An electrolyte imbalance can lead to an imbalance in your body’s acid-base status, hydration, or conduction of charges across cells, all of which are essential, especially with increased activity.
Optimal range: 3 - 11 mEq/L
An anion gap refers to the difference of positively and negatively charged molecules in the body. A gap that is unusually high or low frequently indicates a problem with the respiratory system, kidneys, or bones. Anion gap blood tests cover a large range of molecules and are more efficacious when narrowed to a few possibilities.
Optimal range: 9.3 - 9.9 mg/dL
Calcium is a mineral used by our bodies in a variety of physiological functions including the construction and maintenance of bones, which is where most of our calcium is stored. It is necessary to continually ingest calcium throughout a lifetime, because our bodies perpetually lose it. Typically, calcium levels in the body need to be extremely low or extremely high before problems start occurring.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Optimal range: 23 - 29 mEq/L
Carbon dioxide exists most plentifully in the body in the form of bicarbonate. An essential electrolyte, carbon dioxide is filtered out of the body through the kidneys and the lungs. An unusual bicarbonate level in the blood typically points to either a problem with the kidneys, a problem with the lungs, or a metabolic problem. Carbon dioxide tests are often ordered along with several other tests to determine the cause of many simultaneous symptoms.
Optimal range: 98 - 107 mEq/L
Chloride is an electrolyte used by our bodies to maintain blood pH balance, fluid balance, and blood pressure. The kidneys filter chloride out of the blood and into urine. Chloride tests are almost always ordered as a part of a larger panel. Typically, these panels are used to determine the cause of kidney problems or a pH level that is too acidic or too basic.
Optimal range: 3.6 - 5 mmol/L
Potassium is both a positively charged electrolyte and a mineral. It helps keep the water balance inside and outside our body’s cells equal. Potassium is also important in how nerves work. Potassium tests can be used to diagnose cardiovascular problems, but the most common cause of significantly elevated potassium in the blood is kidney disease.
Optimal range: 137 - 144 mmol/L
Sodium is a vital electrolyte found in our bodies. It helps our cells to maintain fluid balance and aids in nerve and muscle function. An abnormal level of sodium in the blood is typically caused by extreme excess or extreme deficiency of water. This can be due to common things like vomiting/diarrhea or more a serious condition like kidney disease. A healthcare professional will likely need to compare an unusual blood sodium level to other biomarkers in order to determine the cause, if it is not readily apparent.
Optimal range: 60 - 130 µg/dL
Zinc is a primary nutrient that we need to thrive. It’s used in a variety of functions through the body including wound healing and creation of DNA. In North America, zinc deficiencies are rare and an unusually high level of zinc in the blood usually indicates iron deficiency or lead poisoning.