Micronutrients, Electrolytes, and Hydration

Rootine TeamOct 07, 2021

Micronutrients, Electrolytes, and Hydration

We've collaborated with O2 to talk about the importance of micronutrients in hydration.

Importance of Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to good health and maintaining multiple physiological processes in the body. Dehydration is a cause for many hospitalizations and can lead to mortality and influence many other medical conditions [1]. The human body is made up of approximately 55-75% water and needs water for cells to work properly. Without water, cells lose their structure, proteins and DNA cannot function, and many chemical reactions cannot occur [2].

Many people rely on sports drinks filled with artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors to keep them hydrated. Some of these drinks don’t have any of the micronutrients important for hydration, such as calcium and magnesium. Making smart beverage choices could help to lower the gaps in micronutrient deficiencies, such as low calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D [3]. In fact, drinking water may supply as much as 20% of the daily recommended intake of calcium and magnesium depending on the source [4][5].

We will dive into the science of hydration and explore how certain micronutrients play key roles in maintaining the body’s fluids as electrolytes, as well as smart hydration choices that will give you all the hydrating benefits without any of the drawbacks of artificial drinks.

The Science of Hydration

When we drink water, it is absorbed through our gastrointestinal tract. Osmoreceptors in the hypothalamus help detect changes in osmotic pressure and send signals that help regulate thirst and the release of arginine vasopressin (AVP) from the posterior pituitary. AVP stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb more water and also plays a role in blood pressure and thermoregulation [6].

Dehydration is often accompanied by decreased blood pressure, which triggers the secretion of renin from the kidney. Renin converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II, which then increases the release of aldosterone from the adrenal glands. Aldosterone is a steroid hormone that helps regulate salt and water in the body [7].

Through these complex mechanisms, the body regulates water concentration, hormone secretion, and sets into motion many processes that make you thirsty and ensure you are staying hydrated throughout the day.

When your body loses fluids through urination, perspiration, or excretion, your body’s controls trigger water absorption and help balance water levels in the body. Some substances that may be lost in these processes are electrolytes. Electrolytes are important minerals that help maintain optimal cellular health by regulating and directing water in your body.


Sufficient nutrient intake of vitamins, minerals, and specialty compounds is needed to maintain optimal health and help prevent diet-related diseases such as diabetes and some cancers. Some key micronutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, are electrolytes that have “numerous biological effects in the human body, whereas their imbalances have a strong impact on personal health” [8].

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals important to many processes, including maintaining homeostasis, balancing the acidity of your blood, bone composition, oxygen transport, and nerve and muscle function. During exercise, excessive sweating may lead to loss of water and important electrolytes such as calcium and magnesium. Low levels of electrolytes can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and neurological consequences. In fact, “[h]igh or low levels of electrolytes disrupt normal bodily functions and can lead to even life-threatening complications” [9]. Up to 15% of the population may have some form of an electrolyte imbalance [10].

Electrolytes are also important to the flow of water across membranes and blood pressure changes. Below we explore a few micronutrients that have important electrolyte function in the body and are needed at precise levels to maintain optimal health.

Notable Micronutrient Electrolytes:


Calcium is an electrolyte that is involved in many physiological roles in the body, including muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, blood clotting, hormone secretion, and skeletal mineralization [11]. While 99% of total body calcium is found in teeth and bones, the remainder is present in our extracellular fluids, blood, muscles, and other tissues [12]. Studies suggest that increasing calcium intake to optimal levels can lower the risk for gestational hypertension, particularly in women with low calcium intake [13].

Levels of calcium in the body are controlled by vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin [14]. When these hormones or hormone-like substances are low, calcium levels in the blood may also be low and result in hypocalcemia, a condition in which the plasma has too little calcium. Low magnesium, or hypomagnesemia, may also impact calcium levels by impairing the release of parathyroid hormone.

Hypocalcemia is one of the most common electrolyte abnormalities in critical care, accounting for 55-77% of all electrolyte imbalances [15]. Symptoms may include muscle cramps and weakness, seizures, irritability, and cognitive decline, with the hallmark being numbness and tingling in fingertips and toes [16].

