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Strengthening your immune system requires proper hydration, among other things, and electrolytes are an important part of that process. Electrolytes allow for the transfer of messages throughout the networks of your body and support countless processes, including things like maintaining fluid balance and blood sugar levels, energy (ATP) production, DNA synthesis, muscle contraction, as well as hormonal and immune health.
Electrolytes have been shown to impact the immune response in a number of different ways. For example, sodium is pro-inflammatory and promotes the release of cytokines, chemokines, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), all elements of the immune system that help fight infection. In comparison, potassium helps to regulate the immune response, in part by inhibiting inflammatory reactions and may even provide a protective effect in more chronic conditions like heart disease. Another example of how electrolytes affect immune health is magnesium. The second-most abundant cation (positively charged ion) in cellular systems, magnesium is a critical component of over 300 cellular processes in the body. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased levels of inflammation, impairments in apoptosis (programmed cell death) and immune system-related organs like the thymus, as well as disease susceptibility that increases with age.
Here’s another issue - infections impair your ability to regulate electrolyte levels like sodium and potassium. Potassium deficiency is most commonly seen in gastrointestinal illness but has even been shown to be prevalent in COVID patients.
In any type of illness, the strength of the immune response is critical but you don’t want to wait until you’re sick to boost your immune system. The key is building it up before infection is an issue so that it’s prepared to work for you and prevent serious issues. We’ve all heard about getting enough vitamin C and staying hydrated during flu season. I would argue those are things to focus on year round. Given the evidence around electrolytes and immune strength, I would also recommend including appropriate amounts of electrolytes to your routine as an additional way to support your immune system.
Getting nutrients including electrolytes from food is an excellent way to support your immune system. Evidence suggests 5000 mg sodium, 4700 mg potassium, and 600 mg magnesium per day is adequate to meet needs, but most people aren’t getting that. That’s why I recommend including foods rich in these nutrients in your diet each day, as well as supplementing with LMNT.
LMNT* is a simple electrolyte replacement drink and contains just sodium, potassium, and magnesium - 3 electrolytes shown to impact so many elements of health, including immune health. It’s also free of any sketchy ingredients, and won’t put you on the blood sugar rollercoaster like other electrolyte or sports drinks.
LMNT is an easy way to support your health and immune system every day and right now, you can try it for FREE - you just pay for shipping! Click here* to get your hands on a sample pack and find your favorite flavor.