Why do electrolytes increase cellular hydration levels better than water?

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Why is it that electrolytes are supposedly better at hydrating the body better than regular water?

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7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not that electrolytes are better than water. It’s that water with the right amount of electrolytes is better than water alone.

When the cells of your GI tract (stomach, intestines) want to absorb water. They don’t actually have the ability to pump water. They can pump charged particles, ions, like sodium and potassium. If the cells can pump enough ions to one side of a cell membrane, that side gains an ever so slightly higher level of electrical charge. Water, being attracted to charges, then follows passivity across the membrane into your body.

Basically, your cells don’t pump water around. They pump electrolytes around and water follows the electrolytes. So that’s how your cells and your body moves water inside (and outside like sweat).

If you drank nothing but pure, deionized water, you’d eventually die from electrolyte depletion. If you drank nothing but electrolytes, you’d die from electrical imbalances at the cellular level.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Electrolytes help your body absorb and hold onto water better than plain water because they balance the fluids inside and outside of your cells. This balance makes it easier for water to enter and stay in your cells, keeping you hydrated more effectively.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Electrolytes create osmotic pressure that draws water inside the cells. Electrolytes are concentrated drinks, so if the concentration inside the cell is lower than the electrolyte, then water will flow inside the cell to make balance.

So, they are effective for rehydration mostly during illness or after heavy workout with more sweating.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine that you are a moving, thinking sack of powdered iced tea drink. You sweat, piss, poop, and exhale iced tea. Just by living, you are slowly, but constantly, losing iced tea. Naturally, you want to replace these losses. So you infuse yourself with water. The problem is if you refill a jar of iced tea with water, it makes the jar taste watery. Same thing if you put too much iced tea mix into the jar, it makes it taste too strong. You need the right amount of iced tea to water. 

Under low stress conditions, we lose water and electrolytes slow enough that eating and drinking water solves the problem. In high stress scenarios, like running, exercising, diarrhea, vomiting, burns, etc., we lose iced tea at a much higher rate. We might also not be eating at this time. In this case it’s vital that we replace the  mixture properly or else we get too watery.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As far as regaining water they don’t work any better than water. But if you lost a lot of water through sweating you also lost a lot of salts. To replenish sodium/magnesium/potassium you need to eat food or drink mineral water/electrolyte drink, just drinking plain water won’t do.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Why did I think this was a thread about the movie Idiocracy?