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What's the best source of electrolytes?

I sweat significantly more than my peers during exercise. I drink G2 during exercises, but what type of dietary efforts can I make to ensure a healthy exercise? Are there better sports drinks I should be drinking?
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To fuel high-intensity exercise, the body needs increased amounts of calories and all nutrients, particularly, increased carbohydrates fuel sources, additional protein to maintain muscle mass, and additional iron and B vitamins to support the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. In addition, nutritional prerequisites for a well-nourished athlete include increased antioxidant nutrients to protect the cells in a highly active, highly-oxygenated body from oxidative damage.

Exercise of all types requires energy in the form of calories. The amount of calories needed to fuel physical activity depends on several factors including your age, your gender, your level of conditioning, and the intensity and duration of the activity. For example, sports that require repetitive muscle contractions (running, rowing and swimming) use more energy than activities that require maintenance of muscle contractions (gymnastics and golf). Athletes need to consume large amounts of calories and carbohydrates to be sure they have enough fuel available to support high-intensity exercise.

Exercise causes loss of fluid through sweating and respiration. The fluid that is lost is taken from the blood, which can reduce blood volume. If fluid is not replaced during and after exercise, serious dehydration can result, causing an increase in body temperature and impairing heart function. Drinking water is probably the best way to replace fluids. However, some experts believe that it is also necessary to replace lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals - sodium, chloride, and potassium - that are lost when we sweat. (Other minerals can be lost through sweat as well - including the antioxidant mineral, zinc). While many different "electrolyte-replacement" sports drinks are available, you may not need to spend money on these expensive drinks to ensure adequate replacement of electrolytes. In most cases, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides an appropriate amount of these important minerals.

If you exercise regularly for long periods of time or at a high level of intensity (for example, training for a marathon), you may find that you are more susceptible to infections, specifically upper respiratory tract infections. High-level physical activity does generate a significant amount of free radicals, which can tax and weaken the immune system, increasing your chance of catching a cold.

Fluids: During strenuous exercise, athletes must drink enough water to maintain their pre-exercise weight. One pound of weight lost is equal to 2 cups of fluid that should be replaced. It is important to remember that thirst is not a dependable indicator of the need for fluids, and athletes must make a habit of drinking water frequently, both during and after exercise. Calories: Competitive endurance athletes have increased caloric needs. Female athletes may need 4,000 calories per day or more, while male athletes may require up to 6,000 calories or more. A nutritionist, trainer, or health coach can often help you determine exactly what your calorie needs will be. During periods of active exercise, however, as many as 10-15 calories additional intake per minute may be required.
Carbohydrates: Glycogen, the form in which carbohydrate is stored in muscle cells, is the primary source of energy used to fuel exercising muscles. It is well accepted that fatigue during exercise is caused primarily by depletion of glycogen stores. Most athletes' glycogen stores are depleted within 90 minutes of intense exercise, leaving muscles with inadequate energy sources to fuel activity. As a result, athletes who train daily often require large amounts of carbohydrate (more than 500 grams per day) to continue to perform at peak levels. Protein: Considerable debate exists among nutritionists regarding protein needs for athletes. Some nutritionists believe that physical activity does not increase protein requirements, and that athletes, like all other adults, need only 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Other nutritionists believe that daily protein requirements for athletes may be twice that of physically inactive individuals, reaching as high as 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Under the first scenario, a 175-pound athlete weighing about 80 kilograms would need about 65-80 grams of protein. Under the second scenario, this same athlete would need about 160 grams of protein. It is not yet clear exactly where in this range most athletes fall, but it is clear that amino acid balance and protein quality are equally as important as the total amount of protein. For this reason, athletes should be sure to obtain sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids in their diet as well as the metabolic support amino acids. Included in this list would be the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine, methionine and taurine, the methyl-containing amino acid methionine, and the detox-supportive amino acid glycine.

This is kind of lengthy way of saying eating right and drinks lots of water can be enough to keep you healthy and hydrated!

Jennifer R RPh www.drugstore.com
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