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Electrolyte Definition
What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are molecules that, in solution, dissociate into positively charged ions (cations) and negatively charged ions (anions) and thus becomes capable of conducting electricity, an ionic solute. Principal ions in body fluids are sodium, potassium, and chloride. The balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs. To maintain a stable body content, the amount of principal ions lost must equal the amount consumed. Sodium is the predominant cation in fluids outside the cells (extracellular fluid), whereas potassium is the predominant cation in the intracellular fluid. Chloride is the major anion of the extracellular fluid. Sodium plays a central role in regulating body fluid balance and distribution of fluid between the extracellular and intracellular compartments. Potassium is necessary for normal growth and plays an important function in cell metabolism, enzyme reactions, and synthesis of muscle protein.

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