Sources of electrolytes in the form of water and foods.

What Do Electrolytes Do - Everything You Need To Know

Electrolytes are more important to your health than you might realize. When we get sick or engage in high-intensity exercise, our bodies use up more electrolytes than usual, making it essential to quickly replenish them (1).

However, electrolytes aren’t only important when we’re sick or active. Our everyday activities like working out, commuting, drinking coffee, going to happy hour, braving the heat outside, and sleeping all cause us to lose electrolytes (2). That’s why it’s crucial for everyone to ensure balanced intake of electrolytes, as they are fundamental for our bodies to function correctly (3).

So, what happens when our electrolyte balance is off, and how can we make sure we’re getting enough of these minerals? Understanding these questions is key to our health and wellness.

In this guide, we’ll explain the concept of electrolytes in a simple and understandable way. We'll cover what they are, why they're so important, and how we can ensure we're getting enough. This isn't just important information for athletes or fitness enthusiasts—it's crucial knowledge for everyone. 

Essential Takeaways
  • Essential electrolytes are becoming harder to obtain from food and water alone due to changes in our diet, environment, overfarming, and modern water processing practices.
  • Whether you're physically active or simply want to boost your overall health and vitality, using electrolyte and mineral drops to maintain a steady supply of electrolytes can make a significant difference in your life.

We're going to focus on electrolytes and their role in keeping us hydrated and supporting various bodily functions. By the end of this guide, you'll understand why electrolytes are crucial for everyone, regardless of how active they are. So, let's get started with our exploration of electrolytes and their importance to our health.

What Are Electrolytes?

You've probably heard that electrolytes are essential for hydration, especially after intense exercise or illness. But what are electrolytes good for, and why are they so important for our health?

Electrolytes are minerals found in our body that carry an electric charge. They are essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle function. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium (3).

Electrolytes and Our Modern Diet

Historically, we obtained electrolytes naturally from our food and water. However, changes in our diet, environment, and overfarming—all consequences of trying to meet the escalating food demand of our growing population—have led to nutrient-depleted soils.

As a result, fruits, vegetables, and grains grown in these depleted soils have lower electrolyte content compared to those grown in nutrient-rich environments, making it harder for us to get enough electrolytes through food alone (4).

Our water supply is facing a similar problem. It’s true that modern water purification practices are essential to ensure safe drinking water. However, they often utilize filtration methods that inadvertently remove naturally occurring minerals alongside harmful contaminants. Consequently, the electrolyte content in our water has decreased, resulting in reduced electrolyte intake (5).

Read more about this in our blog post How to Increase Electrolytes—A Simple and Easy Guide.

The Role of Electrolyte Supplements

Given the challenges of shifts in dietary habits, the impact of overfarming, and changes in water processing practices, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get enough electrolytes from our diet and water alone. As a result, adding high-quality electrolyte supplements into our daily routine has become more than just a good idea—it’s a necessity for maintaining optimal health and well-being (6).

The Importance of Electrolytes for Hydration

Squirting Buoy hydration drops into a beverage.

Staying properly hydrated is the foundation of any health and wellness goal. Given that the human body is roughly 60% water, maintaining hydration is essential (6). Yet, studies reveal that 3 out of 4 Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Even mild dehydration can adversely affect our mood, cognitive function, and overall health (7).

To learn more about why electrolytes are key to good health, check out Electrolytes and Hydration: Why Are Electrolytes Important?

The Role of Electrolytes in Hydration

Electrolytes play an integral role in maintaining hydration. They facilitate water retention, help maintain fluid balance, and prevent dehydration (8). Achieving adequate hydration isn't a one-time task; it requires a consistent intake of fluids and electrolytes throughout the day (2).

The Hydration Equation: More Than Just Water

Almost everything we do is causing our chronic dehydration. With each action and breath, we’re losing water and essential electrolytes (3). Even a minor 2% loss of key electrolytes and fluids can significantly impair physical and mental performance and influence your body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients (6). Exercise escalates this loss to 6-10% (1). Surprisingly, when feeling dehydrated, two-thirds of people opt to take medication instead of drinking water (7)!

The Complexity of Hydration

You might be wondering, “Can’t I just drink more water?” Unfortunately, hydration isn’t that simple. It involves two parts: fluids and electrolytes. Without a sufficient intake of electrolytes and minerals, your body can’t efficiently use the water you’re consuming (9).

The good news is that most beverages contain water. The downside, however, is that food and water alone don’t provide enough electrolytes to maintain a balanced electrolyte level.

Electrolytes and Physical Activity

For those leading active lifestyles, the importance of electrolytes increases significantly (1). Physical activity and exercise lead to sweating, and with sweat, we lose not only water but also electrolytes. It’s crucial to replenish these lost electrolytes to prevent dehydration and maintain optimal performance (2).

