Electrolyte supplements are a great way to maintain the human body’s optimal level of essential electrolytes and peak performance capability.
Electrolytes might seem like just another trendy term, but these essential minerals are an important part of our daily physical function. We gain electrolytes from our nutritional intake, and we lose them naturally through sweating and filtration. People with high levels of physical exertion can struggle to maintain their optimal electrolyte balance. If you are doing strength training, HIIT workouts or sweaty cardio workouts, you will want to keep reading.
Luckily, with healthy electrolyte supplements that come in tablets, powders, and drinks, it’s easy to replenish your body with the boost it needs.
Keep reading to learn why electrolytes are so important for our health and see my top picks for the best electrolyte supplements on the market today.
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What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that have an electrical charge when dissolved in fluids like water, blood, and urine. They can have a positive or negative charge, and help with important functions within our bodies.
We get electrolytes from the food and fluids we consume. Now you can imagine why hydration is so important! Our bodies lose them naturally through physical activity (sweating during intense workouts), natural filtration (urination), and illness (vomiting or diarrhea).
Low levels of electrolytes can be common in athletes who aren’t proactively managing their intake. They can experience symptoms like muscle cramps and headaches to name a few.
Most Common Types of Electrolytes
The most common and significant electrolytes include:
Why Do We Need Them And How Many Do We Need?
Electrolytes are essential minerals needed for basic life functioning. We need electrolytes for many important processes including:
- Regular nerve and muscle function
- Balance blood acidity and pressure
- Help rebuild damaged tissue
According to the NCBI the average person needs around 1,600 to 2,000 mg (40 to 50 mEq) of electrolytes every day.
However, no two bodies are created equal and individual electrolyte needs may vary greatly based on health and activity level.
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What Is An Electrolyte Imbalance?
When levels of electrolytes within your blood are too high, or too low, it can lead to an electrolyte imbalance. As you can imagine, this can greatly impact your bodily functions.
Our bodies lose electrolytes through natural and healthy processes like filtration and excretion, and sweating. After episodes of rigorous exercise, diarrhea, or vomiting, our bodies can sometimes use a boost in electrolytes to recover.
A combination of our kidneys and hormones regulate the concentration levels of each electrolyte. Simply put, if any electrolyte has too high of a concentration, the kidneys and hormones will help filter it out and restore balance.
Electrolyte imbalances could be a sign of a deeper health issue like problems with your heart, lungs, or kidney. If the imbalance is serious, a medical provider may order a Electrolyte Panel to determine which electrolyte levels are too high or too low. Common symptoms of an imbalance include confusion or irritability, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, headaches, irregular heart rate, muscle cramps or weakness, among others.
If you start experiencing electrolyte imbalance symptoms from exercise or regular activity, supplements could become a critical part of your regular routine.
My Experience With Electrolytes
I am by no means an extreme athlete. I’m your basic very active 57 year old woman who has gone through menopause. My workout schedule is high intensity exercise for one hour, five days a week. I started noticing my energy waning once I entered my 50’s. After deciding to start using an electrolyte supplement in my water during workouts and experienced a noticeable increase in my energy.
Now I take an electrolyte supplement every morning before my workout to make sure my body maintains the right energy level and optimal electrolyte balance. I also notice the benefits when I hike in the heat, or am excessively sweating. And last, I have to say, after a night of a few glasses of wine, I think it helps me in the morning!
Electrolyte supplement powders, drinks, or other formats can help quickly bring our electrolyte levels back to balance, and positively impact our overall health. Keep reading to learn more, or jump right to my best electrolyte supplement picks below.
What Are Electrolyte Supplements?
Electrolyte supplements are powders, tablets, drinks, and other products that help increase and rebalance your electrolytes.
The most common ingredients are Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium. But keep in mind, the specific makeup of each electrolyte supplement is different, so always read the ingredient list. Different brands may work best for your individual needs.
These essential vitamins can come in lots of different product types. I recommend finding one that works best with your existing lifestyle. It’s always easier to incorporate a new health routine into good habits you already have. The best electrolytes you’ll get are the ones you remember to take!
I love taking Nuun Electrolyte Tablets every morning before my workouts. And because it’s part of my routine, it’s easy to maintain.
Electrolyte Supplement Ingredients To Avoid
Just like any other product I put in my body, I want to make sure it’s made of the highest quality ingredients possible. I’m looking to add important minerals and nutrients to my body, not a bunch of junk.
