Dear Pharmacist,

My son is a lineman who climbs a lot in heat of the desert here in California. He sweats so much with all the equipment he wears that it makes him cramp. He drinks plenty of water and Gatorade. Besides foods high in potassium, can he take a supplement?

--L.S. Palm Desert, California

Answer: Cramping happens down the road after other symptoms of dehydration occur. We should all be mindful of our electrolyte status, rather than wait for our body to yell at us with a nasty cramp.

Gatorade (and similar beverages) are popular because they quickly help to replenish electrolytes. Another one is Pedialyte, the option recommended by pharmacists for youngsters who get sick, although adults can use it too. These are extremely popular, and in a moment, I’ll tell you a secret about another option to restore electrolyte balance, and it grows on trees!

I bet many of you reading this are short on electrolytes and don’t even realize. You may be wondering what exactly is an electrolyte? It’s just a charged particle called an “ion” which generates electricity in your body. You didn’t realize you were an electric being did you? Well, you are, and all healing takes place on the energetic level. Ions are the spark to keep your electrical circuit running. Electrolytes make your heart beat in rhythm, your hands move, your muscles work (without cramping) and in fact, all of your nerve impulses flow smoothly!

Dehydration is dangerous. It can happen to athletes, those with the stomach flu or people with malabsorption issues (think Celiac, Candida, IBS, colitis). It can happen to people like your son who sweats from the heat. Having lived in Florida 35 years, I hear you loud and clear!

Now, my secret: Coconuts! The water extracted from coconuts is isotonic, and it’s so close in chemical composition to human blood plasma that it has been used for intravenous hydration in emergencies. Seriously, look that up. Today, coconut water is available as a drink at health food stores. It’s the quickest and cheapest way to improve electrolyte balance in your body, it tastes nice, plus it’s free of chemicals and unnatural sweeteners. Coconuts are famous for their anti-Candida properties and have about 15 times the amount of potassium compared to a leading sports drink and more potassium than two bananas. You can crack your own “young coconuts” like Sam does for me, they are white, not brown and hairy. Or keep it simple and buy commercially prepared “coconut water.” There are about a dozen brands, so make sure yours is 100 percent pure coconut water, without added sweeteners. Pulp is great, if you like to chew. I always have coconut water in my house, and drink it or cook with it daily. Substitute coconut water (for plain water) as your base for cooking soup, making smoothies and steeping tea.

Did You Know?

A study just proved that habitual chocolate intake was associated with a lower rate of heart failure.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website,

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)