Continuous Electrolyte Intake for Adequate Hydration

However, it's important to note that maintaining hydration with the help of electrolytes isn't just for those moments when you're exercising or sweating profusely. Our bodies require a steady supply of electrolytes throughout the day. This consistent intake ensures our bodies remain adequately hydrated, supporting our everyday functions and overall health (2).

Increase Your Electrolytes With Buoy Hydration Drops

How Electrolytes Impact Bodily Functions

Electrolytes do more than simply maintain hydration; they regulate nerve and muscle function, influencing our mood, digestion, energy, cognitive function, and focus. An imbalance in these essential minerals can lead to health issues like muscle cramps and an irregular heartbeat (7). Electrolytes’ influence reaches far beyond our muscles and nerves, impacting our brain function, immune health, and bone integrity (3).

Electrolytes and Brain Health

Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and calcium, are pivotal for neural signaling. They maintain the electrical charges vital for our brain’s communication system, influencing our cognitive functions (8). Maintaining a balance in these electrolytes is key to keeping our minds sharp and responsive.

Electrolytes and Immune Health

A balanced electrolyte profile benefits our immune system, the body’s defense against illness. Electrolytes such as zinc bolster our immune response, enabling us to combat infections more effectively. Therefore, optimal electrolyte balance is not only about hydration and energy but also about fortifying our immune system (3).

Electrolytes and Bone Health

Certain electrolytes like calcium and phosphorus are integral to our skeletal system, contributing to bone health (8). These electrolytes maintain bone density, preventing conditions like osteoporosis. Maintaining a balanced electrolyte profile is not just a suggestion; it’s a necessity for overall health (3).

Nervous System Regulation

Electrolytes play a vital role in regulating our nervous system. Sodium and potassium, for example, create an electrical charge that helps transmit signals in our nerves and muscles (9). This transmission is critical, as it enables our brain to communicate with our body, guiding movement, reflexes, and thought processes. Without these crucial electrolytes, our bodies would struggle to respond to the signals from our brain, impacting our health (3).

If you're interested in how sodium affects our body, see Sodium (Salt) Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.

Supporting Everyday Human Functions

Electrolytes also assist in supporting our daily human functions. They influence our mood by aiding in the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin. They facilitate digestion, ensuring our bodies efficiently break down and absorb nutrients. These minerals manage our energy levels, allowing us to remain focused and active throughout the day. Electrolytes even aid cognitive function, keeping us alert, motivated, and sharp (6).

The Body's Regulation of Electrolyte Levels

Our bodies are naturally designed to manage electrolyte levels, with organs like the kidneys playing a critical role in maintaining this balance (9). However, factors like physical activity, illness, diet, and medication can disrupt this balance, leading to an excess or deficiency of electrolyte levels (7).

Signs of Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolyte imbalances can cause a range of symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle Weakness: This could present as difficulty in lifting objects you normally could, or you might feel unusually fatigued after your regular workout.
  • Changes in Appetite: You might feel unusually hungry or experience a complete lack of appetite.
  • Changes in Thirst: This could range from an insatiable need for water, even when you've been drinking plenty, to an unusual lack of thirst despite not drinking much at all.
  • Confusion: Difficulty focusing or making decisions.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: Feelings of a racing heart, skipping beats, or fluttering in your chest.
  • Changes in Blood Pressure: This could be unusually high or low blood pressure.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or unsteady.
  • Problems with Coordination: Difficulty with balance, walking, or motor skills (3).

It's important to recognize these symptoms and address any potential imbalances as soon as possible to maintain optimal health. Learn more about the consequences of ignoring these symptoms in The Dangers of Electrolyte Deficiency.

The Importance of Balance in Electrolyte Levels

Balance is key with electrolytes. An excess or deficiency of specific electrolytes can disrupt our body's equilibrium and lead to health issues (3). But can you have too many electrolytes? Find out in our article Can You Have Too Many Electrolytes?

Chronic imbalances can harm our kidneys, which regulate electrolyte concentrations. In severe cases, imbalances, especially those involving sodium and potassium, can even lead to heart failure, making maintaining balanced electrolyte levels essential to our overall well-being (8).

Sources of Electrolytes

Sources of electrolytes in foods.

Electrolytes are found in a variety of foods and beverages. Sodium can be obtained from foods like pickles, olives, and cheese. Potassium is abundant in bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. For magnesium, consider consuming more green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Foods like milk, yogurt, and sardines are good sources of calcium. Additionally, many sports drinks contain electrolytes, but these can also have a high sugar content, so they should be consumed in moderation. Always try to maintain a balanced diet to ensure you're getting a healthy amount of these important minerals (3).

The Challenge of Consistent Electrolyte Intake

However, maintaining optimal levels of all the electrolytes our bodies need can be challenging, even with a varied and balanced diet. This is especially true during periods of intense physical activity, illness, or while leading a demanding, fast-paced lifestyle. There may be times when we cannot consistently consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods at every meal, making the task of ensuring sufficient electrolyte intake even more demanding (1).

