4 Nutrients to Beat the Summer Heat

July 3, 2018 | Wellness Resources

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 4 Nutrients to Beat the Summer Heat
The "dog days of summer" have arrived, and with the heat comes new nutritional challenges. Weekend warriors, the elderly, children, and those with outdoor jobs need to take extra care to replenish their bodies in the heat. In addition to water intake, proper hydration also depends on electrolyte status and adrenal function. Dehydration, muscle cramps or weakness, and summer heat stress can occur if you are lacking any of these four nutrients:

MagnesiumMagnesium is an essential electrolyte mineral important for muscle health, nerves, and cardiovascular fitness. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include muscle cramps, poor stress tolerance, and trouble sleeping. Other symptoms associated with electrolyte disturbance may include disorientation, dizziness, headache, fainting, irritability, confusion, nausea, fatigue, and increased systolic blood pressure and body temperature. Magnesium is used up by stress and caffeine. Small amounts of magnesium are lost in sweat, so it is important to replenish this mineral if you find yourself outdoors in the heat for a prolonged amount of time, especially if you are exercising in the heat.

PotassiumPotassium is another important electrolyte that can easily be depleted through sweating. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, abdominal pain or cramping, constipation, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, frequent urination, and extreme thirst. It is not a coincidence that the symptoms of potassium deficiency sound like symptoms of dehydration. Researchers have found that potassium loss was substantially higher than sodium and chloride loss in individuals working in severe heat due to potassium being lost in sweat. You can get extra potassium in the diet by eating watermelon, bananas, and avocado. 

B Vitamins – Your adrenal glands play an important role in regulating electrolyte balance. The adrenals become stressed in extreme temperatures, which can result in electrolyte imbalances. B vitamins are crucial for maintaining the health and function of the adrenal glands, plus they are depleted quickly when under stress. This double-whammy means you will want to be sure to replenish your B vitamins with a high quality coenzyme B complex supplement when you are outside in the heat, especially if you are exercising. Make sure your B vitamin doesn’t contain cyanocobalamin, the low quality form of B12 that produces cyanide when metabolized. Instead, look for coenzyme forms of B12 like methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.

Coral Calcium – Calcium is important for bone health, pH balance, muscle contraction, and nerve function. If you lack calcium in the diet, your body may leach calcium from your bones to fill the higher need. High quality coral calcium contains magnesium and 72 other trace minerals naturally found in the ocean, making coral minerals a broad-spectrum electrolyte mineral supplement.

Adequate hydration is an important factor in the heat. Ensure that you drink half of your body weight in ounces of water in extreme heat. For example, a 150 pound person would require 75 ounces of water to stay adequately hydrated. If you are exercising outside, you may need up to two-thirds of your body weight in ounces of water.

Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly avocados, bananas, tomatoes, spinach, and watermelon will also help you increase electrolytes and stay adequately hydrated. These foods are good sources of magnesium and potassium. However, if you are still feeling sluggish in the heat, consider taking high quality magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamin supplements. Don’t let the heat hold you back; just make sure to take care of your body!

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