Essentially the sodium salt of formic acid, sodium formate usually appears as a white deliquescent powder. Its primary use is in fabric dyeing and printing processes, and it also acts as a buffering agent for strong mineral acids to increase pH. Most people come into contact with sodium formate as a food additive, and when it is used as a de-icing agent. Most important to humans though is the use of sodium formate as a strong electrolyte, helping the human body regulate nervous system function such as the autonomic functions of the cardiopulmonary systems of the heart and lungs. Sodium formate is one of the most effective electrolytes, so small quantities of it can be found in sports drink or rehydration powder packs. Fitness and bodybuilding experts all recommend that anyone training for any sort of fitness competition regularly consume small quantities of sodium formate in beverages or blended in with meal replacements in order make certain they stay hydrated and functioning at peak efficiency.