Electrolytes: Magnesium

Topics: Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium Pages: 11 (4128 words) Published: September 30, 2012
Electrolyte is a scientific term for salts, specifically ions. The term electrolyte means that this ion is electrically-charged and moves to either a negative or positive electrode. Ions that move to the negative which are called cations are positively charged and Ions that move to the positive which are called anions are negatively charged. They can be divided into acids, bases, and salts, because they all give ions when dissolved in water. Electrolytes are present in the human body, and the balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs. Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells, especially nerve, heart and muscle use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses such as nerve impulses and muscle contractions across themselves and to other cells. The major electrolytes that are in our body are as follows: sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), bicarbonate (HCO3-), phosphate (PO42-), sulfate (SO42-). Sodium is an abundant metallic element which is an important mineral for all living organisms. It is also widely used industrially to make an assortment of consumer goods. In a pure form, sodium is a soft, silvery gray, highly reactive metal. Pure sodium is usually stored in a nonreactive substance, as it oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air, quickly forming a thick coating. The soft metal appears in an abundance of compounds, such as sodium chloride, better known as salt. It also exists in high concentrations in seawater, and it is among the 10 most abundant minerals in the Earth's crust. The chemical element of sodium is also highly explosive when exposed to moisture and water. It is the major positive ion in fluid outside of cells. Na+, the chemical notation for sodium is a reference to a Latin word natrium, used to refer to a specific type of salt. Sodium's atomic number is 11, placing it among other lightweight chemical elements.It was first isolated in 1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy, an extremely active chemist who managed to identify and isolate a wide range of chemical elements. Davy achieved this isolation by passing an electric current through a compound of sodium to separate the elements. Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells that also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals. Too much or too little sodium therefore can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels can be fatal. Hypernatremia in the blood occurs whenever there is excess sodium in relation to water. There are numerous causes of hypernatremia which may include kidney disease, too little water intake, and loss of water due to diarrhea or vomiting. Hyponatremia occurs whenever there is a relative increase in the amount of body water relative to sodium. This happens in relations to some diseases of the liver and kidney, in patients with congestive heart failure, in burn victims, and in numerous other conditions. "American dietary practices cause the average person to carry 8000 mg. excess sodium in the extra-cellular tissues. "http://www.causeof.org/electrolytes.htm#WhatAreDesc. "Sodium can come from natural sources or be added to foods. Most foods in their natural state contain some sodium. However, the majority of sodium that Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers. While some of this sodium is added to foods for safety reasons – the amount of salt added to processed foods is clearly above and beyond what is required for safety and function of the food" supply." http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4708 Major food sources of sodium include:...
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