balanced ions of magnesium, sodium, chloride, and potassium. Also contains Vitamin D3 and L-Tyrosine.
LyteCaps contains a carefully formulated balance of electrolytes in a dry, capsule form. Minerals include magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, as well as patented TRAACS® manganese and zinc.
Contains no calories, sugars, sweeteners, carbohydrates, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Manufactured in an FDA-regulated and NSF GMP-certified facility.
Take LyteCaps with water to replace electrolytes and fluids lost from sweating, exercising, or even drinking alcohol. More comprehensive than your typical sports drinks, LyteCaps provides a health-focused alternative that can help prevent muscle cramps and help you recover quickly. (Amazon.com)
RAW COCONUT WATER
Then there’s my very favorite way to restore electrolytes: Hold Harmless Organic Raw Coconut Water. I like to mix it about 50/50 with filtered water.
HIMALAYAN PINK SEA SALT
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt contains 84 trace minerals, including the electrolytes our bodies need. I carry a small GoTubb of it in my purse when I’m traveling or eating out in my own city – and also sometimes just sprinkle some into my palm and lick it off.
Here’s a brief comparison of refined white table salt with Himalayan Pink Salt so you can see how switching from table salt to Himalayan Pink will benefit your health.
For more information on the benefits of sea salts and health risks of refined table salt, see The Healing Properties of Unrefined Salts. (Hardin, 2014B) and Sea Salts vs White Table Salt (Hardin, 2016).
SPORTS DRINKS, ENERGY DRINKS & SODAS
It’s best to avoid a “sports drink” like GatorAde if possible – unless it’s the only thing available to you to avoid dehydration and electrolyte depletion. These drinks tend to be loaded with sugar (or, even worse for you, artificial sweeteners) and food dyes. You’ve no doubt observed their garish colors.
And I hope you know by now that sodas like Coke, Pepsi, and other soft drinks – both the regular and diet versions – are not good choices either, that they damage your health in the following ways:
Most of them contain caffeine
The diet or ‘lite’ versions contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, a ‘sugar coated poison’.
They damage teeth
They weaken bones
They damage kidneys
They promote weight gain
They adversely affect fertility
They promote gastroesophageal reflux
They interfere with brain functioning
And … they’re actually DEHYDRATING to boot
For more information on why these pseudo-thirst quenchers are harmful, take a look at 10 Reasons Why Drinking Coke (and other Soda Drinks) May Be Harmful For Your Body
MANUAL CLEARING OF LYMPH GLANDS IN NECK & CHEST
Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that contains our white blood cells, protein molecules, various salts, glucose, bacteria.
Our lymphatic system is the body’s inner drainage network, protecting us from illness and disease-causing chronic inflammation. Its principal role is to protect the body against damage from infections caused by pathogenic bacteria and cancel cells while helping keep fluid levels in balance.
The lymph system consists of a complex network of vessels and nodes spanning almost the entire body, carrying fluids from tissues into the blood, and vice versa. This system is a critical part of our immune system and important for wound healing.
Along with those lymph vessels and nodes, the tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are also part of the lymphatic system.
Lymph nodes are located near major arteries since the lymphatic system needs to connect to our blood flow to keep the blood clean. Some of the most prominent locations of our lymph nodes are the throat, armpits, chest, abdomen, and groin.
Toxins, pathogenic bacteria, and other illness-causing microbes enter our bodies every day and make their way into the lymphatic fluid. Eventually, this fluid and its contents can get trapped inside the lymph nodes, where infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes attempt to destroy them. Bacteria and toxins are filtered out and more white blood cells are produced, used up, and replenished.
Another important function of the lymphatic system is keeping bodily fluids in balance. (Axe, 2016)
Unlike the circulatory system which has the heart to pump blood around the body, the lymphatic system has no type of pump. Movement of the lymph from the outer reaches of the body toward the heart occurs when we breathe and move our muscles. This arrangement worked well before we took to sitting as much as most of us do today – at desks, in cars, in front of the TV, as spectators at sporting events. In our sedentary life style, the lymph in the body is likely to become stagnant and fail to move toxins through the lymph nodes and out of the body.