A Convenient Solution: Buoy’s Electrolyte Drops

In these situations, Buoy's electrolyte drops offer an ideal solution. These drops are crafted to effectively supplement your diet, ensuring a balanced electrolyte intake. They can be especially beneficial during rigorous workouts, hot weather, or periods of illness when our bodies are losing more water and electrolytes.

While Buoy drops are not a substitute for a healthy diet, they are an excellent way to ensure you're getting all the electrolytes you need. Buoy’s electrolyte and mineral drops are a simple and convenient solution, especially in today's fast-paced world where getting a variety of nutrient-rich foods at every meal isn't always feasible.

The Power of Whole Foods and Supplements

Though it’s ideal to get most of our nutrients from whole foods, electrolyte supplements serve as an invaluable tool. They help maintain our body’s delicate mineral balance, helping us stay hydrated, healthy, and functioning at our best.

Not All Electrolytes Are Created Equally

Learn more about hydration drops.

It's important to understand that just having electrolytes alone does not ensure their proper functioning in the body. The efficacy of electrolytes can be impacted by other ingredients and substances present in the body (3).

For example, excessive sugars can disrupt the absorption of electrolytes, leading to imbalances even when electrolyte intake is high. This is often the case with sugary sports drinks, which might seem beneficial due to their electrolyte content, but in reality, they can contribute to imbalances (7).

Similarly, an overconsumption of caffeine can lead to frequent urination, which might result in a faster loss of electrolytes. A balanced and mindful consumption of these substances can ensure optimal electrolyte function and overall health (3).

Buoy Electrolyte Drops: The Superior Choice

At Buoy, we’re proud to offer an effective electrolyte supplement. Our electrolyte and mineral drops are unsweetened and purposely unflavored, providing you with the pure benefits of electrolytes and nothing else. Buoy drops are made from naturally sourced electrolytes and loaded with 87 trace minerals in a liquid form that is 3x more bioavailable, enhancing any beverage with rapid hydration.

The Power of Buoy for Rehydration

Buoy Hydration Drops represent a significant breakthrough in rehydration solutions, providing an efficient way to replenish your body's electrolytes anytime and anywhere.

Our drops have been scientifically formulated to include essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, along with a hint of vitamin C. This careful formulation ensures you're not only hydrating but also restoring vital nutrients your body needs.

Incorporating Buoy into your daily routine is easy:

  • Add Buoy drops to the first thing you drink in the morning. Whether it's water, coffee, or a smoothie, Buoy mixes easily with any beverage.
  • Keep a bottle at work or in your gym bag. Add Buoy to your midday drink and your post-workout beverage to maintain optimal hydration throughout the day.
  • Increase your usage for more pronounced results. With Buoy, more is better. Regular, consistent use will deliver the most benefits.
  • Buoy’s compact design makes it easy to stay hydrated on the go. These drops offer a healthier, sugar-free alternative to traditional sports drinks, free from artificial flavors and colors.

Electrolytes play a critical role in maintaining proper hydration and overall health. Chronic dehydration symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle weakness, can often be alleviated with proper electrolyte intake.

Learn more about the importance of electrolytes and explore our collection of Hydrating Wellness Drops. Take a step toward better hydration and overall well-being by incorporating electrolyte supplements into your daily routine. Stay hydrated and healthy with Buoy! 

Full product line of Buoy drops in clouds.

Learn More About Buoy Hydration Drops 


  1. Shirreffs, S.M., et al. (2004). Fluid and Electrolyte Needs for Preparation and Recovery from Training and Competition. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(1), pp. 57–63. Retrieved from
  2. McDermott, B.P., Anderson, S.A., Armstrong, L.E., Casa, D.J., Cheuvront, S.N., Cooper, L., Kenney, W.L., O'Connor, F.G., Roberts, W.O. (2017). National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active. Journal of Athletic Training, 52(9), 877–895. Retrieved from
  3. Healthline. (2019). Electrolytes: Functions, Imbalance, and Sources. Retrieved from
  4. Meyer, L. (2016). The Impacts of Industrial Agriculture on Climate Change and Solutions for Mitigation. InTech. Retrieved from
  5. Cotruvo, J. (2004). WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. In: Nutrients in Drinking Water, World Health Organization. Retrieved from
  6. Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration, and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439-458. Retrieved from
  7. Taylor, K., Jones, E. B. (Updated 2022, October 3). Adult Dehydration. In: StatPearls (Internet). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from
  8. Blaine, J., Chonchol, M., & Levi, M. (2015). Renal Control of Calcium, Phosphate, and Magnesium Homeostasis. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 10(7), 1257-1272. Retrieved from
  9. Koeppen, B. M. (2009). The kidney and acid-base regulation. Advances in Physiology Education, 33(4), 275–281. Retrieved from

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