We have been through a lot when it comes to fluids and lack thereof. Not only have we been dealing with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia) for many years now and are always trying to keep extra fluid in our body, but we have often been nauseous for long periods of time, having a hard time drinking any fluids at all.
Kate: I’ve even had to get IV’s on a weekly basis for months at a time when I have bad episodes. So we understand what dehydration can do, because we have spent lots of time battling against it!
Dehydration does not only mean low liquid but also, frequently, an imbalance of sodium, potassium, chloride etc. or in other words – electrolytes. Although electrolytes are minerals, they also carry an electric charge (hence ELECTROLYTES). They can give our liquid something to hold on to, so it stays with us rather than flushing out of our bodies. Not only do they have this lovely advantage, but they also work in tandem with various other minerals and vitamins that are in your body already, and this helps to keep us feeling our best. To avoid getting into the dehydration predicament we both take an electrolyte powder daily and we know that this does make a difference to how we feel.
On further research, we have found that many symptoms of various chronic illness can be helped by keeping this balance. Retaining a constant fluid level can help regulate blood pressure, alleviate nausea, and calm an irregular heart rate to name just a few. Often those with chronic illness can become nauseas very quickly and then the vicious circle begins – having a hard time drinking anything and then, in turn, the dehydration makes the nausea worse. Same goes for headaches.
Kate: When I get a migraine or even a plain old headache, the last thing I want to do is to eat or drink and then I quickly get on the slippery slope to dehydration.
When you can’t eat or drink, your electrolytes plummet. Foods high in electrolytes are – strawberries, turkey, avocados, soybeans, potatoes and of course spinach and bananas – often not anything you will grab if feeing unwell. It goes without saying that diarrhea and vomiting wipe out your fluids and electrolytes also.
Em: I have IBS which flares from time to time. This is difficult for a ton of reasons but at least I can have power over not becoming dehydrated or deficient in sodium or potassium.
If you have been following us, you know that we are all about finding ways to live “normal” lives with chronic illness and we try many, many compelling remedies from simple probiotics to more obscure sauna blankets. Electrolytes are a no-brainer. We are big believers in doing as much as we can to make ourselves feel better – no martyrs here – and a simple thing is to make sure we supplement when needed and, also, take as a safety net too. We are not doctors, but after many, many years in the trenches (10+) we know what works for us and staying properly hydrated with a balance of electrolytes is a big part of our lives. If you want to try this, but are unsure of whether you should, ask your own doctor. Of course, don’t ever start pounding the sports drinks as most contain lots of sugar and/or nasty chemicals. Look for the more clean, natural powders to add to your water bottles.
Which electrolytes do we drink?
Ultima is our all-time favorite electrolyte company and it’s what we’ve been drinking for years now. They offer great flavors and we know it’s not filled with artificial stuff and sugar. They’re: vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, caffeine-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, sweetened with organic stevia leaf, plant-based extract colors, real fruit extract flavors, peanut-free and soy-free. Since we drink Ultima every day we love knowing what’s in our electrolyte drink and feel comfortable putting it in our bodies. We both also have MCAD (Mast Cell Activation Disorder) and because of this, we can be very sensitive to preservatives and dyes – which is another thing we love that Ultima doesn’t have!
If you start to incorporate electrolytes into your daily routine, it’s a good idea to keep some of the individual serving packages in your purse so you can always add to your water on the go – assuming that we will all be going out again at some point!