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Feeling sick or sluggish? You may just be thirsty.
Doctors say more than 75% of Americans suffer from some form of dehydration, often caused by not drinking enough water. Without proper hydration, you could suffer from fatigue, poor bowel movements and lower immunity. You could also be more susceptible to things like heatstroke and hangovers, not to mention decreased energy and mental alertness levels.
Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but if that’s not possible, consider adding a good electrolyte powder to your daily routine. Whether you don’t have immediate access to drinking water, or you prefer the taste of something flavored, the best electrolyte powders help to replenish your body with essential vitamins and minerals, while giving you the hydration you need to go on with your day.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Electrolyte Powder
What are electrolytes? As the name suggests, electrolytes are electrically-charged minerals that carry energy in your body. When mixed with water, electrolytes help to rebuild the “electric tissues” in the body, which are essential for maintaining proper organ function and overall health.
What do electrolytes do? Electrolytes help to hydrate the body and provide energy, which is great when you’re recovering from an illness or want to prevent a hangover. Electrolytes also work to repair nerve and muscle damage (I.e. preventing cramps caused by a strenuous workout). Electrolytes can also help to prevent headaches and light-headedness, while keeping you calm and alert.
How do electrolyte powders work? The best electrolyte powders help to repair and replenish your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Mix them into a glass of water and drink them just like you would a punch mix or iced tea (all of the options on our list are water-soluble and flavored for easy drinking).
Electrolyte powders work faster than regular water alone, and they often contain more electrolytes than traditional sports drinks — and with less sugar and calories. We’ve found options on our list with zero sugar and zero calories too.
The best electrolyte powders use a ratio of potassium, sodium, and glucose that helps to deliver water to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. The newest electrolyte powders also contain added vitamins and minerals (think vitamin C and B12) to help boost immunity and to provide energy.
When should you use an electrolyte powder? The best electrolyte powders are safe to drink everyday, or whenever you need a quick boost to rehydrate. Mix them with water and have a drink before you head to work in the morning, to ensure that you’re alert and ready to get the day started. Or use it as a recovery drink post-workout, to reduce soreness and make sure your muscles don’t cramp. We also like keeping electrolyte powder on hand after a heavy night of drinking, to help ease the hangover the next day. And, a good electrolyte powder can also help prevent illnesses — or speed up recovery — with the vitamins and minerals helping to give your body’s organs and your immune system a much-needed boost.
1. Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier Electrolyte Powder
This electrolyte powder delivers quick hydration to your bloodstream, helping to reduce fatigue, improve alertness and immunity.
To use, mix one stick of this electrolyte powder into 16 oz of water (you may want to use more water if you find the taste or powder too strong). Liquid I.V. says their packets contain three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks, plus potassium and 110% of vitamin C, B3, B5, B6, and B12 (that’s more than the minimum daily recommended value).
This powder is GMO-free and contains no artificial ingredients. One serving is 50 calories and has 11g of sugar.
PROS: Individually-wrapped packets make this easy to take with you to the gym, while traveling or on-the-go. With every purchase made, Liquid I.V. says they donate a serving to someone in need.
CONS: The lemon-lime flavor is a little tart for some. There is salt in the ingredients to help improve function, not for taste, though some say they still tasted a little saltiness in the drink.
2. Key Nutrients Electrolyte Powder
This electrolyte supplement is great for hydration and to help with recovery after working out. The formula is sugar-free, calorie-free and contains zero carbs. It’s also ideal for vegans — using all plant-based ingredients — and soy-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.
In addition to potassium and magnesium, this formula contains 12 additional vitamins and minerals (think vitamin C and zinc).
One container contains enough powder for 90 servings. To use: add one scoop to 16 oz. of water, stir and drink. Use more to adjust taste (this has a lemonade flavor so it’s best served chilled).
This electrolyte powder works great as a post-workout supplement to help re-hydrate and repair sore muscles. Some also use it as an energy drink prior to working out or heading on a run.
PROS: Sugar-free and zero calories and naturally sweetened with stevia. Great for people on a keto diet.
CONS: Not as much vitamin content as some of the other powders on our list.
3. Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder
The name Dr. Berg is synonymous with health supplements and this popular electrolyte powder promises increased hydration, better mental alertness and more energy.
With 1000mg of potassium (more than 3x the amount of other powders on our list), this powder helps with muscle recovery (I.e. less cramping) and preventing water retention. The mix also includes essential minerals like magnesium, chromium, calcium, and sodium.
Use it as a natural energy boost, to rehydrate after an illness, or to help with regulating your joints and muscles after a workout.
The formula has no added sugar, and no gluten, GMOs or artificial ingredients. This container gets you 45 servings. Mix one scoop into 16 oz. of water.
PROS: Lemon-raspberry flavor is the best-tasting on our list. Dissolves easily in water.
CONS: No added vitamins to this powder. It’s marketed as a weight-loss supplement but you should always consult with your doctor before replacing meals with any kind of powder or drink.
4. Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder
When mixed with water, Ultima Replenisher’s electrolyte powder creates the tastiest, more refreshing drink on our list. Made with real fruit flavor extracts and sweetened naturally using organic stevia, the drink contains zero calories, sugars or carbs, and goes down clean without any aftertaste. It’s also made with plant-based coloring, so it’s naturally vegan (not to mention gluten-free, soy/dairy-free, keto-friendly and paleo-friendly).
The powder contains six electrolytes and trace minerals, and helps with rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes lost from activity and sweat. It may also help with headaches, cramps and hangovers.
The powder comes in individually-packaged stickpacks, which make it easy to get the exact servings in. Dissolve one stickpack in 16 fl oz. of water.
PROS: Variety pack gets you five different flavors: raspberry, lemonade, grape, orange and cherry pomegranate.
CONS: Some may find this a little sweet.