What does it mean that water has electrolytes?

April 04, 2023 4 min read

What does it mean that water has electrolytes?

In the midst of an ever-busy world, staying adequately hydrated is more important than ever. Sports drinks and expensive bottled water brands boast their rich electrolyte count, and many people think they need to drink these in order to stay hydrated. While electrolytes do play an important function in the body, they are more easily accessible than these brands make it seem.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are defined by the Cleveland Clinic to be “substances that have a natural positive or negative electrical charge when dissolved in water. … They help your body regulate chemical reactions, maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells, and more”  (1). Nearly every fluid in the body contains electrolytes, since so much of the body is made up of water. The five most common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. 

Why are electrolytes important?

Different types of electrolytes play different roles in the body, but their main role is in keeping the nervous system and muscles functioning properly. They also help keep pH levels raised in the body. Calcium and magnesium, for example, both help with muscle function  (2). Calcium helps muscles slide against each other to contract, and magnesium is needed to relax the muscles after contraction. Keeping muscles contracting and relaxing properly is important for everyone, but athletes in particular need to ensure they are consuming ample electrolytes containing magnesium and calcium. Sodium plays a large role in the nervous system, as it helps keep the body properly hydrated. Chloride is also important in hydration. Lastly, potassium keeps the heart beating regularly. Each electrolyte has a role to play in maintaining a healthy internal system, so it is crucial to consume a variety of electrolytes regularly. 

What health problems can electrolyte imbalance cause?

A lack of electrolytes in the body can cause a series of health problems, with the most severe being death. Electrolytes can be lost through excessive sweating, vomit, diarrhea, and prolonged exposure to heat. An imbalance of electrolytes has been known to cause tiredness, muscle weakness, headaches, convulsions, and an irregular heartbeat. The easiest way to avoid these symptoms is to ensure more fluids are consumed after any instance of suddenly losing electrolytes, like those mentioned above. 

How do we ingest electrolytes?

Electrolytes can be ingested through both food and beverages. Some of the most common foods containing electrolytes are spinach, legumes, pickle juice, dried apricots, and sunflower seeds. (Note: Sodium can help with muscle cramps, like that found in pickle juice, but ingesting high levels of sodium may lead to hypertension. It is best consumed in high intensity workouts/sports where electrolytes are leaving the body through sweat and need to be replaced quickly.)

Sports drinks are one of the most commonly known sources of electrolytes, but they are not as healthy as they seem. While high in electrolytes, they are also high in sugar. Athletes participating in high-intensity exercise can benefit from sports drinks, but non-athletes do not. According to a study conducted by Harvard, “For a non-athlete, a sports beverage is just another sugary drink… Drinking too many of these, especially when not performing vigorous exercise, can increase the risk of overweight/obesity and other health problems”  (3). While electrolytes have many benefits to the nervous and muscular systems, these tend to be outweighed by the amount of sugar found in these drinks for non-athletes.

Electrolytes can also be found in water, but not all water contains the same amount of electrolytes. Distilled and purified water is stripped of its minerals during the purification process, so they do not contain the beneficial electrolytes that alkaline water has. Alkaline and pH water both contain minerals like magnesium (an electrolyte), but they tend to be sold in expensive bottles. In fact, a 24-pack of pH waters bought from a grocery store can cost over eight dollars a gallon. Grocery stores make it seem like electrolytes are something that you need to overpay for. However, the Seychelle alkaline water filter can bring the cost down to thirty-four cents a gallon. Investing in a Seychelle filter allows a cost effective alternative to sugary sports drinks and expensive bottled water when it comes to your electrolyte intake.  

The Wrap-Up

Electrolytes are crucial for a fully-functioning nervous and muscular system. They keep pH levels high in the body, support muscle contraction and relaxation, and can help regulate heart rhythm. Without proper electrolytes, symptoms like convulsions, fatigue, or more may occur. Electrolytes can be ingested in food or beverages, but sports drinks and bottled water have their disadvantages. Instead, consider a Seychelle alkaline water filter for easy access to electrolytes. Seychelle filters help support electrolyte intake–easily, affordably, and at home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes have positive or negative charges when dissolved in water. These substances generally enter the body through fluids, and they help maintain balance in the body. 

Is it okay to drink water with electrolytes everyday?

Yes! Electrolytes are not only safe to drink daily, but they are important for your health. Drink electrolytes everyday, and drink more if participating in physical activities where electrolytes can be lost.

Is drinking electrolytes the same as drinking water?

No. Purified and distilled water filter out most of their electrolytes, so you will not receive the benefits of electrolytes by drinking them. Drinking alkaline water allows you to access electrolytes and improve your health. 


  1. Cleveland Clinic,https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21790-electrolytes 
  2. ​Helen West,Healthline,https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/electrolytes#functions 
  3. Harvard School of Public Health,https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sports-drinks/#:~:text=Sports%20Drinks%20and%20Health&text=Drinking%20too%20many%20of%20these,a%20risk%20of%20dental%20caries