Cancer and Electrolyte Balance
Cancer and Electrolytes Balance
We hear a lot about the importance of replacing electrolytes from every corner. Sports drink commercials, with their brightly colored drinks, tell us we need to replenish the important minerals we lose through exercise. Sadly, their sugars and artificial colors and flavors counter any health value. Still, it’s important to keep up these vital electrolytes.
What are electrolytes anyway?
We have minerals in our bodies that turn into positively or negatively charged ions when dissolved in water. These are electrolytes. They travel through our blood and wind up in our urine to be eliminated.
Some common electrolytes found in human bodies are:
As always, bodies need a proper balance in order to work properly. Different minerals are needed for different system functions. For instance, in order for a brain to send electrical signals through a body, it needs sodium to move through nerve cell membranes. And calcium and magnesium are important for muscle movement. Other electrolytes maintain an appropriate pH level, while still others move nutrients into cells and waste out through the process of osmosis. Needless to say, one would be in trouble without these vital minerals.
Imbalance of Electrolytes
Throughout our day we do a host of things that can throw this delicate balance out of whack. Drinking too much water, drinking too little water (a common issue amongst Americans), intense exercise, poor diet, illness, etc. can cause the concentration of certain minerals to become too high or too low in your blood. If this goes unchecked, our bodies can develop a myriad of problems. Some common symptoms of a severe electrolyte imbalance are:
- Intense fatigue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle spasms, cramps or pain
- Mental confusion, difficulty thinking, and dizziness
In a healthy body, the bones are in a constant state of flux. They are continually breaking down and rebuilding. That’s why when we break a bone, it heals itself. The fact is, we recycle five to seven percent of our bone mass each week!
If cancer hits a person’s bones, those bones break down faster than a body can rebuild them. When this happens too much calcium is released into the blood. This condition is called hypercalcemia and can be very serious, requiring emergency medical attention.
If you suspect you might have hypercalcemia, your doctor can simply test your blood and prescribe the appropriate treatment to control the calcium levels. The correct concentration will vary depending upon your age but should probably be in the 9’s or 10’s (milligrams per deciliter).
Tumour Lysis Syndrome (TLS)
As cancer cells die, especially through chemotherapy, they release chemicals into the blood stream. When this occurs, people wind up with too much potassium and phosphate, which leads to a decrease in calcium. Also, the amount of uric acid can soar. When this condition occurs so quickly that the kidneys can’t keep up, patients wind up with TLS. Untreated, the kidneys can shut down.
Patients report their symptoms are usually mild at the beginning, but as TLS progresses people experience many of the classic issues listed above. They can also have cloudy urine, with decreased output. If severe, TLS has been known to cause hallucinations and seizures.
Bottom line, whether you have cancer or not, it’s vital that you maintain a healthy electrolyte balance. Keep hydrated and replenish the minerals your body requires with food and natural supplements, so it can perform all its vital functions.
Serious emergencies from electrolyte imbalances are rare, but it’s important to your health to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance. If you’re using a near infrared sauna or coffee enemas as part of your attacking cancer program, be sure to drink plenty of water with added selectrolytes, or other drinks that will replenish your electrolytes.