Muscle cramp? Drink electrolytes, not water

If you reach for water when a muscle cramp strikes, you might want to think again. New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has revealed drinking electrolytes instead of pure water can help prevent muscle cramps.


The importance of electrolyte concentration in perspiration

Spanish researchers have analysed how the sodium lost through sweat during a marathon influences the maintenance of stable and physiologically sound conditions that allow the body to carry out its functions. Excessive electrolyte ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Esophageal rupture described after drinking PEG solution

(HealthDay)—Esophageal rupture can occur in association with colonoscopy preparation, according to a letter to the editor published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.


Salt increases physical performance in resistance competitions

Spanish researchers have analysed the effectiveness of salt on sports performance in triathletes. The athletes who added salt supplements to their usual hydration routines during the competition took 26 fewer minutes to complete ...

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In chemistry, an electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible.

Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts. Furthermore, some gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. Electrolyte solutions can also result from the dissolution of some biological (e.g., DNA, polypeptides) and synthetic polymers (e.g., polystyrene sulfonate), termed polyelectrolytes, which contain charged functional groups.

Electrolyte solutions are normally formed when a salt is placed into a solvent such as water and the individual components dissociate due to the thermodynamic interactions between solvent and solute molecules, in a process called solvation. For example, when table salt, NaCl, is placed in water, the salt (a solid) dissolves into its component ions, according to the dissociation reaction

It is also possible for substances to react with water producing ions, e.g., carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water to produce a solution which contains hydronium, carbonate, and hydrogen carbonate ions.

Note that molten salts can be electrolytes as well. For instance, when sodium chloride is molten, the liquid conducts electricity.

An electrolyte in a solution may be described as concentrated if it has a high concentration of ions, or dilute if it has a low concentration. If a high proportion of the solute dissociates to form free ions, the electrolyte is strong; if most of the solute does not dissociate, the electrolyte is weak. The properties of electrolytes may be exploited using electrolysis to extract constituent elements and compounds contained within the solution.

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