Does the body make any adaptations to deal with having low levels of electrolytes like it does for neurotransmitters? What are the mechanisms?
I'm just curious as a primal intermittent faster who drinks coffee regularly if I should worry about specifically adding more electrolytes or if my body will compensate.
I do. I have chronic hyponatremia due to the large amounts of water I drink in combination to no processed foods. I find that I put salt on EVERYTHING, even in my iced tea. I also mix some potassium salt substitute in. I take a good magnesium supplement at night time. My body tells me when my electrolytes are messed up. I become very week and my head feels funny. I cannot concentrate. If you feel fine I wouldn't worry about it. I feel perfectly normal with low levels of sodium in my blood most of the time. It is when the levels get too low is when I feel it. Talk to your doctor about getting your sodium and potassium levels checked. That will give you a good indication on if you need to add more electrolytes to your diet.
I drink more water in the winter because it is so darn dry in my climate, and I notice that during the season I get more "twitchy", weak, and foggy, presumably due to electrolyte imbalances. I also drink a ton of tea because of the cold (winter is just a bad formula, apparently). Between these two reasons driving me to drink more liquid, I find that just adding a touch of salt in the diet can be helpful in combating this (just from personal experience, I haven't done much research on this). I eat loads of fruits/vegetables, so I get the potassium throughout the day. One fun source of salt- adding cheese if you do dairy. Otherwise, just enjoy the lovely crunch of salt on your roasted veg and meats!
I am very lean and love flavored beverages which go right through me, especially with no grains in the diet to hold on to the water. I have to lay off of lots of water because my muscles will begin to flicker/twitch if I get imbalances. Extra sodium helps me sleep at night; if I am restless I usually need more magnesium. If I am nauseous I have gone too low carb and need some starchy potassium (banana/potato) I once overdid the POTASSIUM which is hard to do with the SAD diet considering it's so salty and wound up with extremely low sodium in the ER. Pay attention to your body's signals.