To find the highest quality electrolyte supplements I think it’s a good idea to use the following tips:
- Avoid food coloring. Some electrolyte drinks like traditional sports drinks have lots of food coloring or artificial colors like yellow, red, and blue dyes (we’re looking at you Gatorade).
- Watch out for weird additives. See artificial ingredients you don’t recognize? Do a little research first. I like to look for high quality natural ingredients I can recognize.
- Excess sugar. I always try and avoid excess added sugar and artificial sweeteners in products that are supposed to improve my health.
As with most products, often times the fewer ingredients the better. When I see unnecessary additional ingredients I start wondering what they are trying to hide.
It probably goes without saying, but I use these guidelines throughout my whole life, and I recommend you do the same!
Best Electrolyte Supplements I Tested in 2023
Electrolyte supplements come in lots of different forms. Whether you like powders, tablets, or drinks, it should be easy to find something you like.
As you can imagine, they also come in different qualities. I tend to look for high quality electrolyte supplements without suspicious additives or excess sugar. I take electrolyte supplements before every workout, and I want to make sure I’m putting something I’m excited about into body.
A Few Tips For Getting Started…
Consistency is Key.
I recommend finding an electrolyte supplement that you can easily fit into your existing life and routine. Do you always work out at a certain time of the day? Do you have an existing routine where it would be easy to add an extra step? Are you regularly taking other supplements already at a designated time? Incorporating some kind of an existing or new routine will help you stay consistent, and ultimately give you better results.
Ease of Use.
I find it really helpful to use a supplement product that’s easy. If I can have less work and the same quality of outcome, I’m all in! Right now I’m loving Nuun Electrolyte Tablets because they’re easy to carry with me when I’m on-the-go. No matter where I am, I can always pop a tablet into any bottle of water and get the nutrients I’m craving. I also love the tablets when I’m traveling. The individual single serve packets are a great option too (just don’t spill them when you’re mixing!).
I want to help you get right to the best products without all the time and money wasted on trial and error. Trust me, I’ve done that part for you!
With special consideration for quality, taste, and overall effectiveness, I’ve added some of my favorite electrolyte supplement options below. I hope you enjoy my picks and find something that works for your specific needs!
Best Electrolyte Supplement Tablets
Electrolyte tablets aren’t as common as the individual powder packets, but I love them. They’re compact, clean, easy to travel with, and they taste great too!
I love these Nuun Electrolyte Tablets because they are so easy to take on the go. Heading to my workouts early in the morning with these ready in my bag takes one less step out of my morning routine. I add one to my water bottle and hydrate up before exercise.
- Nuun Daily Tablets have the five essential electrolytes, with optimized levels for everyday enjoyment: 200mg of Sodium, 75mg of Chloride, 125mg of Potassium, 20mg of Magnesium, and 30mg of Calcium.
- Nuun Daily Hydration has zero grams of sugar! It’s a clean ingredient alternative to other drink mixes.
The Nuun brand is a Certified B Corp, which means they care about positive change in the world. I love finding brand to support that make great products, and care about the impact they leave behind. It’s a win, win!
The Nuun Electrolyte Tablets come in lots of different flavors and are made for specific uses. I use the Daily Tablets without caffeine. I like all the fruit flavors my favorite being the strawberry lemonade.
Best Electrolyte Powders
I love my tablets, but honestly the best electrolyte powder products can be just as great. With so many healthy brands are offering single serve electrolyte packets, you can still get the essential nutrients, just in a powder format!
Just like any other product I recommend, I’m really picky about quality. When it comes to choosing the best electrolyte powders I look for products without artificial ingredients or excess sugar. The brands below are my favorite powders based on the quality of ingredients, taste, and overall effectiveness that I’ve personally seen.
Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder uses high quality ingredients in single-use-packets to replenish your electrolyte balance.
This electrolyte powder has five key electrolytes (Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium) and trace mineral complex. The Dr. Berg brand believes we don’t get nearly enough potassium, and delivers 1,000 ml of potassium in every serving.
These single serve packets come in a variety of awesome flavors like raspberry lemonade, orange, grape, lemonade, pomegranate & cherry, strawberry lemonade and more. I recommend trying the variety pack to find your favorites.