While treatment of hypocalcemia depends on the severity of the condition, calcium supplements are recommended to restore appropriate levels. In more severe cases, calcium infusion is used as treatment [17].


Magnesium is an intracellular cation (a positively charged ion) that plays many molecular, biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological functions in the body [18]. Like calcium, less than 1% of magnesium in the body is found in serum and red blood cells, with over 99% found in bone tissue, bone surface, and skeletal muscles and soft tissues. The kidneys, bones, and intestinal absorption all help to facilitate magnesium homeostasis [19]. Research suggests as much as 75% of the U.S. population does not meet adequate magnesium intake [20].

Pegged by some publications as “the forgotten electrolyte,” magnesium plays many important roles in the body. It is a cofactor for over 350 enzyme reactions and is involved in ATP metabolism, DNA repair, muscle contraction, neurological functioning, and neurotransmitter release. Magnesium is also a key player in calcium reuptake during muscle contraction [21].

Hypomagnesemia, low levels of serum magnesium, may be caused by decreased intake, magnesium redistribution from extracellular to intracellular compartments, or gastrointestinal causes such as diarrhea, vomiting, and malabsorption [22]. Symptoms of hypomagnesemia can include muscle weakness, seizures, cardiovascular abnormalities, and metabolic abnormalities. Treatment, depending on severity and other electrolyte abnormalities, may consist of magnesium, as well as calcium or potassium, supplements.

Studies have found that a significant amount of magnesium is lost in sweat during exercise and should be replenished properly [23].


An important electrolyte that is essential to maintaining the water and electrolyte balance in the body, sodium is also responsible for regulating the membrane potential of cells [24]. A hormone called aldosterone, made by the adrenal glands, plays a key role in controlling sodium levels in the body and helps regulate sodium conservation by the kidney [25].

The body can lose sodium during excessive sweating, and although rare, “extreme conditions of heavy and persistent sweating” may cause sodium depletion and require medical attention [26].

Hyponatremia, a condition where blood sodium levels are low, is the most frequent among electrolyte disorders and can result in headache, confusion, nausea, and other neurological manifestations. Up to 35% of hospitalized patients have hyponatremia and need to have sodium levels closely monitored to ensure proper correction [27]. Hyponatremia may result from excess water intake, and marathon runners especially may experience severe hyponatremia after drinking excessive amounts of water [28].


Potassium is the most abundant intracellular cation and is also present in all tissues in the body. Potassium plays a key role in cellular health and function because it helps maintain intracellular fluid volume and works with sodium to regulate extracellular fluid volume [29]. This sodium-potassium pump transports sodium in exchange for potassium to stabilize membrane potential, regulate cell volume, and help with cell signal transduction [30].

Approximately 90% of potassium ingested is used for maintaining intracellular and extracellular concentrations. Potassium is lost primarily in urine, but also in sweat. While not common, potassium deficiency can result in weakness, nausea, drowsiness, and irrational behavior. Hypokalemia, extremely low potassium levels in the blood, can result in cardiac problems [31].

Replenishing Electrolyte Levels

Given the strong impact electrolytes have on our fluids, cellular functions, and overall health, it is important to maintain adequate levels and replenish these minerals as necessary. Like with everything, your electrolyte intake should be specific to you and your everyday routine, exercise regimen, and unique composition.

Achieve optimal health and peak performance by using your health data to track your nutrient levels and stay hydrated (without any of the artificial sweeteners, colors, and ingredients).

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About Rootine

Rootine unlocks better health and daily performance with precision nutrition. Rootine's first product focuses on optimizing cellular nutrition through a precision-personalized daily micronutrient membership and a unique digital experience where members can track and improve health. Rootine is differentiated in its test-take-track process, unmatched data and insights, and unique delivery in the form of microbeads. Rootine is helping thousands of members improve their health, from professional athletes like Brian Burns to high-growth startup founders, like Josh and Mike at Levels. Join today at https://rootine.co/.

About O2

O2 Pure Hydration™ is a Non-GMO Project Verified sports drink alternative packed with 550mg of potassium and sodium electrolytes for faster recovery via maintaining cellular health during and after extreme activity.

