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Electrolytes in sports: Little helpers for your sweaty summer units

How to get electrolytes for your best performances

What are electrolytes?

As athletes, we are especially concerned about the so-called macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats). After all, they provide us with the necessary energy for athletic performance. But we must not forget the Micronutrients not disregard. Because these are small but mighty!

Micronutrients are not the gasoline for our engine, but – to stay with the car – the piston or even the crankshaft. They do not provide us with energy, but are involved in metabolic processes, play a role in blood clotting, participate in fluid balance and perform other important tasks and functions in our bodies.

Micronutrients can be divided into Vitamins, Minerals and water.

Minerals are divided once again into the bulk elements (= electrolytes)trace elements, ultratrace elements and secondary plant compounds. The name gives away approximately what large or small quantities (“traces”) we need of the respective substance.

Today, we will talk about bulk elements – also called electrolytes, because they carry an electric charge in aqueous solution.

Bulk elements are essential inorganic food components for humans. This means they are neither produced nor consumed by our body itself. The question quickly arises: If I don’t consume it, why do I have to take it in?

The answer: Since we lose these substances through sweat and urine, we have to take in minerals again and again – primarily through our diet. After all, they are indispensable for maintaining physical functions.

What electrolytes are there and how can I take them?

The metals sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) and the nonmetals sulfate (SO42-), phosphate (HPO42-) and chloride (Cl) are among the electrolytes.

Table salt (NaCl)

Sodium and chlorine play an important role in the acid-base balance of the body. Sodium is responsible for the water balance here, because without salt the body cannot absorb water.

You can see that sodium is a particularly important electrolyte for athletes, but it is also sweated out.

A significantly too low sodium level in the blood leads to muscle cramps, weakness and disturbed water balance. For non-athletes, 6g of table salt (NaCl) per day is recommended. However, an athlete loses an additional 2 – 3g of common salt per liter of sweat.

An example of calculation: For athletes who exercise intensively and sweat 3 liters, a daily salt intake of about 12g is to be aimed for.

Sodium and chlorine can be found in table salt (iodized salt is recommended), salted (smoked) products and mineral water. A mineral water is high in sodium if it has >400mg per liter, look at the label when buying.


Muscle and nerve excitability is controlled by magnesium. That’s why a balanced magnesium store lowers the risk of muscle cramps, but be careful: magnesium does not protect against muscle soreness. In addition, magnesium is involved in energy metabolism.

To ensure an adequate magnesium supply through the diet, the following magnesium-rich foods are preferable: nuts, oatmeal, wheat germ, millet, banana, dark chocolate, peas, beans, fennel, tomatoes and fish.

Women are recommended to take 300mg of magnesium daily. For men it is 350mg. For every liter of sweat lost, one should consume 2 – 10mg more magnesium daily.

If you are supplementing magnesium, it is helpful to spread this out over two servings a day to ensure improved tolerance.


The electrolyte calcium is important for bone stability, here we should mention the skeleton and teeth formation. Find out why it is also good for your dental health to pay attention to sufficient calcium

Further, calcium plays a role in muscle contraction and helps provide energy. In addition, calcium is responsible for the transmission of stimuli in the nervous and muscular system, heart function and blood clotting.

In the event of a long-term calcium deficiency, the body draws on the reserves contained in the bone substance. Osteoporosis, for example, is basically a calcium and bone metabolism disorder. To prevent this, you can eat the following calcium-rich foods:

Sunlight and a balanced acid-base balance are important for calcium balance and bone stability.

Ideally, you achieve this with a healthy balance of vegetables, potatoes, fruits and herbs, as well as animal products (dairy, fish, meat, egg).

On a day without exercise you should consume at least 1000mg of calcium and 20-40mg more per 1 liter of sweat loss.

When you take vitamin D and lactose at the same time, they help your body absorb the calcium better.


Phosphorus is a component of energy-rich phosphates (ATP, ADP), helps in membrane transport and skeleton construction.

It is present mainly in meat, fish and dairy products, as well as eggs and cereals.

Electrolyte deficiency and the symptoms

We know that we lose minerals through sweat. As athletes, we naturally sweat more often. In addition, we lose a lot of sweat and thus minerals, especially on hot days. This makes it all the more important to make sure you take in enough electrolytes.

Electrolyte deficiency is often accompanied by fluid loss – this can affect your performance. Because, as described above, these small substances take some important functions in the body.

Symptoms of electrolyte or fluid deficiency or include:

  • Overheating
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps and/or weakness
  • Abnormal or fast heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy

Practical way: absorb electrolytes via sports nutrition

To prevent electrolyte and fluid deficiencies, be sure to eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and ideally incorporate the above foods into your daily routine.

As an athlete, it is also important, especially during prolonged exercise, to take electrolytes on the go. in order not to suffer from the mentioned consequences during training/competition. This can be done conveniently via special sports nutrition products that give you energy and also contain electrolytes.

As mentioned, all our food products from MoN Sports for on the way Electrolytes in quantities appropriate to your needs.

In addition, we have with SLOW CARB HEAT and POWER CARB HEAT developed special products with more sweat loss. They contain a larger amount of sodium and are therefore perfect for hot days, among other things (or also for roller training, for example).

In POWER CARB HEAT also contains real Coconut water powder, which scores naturally with minerals and vitamins. Apart from that, it does not taste too sweet, but rather naturally refreshing – which is especially appreciated in summer by our MoN athletes is found to be extremely pleasant.

Burke, L., Deakin, V. & Minehan, M. (2021). Clinical Sports Nutrition.
Raschka, C. & Ruf, S. (2022). Sport und Ernährung. Wissenschaftlich, basierte Empfehlungen, Tipps und Ernährungspläne für die Praxis.

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Robert Gorgos

Robert Gorgos

Robert is a authority when it comes to sports nutrition science. As a nutritionist, he coaches many well-known top athletes, including the professional cyclists from BORA – hansgrohe. At the same time, he is a competitive athlete himself. And: Robert has developed the sports nutrition of MoN Sports.

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