LMNT Electrolyte Drink Mixes come in handy individual hydration packets and tons of fun flavors. This brand believes salt is the key ingredient to reaching our optimal fitness health, so every serving comes with 1,000mg of sodium plus other essential electrolytes like potassium and magnesium.
These electrolyte supplements are sugar free, gluten free, vegan and paleo-keto friendly. You can enjoy flavors like citrus salt watermelon salt, orange salt, raspberry salt, chocolate salt, mango chili, lemon habanero, and unflavored salt.
LMNT offers a variety pack so you can easily find your favorite option.
FlavCity Electrolyte Drink Mixes are great for dehydration, when you’re feeling sick, or after intense exercise. They’re single-use-packets flavored with real fruit powder, a proprietary blend of electrolyte minerals for ideal hydration, and unrefined sea salt.
You can explore flavors like strawberry limeade, pineapple coconut, raspberry lychee, and fruit punch.
Best Electrolyte Drinks
Electrolyte drinks are often the first type of product that comes to mind when we think of electrolytes. Who doesn’t remember the days of Gatorade and Propel? And we’ve all had a run in with Pedialyte at some point.
There are a lot of electrolyte drinks on the market, but when it comes to regular and consistent use, I haven’t found something that I prefer in quality over the tablets and powders.
The most popular and promoted drinks like Gatorade are filled with excess sugar, food dyes, and other scary ingredients. For that reason, I prefer to start with water and add my favorite tablets or powders instead. It’s true I have to take one extra step to make the mix, but at least I know exactly what my “homemade” electrolyte drink is made of.
But if you’re specifically looking for a pre-packaged beverage, coconut water is actually a great drink full of natural electrolytes like potassium, sodium and manganese too. There are lots of other additional benefits to drinking coconut water too. Give it a try and see what you think!
Overall, it’s important to know what electrolytes are, and how they are critical for our health.
They are important for our daily health function, and we are constantly loosing and replenishing them. Start paying attention to when you’ve expended too much, and nourished too little. Changes to diet and electrolyte supplements can be a great option when you’re starting to feel off. Remember, the more higher the level of physical exertion, the more support you may need.
Help your body be strong every day. It’s never too late to start!
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Electrolytes don’t directly impact weight loss by themselves. However, they are often used in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet or intermittent fasting to ensure the body cain maintain healthy balances while consuming less than normal. Electrolyte supplements won’t help you lose weight, but they could help you stay healthier while you’re trying to lose weight. I believe a balanced diet and regular exercise are also a major piece of the puzzle!
Here are some of the common symptoms you might experience from an electrolyte imbalance are confusion and irritability, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, headaches, irregular or fast heart rate, muscle cramps, muscle spasms or weakness, nausea and vomiting, numbness or tingling in limbs, fingers and toes. If you start experiencing these electrolyte imbalance symptoms from exercise or regular activity, electrolyte supplements could be a great option for you.
Electrolyte supplementation and hydration levels are especially important for athletes. They often require higher than usual energy levels, and also expend electrolytes at a faster rate than the average person. It’s often recommended athletes consume fluids and electrolytes before, during, and after exercise. As you can imagine, the stakes are even higher for endurance athletes.
You can take electrolytes every day, especially if you are exercising vigorously or sweating often. They can help replace the minerals you are naturally loosing, like sodium, magnesium and potassium. I also recommend consulting with a registered dietician or other health professional before making any significant changes to your daily nutritional intake.
If you are consuming a reduced level of calories due to fasting, electrolyte supplements can help give your body the nutrients it needs. You can get crucial minerals and vitamins through fasting approved electrolyte supplements and still meet your goals.
Preventing hangovers can be tough. Do electrolytes help? They can’t prevent a hangover, but they can probably help ease the symptoms. Since drinking alcohol is a dehydrating process, consuming extra electrolytes can help replenish and rebalance your body after a night out. I also recommend plenty of water ; ).
Just like anything, too much is never a good thing. You want the right amount of electrolytes to reach your optimal health balance, but you also don’t need to overdo it. Too many electrolytes could lead to symptoms like fatigue, headaches, weak muscles, cramps, and more. I also recommend consulting with a registered dietician or other health professional before making any significant changes to your daily nutritional intake.
Your electrolyte levels can be tested with either urine or blood tests performed by a medical professional. That being said, many people are able to tell when their electrolytes are low based on their physical activity and common symptoms like fatigue, signs of dehydration, muscle cramps, numbness or tingling.