Our final supplement -- the most important thing a human body needs next to water when facing heat exhaustion -- is sodium.
Depending on what you've heard, sodium gets a pretty bad wrap. And it's true that doctors suggest many Americans already consume an excess of sodium, much of which comes from processed foods. But sodium, specifically sodium chloride (table salt), is the No. 1 electrolyte that needs replacing when we sweat.
For someone experiencing heat exhaustion, excessive sweating is a common symptom. The body is trying to rapidly cool itself and will shed salt and water to do so. But even if you're drinking fluids, you can still succumb to heat exhaustion if they don't have enough salt in them [source: UMMC].
And as you may have guessed, sodium is the other important part of the equation in the sodium-potassium pump. See, molecular biology isn't that hard.
Like potassium, sodium is a soluble electrolyte added to sports drinks for rehydration [source: CDC]. These kinds of drinks are the quickest way to get both water and the aforementioned electrolytes back into your body.
Remember that a healthy diet including the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium is the best way to stay fit when facing hot and humid weather.
And if you even think you're going to run into friends asking you to play a little roundball, make sure to grab your water bottle next time.
- Centers for Disease Control. "Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety." July 31, 2009. (May 9, 2012) http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp
- Goodsell, David. "Sodium-Potassium Pump." RCSB Protein Data Bank. October 2009. (May 12, 2012) http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/101/motm.do?momID=118
- MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. "Electrolytes." Sept. 20, 2011. (May 12, 2012) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002350.htm
- MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. "Potassium in diet." May 25, 2010. (May 12, 2012) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002413.htm
- MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. "Vitamin C." March 14, 2012. (May 10, 2012) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1001.html
- Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Magnesium." July 13, 2009. (May 12, 2012) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- Ringsdorff, W.R. and E. Cheraskin. "Vitamin C and tolerance of heat and cold: human evidence." Orthomolecular Psychiatry. Vol. 11, no. 2. Pages 128-131. 1982. (May 10, 2012) http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1982/pdf/1982-v11n02-p128.pdf
- Sawka, Michael N. and Scott J. Montain. "Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 72, no. 2. Pages 564-572. August 2000. (May 9, 2012) http://www.ajcn.org/content/72/2/564S.full
- Sprung, Charles L., Carlos J. Portocarrero, Antoine V. Fernaine, and Peter F. Weinberg. "The metabolic and respiratory alterations of heat stroke." Archives of Internal Medicine. Vol. 140, no. 5. Pages 665-669. 1980. (May 10, 2012) http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=140&issue=5&page=665
- University of Maryland Medical Center. "Calcium." 2011. (May 12, 2012) http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/calcium-000290.htm
- University of Maryland Medical Center. "Heat Exhaustion." 2011. (May 9, 2012) http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/heat-exhaustion-000075.htm
- University of Rochester Medical Center. "Rare genetic syndrome may hold key to cure for heat stroke." April 8, 2008. (May 12, 2012) http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=1949
- University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Ions in solutions (electrolytes)." 2010. (May 15, 2012) http://chemed.chem.wisc.edu/chempaths/GenChem-Textbook/Ions-in-Solution-Electrolytes-598.html
- Weaver, W.L. "The prevention of heat prostration by use of vitamin C." Southern Medical Journal. Vol. 51, No. 5, Pages 479-481. May 1948. (May 10, 2012). www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/194x/weaver-wl_southern_med_j-1948-v41-n5-p479.htm
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