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Understanding Hydration and how Electrolytes support Optimal Performance

If you’re reading this you’re probably seeking to optimise your sports performance or training, right? You might be an athlete, marathon runner or even someone who works in hot conditions who needs that extra helping hand.

Optimal performance in any physical activity hinges on several factors, with hydration standing as one of the most crucial. Understanding the vital role hydration plays is imperative, especially when it comes to electrolyte balance. But what are they? Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are essential minerals that help regulate nerve function, muscle contraction, and fluid balance within the body (to name a few). In this article, we'll explore how maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte levels can enhance physical performance, prevent dehydration, and support overall well-being. Whether you're an athlete looking to maximise your performance or someone seeking to improve daily energy levels, take this as your go-to guide for all things hydration and optimising your body’s functionality. 

Maximising Cellular Function for Performance & Recovery

To achieve peak physical performance and ensure effective recovery, it's essential to focus on maximising cellular function. Our cells play a crucial role in overall health, energy production, and recovery processes. But, if this is sounding all a bit too sciency, don’t worry we’re going to break this down. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding Cellular Energy

Our cells generate energy through mitochondria, often referred to as the powerhouses of the cell. Mitochondria convert nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the cell. In short, ensuring optimal mitochondrial function is key to maintaining high energy levels, especially for athletes and active individuals.

Supporting Mitochondrial Health

Mitochondrial efficiency is essential for sustaining prolonged physical activity and enhancing overall performance. And it’s more than popping a pill, so, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.

Nutritional Strategies for Cellular Function

To support this, a diet rich in essential nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and B vitamins is crucial, as these compounds play vital roles in the electron transport chain and ATP synthesis. Furthermore, protecting mitochondria from oxidative stress is crucial for their longevity and function. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, as well as polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, help neutralise free radicals that can damage mitochondrial membranes and impair energy production (Lobo, V et al. 2010). By incorporating these antioxidants into your diet, you can safeguard your mitochondria and sustain high energy levels. 

Creatine and Cellular Function

Creatine - it’s one of the world’s most researched supplements. Creatine supplementation further supports mitochondrial function by ensuring a rapid supply of phosphocreatine, which helps regenerate ATP during intense activities. By maintaining higher levels of ATP, muscles can perform more work before fatigue sets in, making creatine an invaluable supplement for those seeking to maximise their cellular energy production (Wax, B et al. 2021).

The Role of Hydration with Cellular Function

Hydration is a critical factor in cellular function. Water facilitates nutrient transport and waste removal within cells, ensuring that metabolic processes operate smoothly.
Starting your day with a focus on hydration and electrolyte balance is crucial for optimal health and performance. Upon waking, your body has gone several hours without water, leading to a natural state of dehydration. And it goes without saying, but dehydration can impair these cellular processes, leading to reduced physical and cognitive performance (Popkin, B et al. 2010).

Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, play vital roles in maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contraction. Simply drinking water may not be sufficient to address the body's needs after a night's sleep. An electrolyte supplement can help restore this balance more effectively. Research shows that athletes who are dehydrated by 2-7% of their body mass negatively impact their endurance and performance (Orru, S et al. 2018). By incorporating electrolytes into your morning routine, you can ensure that your cells are adequately hydrated and primed for optimal function, enhancing mental clarity, energy levels, and physical performance throughout the day. Essentially, electrolytes and performance go hand-in-hand.

Exercise and Cellular Function

It might be a no-brainer but regular physical exercise has been shown to promote mitochondrial biogenesis, increasing both the number and efficiency of mitochondria in muscle cells (Sorriento, D et al. 2021). This adaptation not only improves endurance but also significantly boosts muscle strength and recovery. For runners and other athletes reading, this means better performance and faster recovery times.

However, during exercise, significant amounts of electrolytes are lost through sweat, leading to an imbalance that can negatively impact performance. This loss increases the risk of muscle cramps, fatigue, and dehydration (Shrimanker, I et al. 2023). To sustain endurance, strength, and overall physical capacity, maintaining proper electrolyte levels during exercise remains fundamental to ensure the positive effects on cellular function.

Sleep and Recovery for Cellular Function

Quality sleep is indispensable for cellular repair and recovery. During deep sleep, the body undergoes numerous restorative processes that are essential for maintaining optimal cellular function (Brinkman, J et al. 2023). These processes include protein synthesis, tissue growth, and the release of growth hormone, all of which contribute to muscle repair and regeneration. Scientific research has demonstrated that sleep is a critical component in the recovery process for athletes and active individuals, significantly enhancing physical performance and reducing the risk of injury.

To maximise the benefits of sleep for cellular function and recovery, it is essential to establish healthy sleep habits. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night, maintain a consistent sleep schedule, and create a restful sleeping environment by minimising light and noise. Additionally, consider incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises to improve sleep quality.

Supplementation for Enhanced Performance

Evolve Damage Control + Electrolytes

Together electrolytes and essential amino acids (EAAs) play a crucial role in optimising physical performance, recovery, and overall health. While electrolytes are vital for hydration and cellular function, essential amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, necessary for muscle repair, growth, and various metabolic processes.

Combining electrolytes with essential amino acids can provide comprehensive support for athletes and active individuals. During exercise, the body not only loses electrolytes but also undergoes muscle breakdown. Supplementing with EAAs during or after workouts can enhance muscle protein synthesis, reduce muscle soreness, and expedite recovery (Ferrando, A et al. 2023). Additionally, EAAs support immune function and energy production, further contributing to improved performance and resilience.

Electrolytes and performance are more connected than you might’ve previously thought. Electrolytes ensure that cells remain hydrated and function optimally, while EAAs provide the necessary components for muscle repair and growth. Together, they create a synergistic effect, promoting better hydration, faster recovery, and increased muscle mass and strength. This combination can be particularly beneficial for those engaged in intense training or endurance sports, where the demands on the body are high, and the need for efficient recovery is paramount.

Incorporating electrolyte and EAA supplementation into your routine can help you achieve your fitness goals more effectively, ensuring that your body has the necessary tools to perform at its best and recover swiftly from physical exertion.

Final Notes

So by now, you probably know that maximising cellular function is fundamental for achieving peak performance and efficient recovery. By focusing on proper nutrition, hydration, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, you can enhance your cellular health. But if you want more, incorporating targeted supplements can provide an additional boost, helping athletes and active individuals reach their full potential.

If you want more on electrolytes and hydration, check out our range of electrolytes or check out The Best Electrolyte Powders in 2024.


Sorriento, D et al. (2021, Apr 21). Physical Exercise: A Novel Tool to Protect Mitochondrial Health. Frontiers in Physiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110831/

Wax, B et al. (2021, Jun 2). Creatine for Exercise and Sports Performance, with Recovery Considerations for Healthy Populations. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228369/

Lobo, V et al. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharamcognosy Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/

Orru, S et al. (2018, Oct 10). Role of Functional Beverages on Sport Performance and Recovery. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213308/

Shrimanker, I et al. (2023). Electrolytes. In: StatPearls.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/

Brinkman, J et al. (2023). Physiology of Sleep. StatPearls.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482512/