O2 is vegan and keto friendly, and contains only 1g sugar and 15 calories, which means it promotes more cellular maintenance with no fillers or artificial ingredients. It’s also non-carbonated, which eliminates the bloat, burn, and discomfort common to other electrolyte drinks.

Team O2 welcomes you to join tens of thousands of everyday athletes, CrossFit® enthusiasts, and pro competitors who trust America’s #1 non-carbonated recovery drink - just 10 clean ingredients, and in four unbeatable flavors with all-natural caffeine or caffeine free. You can find O2 on Amazon, or visit us at drinko2.com.

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[2] Blog, Special Edition, Water. Biological Roles of Water: Why is water necessary for life? Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Available from: https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/uncategorized/2019/biological-roles-of-water-why-is-water-necessary-for-life/

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[6] Koshy RM, Jamil RT. Physiology, Osmoreceptors. [Updated 2021 May 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557510/

[7] Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. [Updated 2021 Aug 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/

[8]Schiefermeier-Mach N, Egg S, Erler J, Hasenegger V, Rust P, König J, Purtscher AE. Electrolyte Intake and Major Food Sources of Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium among a Population in Western Austria. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 30;12(7):1956. doi: 10.3390/nu12071956. PMID: 32630029; PMCID: PMC7400604.

[9] Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. [Updated 2021 Jul 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/

[10] Liamis G, Rodenburg EM, Hofman A, Zietse R, Stricker BH, Hoorn EJ. Electrolyte disorders in community subjects: prevalence and risk factors. Am J Med. 2013 Mar;126(3):256-63. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.06.037. Epub 2013 Jan 18. PMID: 23332973.

[11]See [9].

[12] Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1997. 4, Calcium. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109827/

[13] Iqbal S, Klammer N, Ekmekcioglu C. The Effect of Electrolytes on Blood Pressure: A Brief Summary of Meta-Analyses. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 17;11(6):1362. doi: 10.3390/nu11061362. PMID: 31212974; PMCID: PMC6627949.

[14] Goyal A, Anastasopoulou C, Ngu M, et al. Hypocalcemia. [Updated 2021 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430912/

[15] Madiraca, Jessica MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN-K; Hoch, Christine MSN, RN, ACNS-BC Electrolyte series, Nursing Critical Care: March 2018 - Volume 13 - Issue 2 - p 24-31 doi: 10.1097/01.CCN.0000529938.18274.f4

[16] Schafer AL, Shoback DM. Hypocalcemia: Diagnosis and Treatment. [Updated 2016 Jan 3]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279022/

[17] Id.

[18] Ahmed F, Mohammed A. Magnesium: The Forgotten Electrolyte-A Review on Hypomagnesemia. Med Sci (Basel). 2019 Apr 4;7(4):56. doi: 10.3390/medsci7040056. PMID: 30987399; PMCID: PMC6524065.

[19] Id.

[20] See [5].

[21] See [9].

[22] See [18].

[23] C. Frank Consolazio, LeRoy O. Matoush, Richard A. Nelson, Richard S. Harding, John E. Canham, Excretion of Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron in Human Sweat and the Relation of Each to Balance and Requirements, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 79, Issue 4, April 1963, Pages 407–415, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/79.4.407

[24] See [9].

[25] Health Library. Sodium (Na) in Blood Test. University of Michigan Health, Michigan Medicine. Available at: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw203476

[26] National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 11, Water and Electrolytes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234935/

[27] Rondon H, Badireddy M. Hyponatremia. [Updated 2021 Jan 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470386/

[28] Sahay M, Sahay R. Hyponatremia: A practical approach. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Nov;18(6):760-71. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.141320. PMID: 25364669; PMCID: PMC4192979.

[29] Office of Dietary Supplements. Potassium. National Institutes of Health. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/

[30] Pirahanchi Y, Jessu R, Aeddula NR. Physiology, Sodium Potassium Pump. [Updated 2021 Mar 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537088/

[31] National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 11, Water and Electrolytes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234935/

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