All About Electrolytes What are they? What do they do?
So many people overlook the 6 major nutrients that your body needs in order to properly function, electrolytes. The definition of electrolytes as posted on WebMD, minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes. Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate) and can be measured by laboratory studies of the blood serum.
For the basis of this article, we will be discussing 3 of the 6 nutrients: sodium, calcium and potassium. The primary reason these 3 nutrients have been the topic of discussion on many multi media sites is due to the fact that, in today's food market place and with the popularity of the newest, most talked about eating styles in the likes of the Atkins, South Beach, and now the Ketogenic Diet, these 3 nutrients may be what is most lacking when following these types of styles of eating. Notice how I didn't say "diet"? Typically the many benefits that these styles of eating offer has become a choice for many Americans today. People have benefited greatly by following this style of eating such as; rapid weight loss, increased muscle mass, increased alertness, managed blood sugar, hormone balance, major effects in minimizing hunger swings by the drastic reduction of carbohydrate consumption (see blog: How to manage the hormone Insulin) and in recent studies, which have posted data on the major benefits the ketogenic diet has on retarding the effects of dementia and certain types of cancers.
One of the major issues in following these types of eating styles is that with the reduction of carbohydrates comes the loss of water retention in the body, which in turn, causes the loss of electrolytes in the body.
Let's further discuss each of the 3 and then I will go into how it may relate to the previous mentioned eating styles.
Sodium: AKA Salt
You may have heard "salt is bad for you", this phrase was coined due to the link that some studies showed how high amounts of sodium was the cause in high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. In most people, the kidneys have trouble keeping up with excess sodium in the blood. As sodium accumulates, the body holds onto water to dilute the sodium. This increases both the amount of fluid surrounding cells and the volume of blood in the bloodstream. Salt is a natural preservative, as bacteria can't thrive in the presence of a high amounts of salt, and for that, many food companies load up their products with sodium so they can prevent it from rotting during the distribution phase to it's destination, then ultimately to your household. This reason alone is why it is so important to change the way and what you eat. More the reason to eat whole foods that do not need to be preserved. The U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes state that there is not enough evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for sodium. When following the previously mentioned eating style, adding salt may absolutely be a great thing. 
Potassium is an essential mineral that is needed by all tissues in the body. Potassium is found naturally in many foods and as a supplement. Its main role in the body is to help maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and supports normal blood pressure. Potassium and sodium are closely interconnected but have opposite effects in the body. Both are essential nutrients that play key roles in maintaining physiological balance. While high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete sodium while decreasing blood pressure the U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes state that there is not enough evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for potassium. However, the National Academy of Medicine has established an Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium.
For women 14-18 years of age, the AI is 2,300 mg daily; for women 19+, 2,600 mg. For pregnant and lactating women, the AI ranges from 2,500-2,900 depending on age.
For men 14-18 years of age, the AI is 3,000 mg; for men 19+, 3,400 mg.
It is estimated that the average daily intake of potassium in adults is about 2,320 mg for women and 3,016 mg for men.
Foods that contain high amounts of potassium that you should be eating while on a ketogenic diet: Chicken, Salmon, cashews, almonds, low carb yogurt, avocado, spinach, broccoli, butternut squash, almond or soy milk, just to name a few. 
Calcium is a mineral most often associated with healthy bones and teeth, although it also plays an important role in blood clotting, helping muscles to contract, and regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve functions. About 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in bones, and the remaining 1% is found in blood, muscle, and other tissues.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for women 19-50 years of age is 1,000 mg daily; for women 51+, 1,200 mg. For pregnant and lactating women, the RDA is 1,000 mg. For men 19-70 years of age, the RDA is 1,000 mg; for men 71+ years, 1,200 mg. 
Food Sources that contain high amounts of potassium that you should be eating while on the ketogenic diet: Cheese, low carb yogurt, butternut squash, canned sardines, salmon, leafy greens, almonds, just to name a few of the most popular. 
How does this relate to you? And what should you do about it?
There are 3 things you can do to help increase these 3 critical nutrients.
1. Increase your daily water consumption
By doing this you will be ensuring your body is staying properly hydrated. This is especially important if you are a physically active person or involved in extreme sports that require a maximum level of physical fitness such as, mountain biking, weight training, long distance running, football and hockey, etc. With the reduction of carbohydrates comes the reduction of electrolytes. My personal recommendation is to add an electrolytes supplement to your water but only during your meal time as these supplements may contain calories. To assist in gut health and stomach inflammation, I do not recommend the intake of calories between meals.
2. Eat foods that contain higher volumes of these 3 nutrients It may not be good enough to eat the same 2-5 meals per day (depending on your eating pattern) so you may need to diversify your food consumption. Be in the know of what nutrients and how much of it is in the food you are eating. In step 2 of my ketogenic bodybuilding program, I teach you how to use a mobile phone app called my fitness pal. An app that shows you the near exact nutritional value of what you are eating. Combine the benefits of the app with the keto food pyramid to be sure you are eating nutritious whole foods.
I personally like to eat the same meals day after day due to my lack of time. Although I do eat a wide variety of foods throughout the month, but on a weekly basis, and since I cook my foods in bulk, I may have the same lunch and dinner for 4 consecutive days. I always want to be sure I am providing my body with what it needs so I heavily supplement with the recommended products in the program.
As always, consult with your physician before starting any weight loss, weight training and supplement plan.
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Harvard T.H. Chan School Of public Health 1, 2, 3