How Electrolytes work in the body

In general human body is rich of fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes are carrying a positive or a negative charge, These are inorganic ions. All the living cells are bathed in an electrolyte medium. electrolytes are present in both Intracellular  ( Inside the cell) and Extracellular (Outside the cell) fluid medium. The Intracellular fluid is much higher than Extracellular fluid. The body systems functions very much dependent on body fluids and concentration of different electrolytes in extracellular and intracellular fluids. This phenomenon is knows as Homeostasis.

Extarcellular Fluids

This fluid includes interstitial and plasma fluids. Extracellular fluid constitutes 16 to 20% of the total body weight. Generally sodium, chloride, calcium and bicarbonates are considered as major extracellular ions.

Intracellular Fluid

    It is the fluid formed inside the plasma membrane. Intracellular fluid constitutes 45 to 50% of total body weight. Generally potassium, magnesium and phosphates are considered as major intracellular ions. 


    Electrolytes are physiological and inorganic ions responsible for regulation of electrical charge across the cell membrane due to positive or negative charge of electrolytes. electrolytes play a important role in controlling the fluid balance of the body.

Functions of electrolytes  

  • Electrolytes responsible for maintaining of blood volume and osmotic pressure in body.
  • Acid – base balance is regulated by electrolytes.
  • specific ions supply to body cell or tissues or organs for specific activity is maintained by electrolytes.
  • Electrolytes are responsible for energy production in body.
  • Electroneutrality of body fluids regulated by electrolytes.
  • Production of action potential in the neuronal membranes.
  • calcium ions required for blood clotting and in bone formation.

Conditions leads to loss of electrolytes

  • In severe diarrhoea and vomiting conditions caused by ingestion foreign substances or due infection and allergy of GIT (Gastro intestinal tract).
  • Loss of blood in accidents, haemorrhage and surgery conditions.
  • Metabolic acidosis or alkalosis conditions due to metabolic disturbances in body.
  • Over consumption of electrolytes can lead to Retention of electrolytes.
  • Hypocalcaemia and hypokalaemia due to deficiency of clacium and  potassium.
  • Excessive usage of natriuretics leads to promote excretion of sodium ions.

Generally electrolytes are administered by two different routes 1) Oral route
                                                                                                     2) Intravenous route
       Oral route dosage forms are powder, granules, tablets, capsules, liquid mixtures and solutions
Intravenous route dosage forms like Parenteral injections

Sodium ions

     Most of the sodium ions distributed in extracellular body fluids and accounts for about 90% of extra cellular fluids. Excess loss of sodium ions due to inadequate secretion of aldosterone  leads to hypovolaemia (decreased blood volume).
Example: Sodium chloride

Sodium chloride

Molecular formula: Nacl (common salt)
Molecular weight: 58.44

    Sodium chloride occurs as colourless or white crystals type or crystalline powder, It is freely soluble in water, very slightly soluble in ethanol and practically insoluble in diethyl ether. it is odorless compound and it has a saline taste. PH of sodium chloride solution is between 4.5 to 7.
    It is widely distributed in nature, sea water contain 3 to 3.8% of salt content. In some parts of world it deposits are found, these are mined to obtain rock salt. Solution of Nacl (10% sodium chloride injection) prepared by dissolving of 100gm of Nacl in 1000ml of distilled water.
   Common salt is used in domestic purpose and in food industry as flavoring and preservative agent. It is also used in preparation of various chemicals like sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate and bicarbonate (baking soda) etc..
     sodium chloride is used in de-icing of roads and sidewalk curbs in cold and snow regions. sodium chloride injections (saline solutions) are used for medical purpose but common salt and rock salt are not used.   
    Sodium chloride stored in well closed container because to prevent absorption of moisture
        Finally, these electrolytes, the most important constituents of our body fluids including blood are the most useful components which helps in maintaining osmotic balance of ions and electrolytes, thereby maintaining Homeostasis of the body at balanced levels.Stay healthy and be happy.        

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