See Fighting Off A Virus (Hardin, 2014A) for instructions on how to clear your own lymph glands manually. After even a few minutes squeezing out the lymph nodes on your neck or along the top of your chest, you’ll likely feel more a lot more alert, healthier, and happier.
PYLORIC & ILEOCECAL VALVES
PYLORIC VALVE – LOCATED BETWEEN THE BOTTOM OF THE STOMACH & TOP OF THE SMALL INTESTINE
LOCATION OF ILEOCECAL VALVE – LOCATED BETWEEN THE END OF THE SMALL INTESTINE & TOP OF THE LARGE INTESTINE
Malfunctioning pyloric and/or ileocecal valves play a part in many physical illnesses and conditions. Either or both of these valves can become sluggish and remain open when they should be closing or stay closed when they should be opening.
An ileocecal valve stuck in the open position can cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration and lack of energy. A valve sticking in the closed position can cause tightness in the bowel movements or constipation. Both conditions create a toxic condition and cause imbalances anywhere in the body where there is blood.
See MALFUNCTIONING PYLORIC & ILEOCECAL VALVES – AND HOW TO FIX THEM for various techniques to work on your pyloric and ileocecal valves.
This technique is taught by Ellen Saltonstall at her yoga studio in New York City. “The distinct feature of Bodymind Ballwork is the use of rubber balls of varying sizes and textures (as small as a walnut and as big as a melon), which support, massage and stretch localized areas of the body. There are techniques for every part of you, from head to toes. The result is a wonderful feeling of lightness and ease in the body, and quiet alertness in the mind.” (Saltonstall, 2016)
The ball I use down the center of my back is the green spiky one shown at the lower right of the photo above. It’s hollow and about 4″ in diameter.
See Ellen’s website for more information. She’s currently at work on a book on BodyMind BallWork principles and techniques.
Many thanks to Ellen Saltonstall for bringing LyteShow to my attention.
CLEAR SIGNS IT’S TOO HOT OUTSIDE
Axe, J. (2016). The Lymphatic System: How to Make It Strong & Effective. See: https://draxe.com/lymphatic-system/
Gulati, S. (2011). The Role Of Electrolytes In The Body. See: http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/role-of-electrolytes-in-the-body/
Hardin, J.R. (2014A). Fighting Off A Virus. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/12/fight-viruses/
Hardin, J.R. (2014B). The Healing Properties of Unrefined Salts. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/?s=healing+properties+unrefined+salts
Hardin, J.R. (2015). MALFUNCTIONING PYLORIC & ILEOCECAL VALVES – AND HOW TO FIX THEM. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/08/15/malfunctioning-pyloric-ileocecal-valves-and-how-to-fix-them/
Hardin, J.R. (2016). Sea Salts vs White Table Salt. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/05/22/sea-salt-vs-white-table-salt/
Kane, E. (2016). The E-Lyte Story: Why You Need Electrolytes! BodyBio. See: http://www.bodybio.com/content.aspx?page=elyte-electrolyte-101
Kline, D. (2015). What Are Electrolytes And Why Do You Need Them? Cherish the Body. See: http://cherishthebody.com/what-are-electrolytes-and-why-do-you-need-them/
Morris, S.Y. (2015). How to Prevent an Electrolyte Imbalance. See: http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/how-to-prevent-an-electrolyte-imbalance#Overview1
Naik, D. (2016). 10 Reasons Why Drinking Coke (and other Soda Drinks) May Be Harmful For Your Body. See: http://listsurge.com/10-reasons-why-drinking-coke-and-other-soda-drinks-may-be-harmful-for-your-body/
Saltonstall, E. (2016). Bodymind Ballwork. See: http://www.ellensaltonstall.com/ballwork-kinetic-awareness/
© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.