SmoothieDiet

The 11 Best Electrolyte Drinks of 2024

By Published On: April 11, 202428.3 min readViews: 3450 Comments on The 11 Best Electrolyte Drinks of 2024

Electrolyte drinks are geared to support hydration for everyone—not just athletes. These drinks are more than plain water; they have electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and chloride. These are important for fluid balance within the body and can help rehydrate the body more efficiently, explains Lexi Moriarty, MS, RDN, CSSD. 

Electrolyte drinks are popular before, during, or after exercise because electrolytes are lost during sweat. However, electrolyte drinks can also be helpful in replacing fluids if you have digestive upsets like diarrhea or vomiting. Emerging research also suggests that stress may lead to lower levels of certain nutrients, including electrolytes, so even non-athletes may benefit from sipping electrolyte drinks.

Some electrolyte drinks also contain sugar to replenish glycogen stores after exercise or have additional vitamins and minerals added. The amount and type of electrolyte drinks you need depends on whether you are exercising or just trying to stay hydrated during the day. Electrolyte drinks are safe for most people, but those with kidney health concerns or trouble with fluid balance should consult a healthcare professional before taking them.

To get the best electrolyte drinks, we interviewed experts, tested 23 products in our lab, and evaluated them for taste, texture, smell, aftertaste, and overall value. Our nutrition editor, a registered dietitian, also rated these for nutrition quality and differentiated which drinks are best for exercise or non-exercise.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are specific minerals that help maintain fluid balance, prevent dehydration, and regulate certain chemical reactions, such as muscle contractions and transmitting signals through your nerves. Sodium and potassium are the most well-known electrolytes because of their role in fluid balance during exercise, but there are five other important electrolytes—magnesium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, and bicarbonate. They all work together and have unique roles in the body, and too much or too little of any electrolyte can lead to—and be a sign of—health concerns. Electrolyte drinks are meant to help restore electrolyte levels in the body, especially if you have lost a lot through sweat or illness.


A Note About Supplements
Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. They also may interact with other supplements or medications you are taking. Our team of registered dietitians reviews supplements according to our rigorous dietary supplement methodology. We also had a registered dietitian review this page for its scientific accuracy. Please always speak with a healthcare provider to discuss any supplements you plan on taking.

Best Overall

DripDrop Electrolyte Powder Packets

DripDrop


Why We Like It

DripDrop Electrolyte Powder Packets top our list because they not only scored full points for taste but also mixed incredibly well with water, creating a completely smooth beverage within seconds of mixing. We loved the watermelon flavor, which was reminiscent of a watermelon jolly rancher. It tasted so good that we actually wanted to keep drinking it, which isn’t always the case with electrolyte drinks.

With 330 mg of sodium and 185 mg of potassium, these packets are highly concentrated with electrolytes and will help you meet the International Society for Sports Nutrition’s (ISSN) recommendations of 300 to 600 mg of sodium per hour of exercise. It also contains nine grams of carbohydrates, which the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends can help increase sodium absorption and hydration.

We also appreciate that they come in individual packets, making them convenient for travel, packing in your gym bag, or taking with you to races. They’re available in nine flavors ranging from citrus fruits to berries and tropical flavors.  

It’s Worth Noting

It’s recommended that you mix these with eight ounces of water, which is only about half the recommended amount of fluid per hour of exercise, so you may need to supplement with additional water. We did find these packets to be very sweet, which is likely due to the combination of sucralose and sugar, so you could also dilute them with more water. 

Our tester, who has a very sensitive stomach, did note a little stomach upset after she drank this, so we recommend testing it out before you head out for a run to make sure it sits well with you.

If you exercise for a longer period of time (greater than one hour), you may need additional carbohydrates or electrolytes.

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder packet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, magnesium
  • Sodium per Serving: 330 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Added Sugar: 7 grams 

Best Unflavored

Buoy Electrolyte Drops

Buoy Electrolyte Drops
Amazon


Why We Like It

Buoy Hydration Drops are our favorite unflavored way to get electrolytes. We could not detect any added flavor whether we mixed this in water or other flavored beverages like juice. Because it’s liquid, it mixed well with fluids and was completely undetectable. This product is also third-party tested, which isn’t common for electrolytes. 

With only 50 mg of sodium per serving, it’s a good option for non-exercising, where you don’t need to replace a significant amount of electrolytes. If needed, you could add more than one dose to your water to boost the electrolyte content. Since the electrolyte amount is low, this could be a good option if you want to test out an electrolyte and see how you like it. We also appreciate how small the bottles are because they’re easy to keep in a gym bag and are travel-friendly. 

It’s Worth Noting

The amount of sodium provided per serving is not significant enough to support exercise or other needs to replace higher amounts of electrolytes, and the amount of other electrolytes provided per serving is negligible. These also contain additional nutrients, including trace minerals, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

Product Details:

  • Form: Drops
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium
  • Sodium per Serving: 50 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Best for Travel

Cure Hydrating Electrolyte Mix

Cure Hydrating Electrolyte Mix
Amazon


Why We Like It

Whether you’re traveling to a race or you’re just always on the go, the Cure Hydrating Electrolyte mix is a great option to keep in your bag. The packets are convenient since they are portable single servings, but they are especially helpful for air travel; this is because air travel can cause dehydration due to very low humidity in plane cabins.

It comes in eight flavors (we personally tried the lime), and each packet contains 240 mg of sodium and 300 mg of potassium. While this is more potassium than you need to support most workouts, it may be a helpful way to meet your total potassium needs if you’re not getting enough through diet. This can be especially helpful during travel when access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited. 

They taste like the flavor with just a little salt added, and when mixed with just eight ounces of water, it wasn’t too sweet or salty. While there was a bit of an aftertaste, we didn’t find it unpleasant, and it went away within a few minutes. 

They are also FSA/HSA approved (Flexible Spending Account/Health Savings Account), meaning you can pay for this with your FSA or HSA card. 

It’s Worth Noting

It doesn’t completely dissolve in eight ounces of water, and there was a bit of a grainy texture. This may be better mixed with more water. In addition, it’s sweetened with stevia and monk fruit, which some people may not prefer, but makes this a product with no added sugar. It’s lower in carbohydrates, so it’s probably not enough to rely on to renew muscle carbohydrates after exercise.

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder packet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium
  • Sodium per Serving: 240 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Best with Antioxidants

Kaged Hydra Charge

Kaged Hydra Charge
Amazon


Why We Like It

Kaged Hydra Charge combines electrolytes and antioxidants in one. In addition to 115 mg of sodium and 107 mg of potassium per serving, it also contains a small amount of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, along with an extensive antioxidant blend from 29 different fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants can protect cells from free radicals, which are byproducts of energy production, and form from exercise, smoking, pollution, and more. 

This electrolyte powder also includes taurine, an amino acid that some research shows can improve performance with high-intensity exercise and decrease muscle fatigue. However, more research is needed. 

We love the pink lemonade flavor—it tastes exactly as you’d expect a glass of pink lemonade to and leaves no unpleasant aftertaste. And if pink lemonade isn’t your flavor of choice, there are seven other flavors to choose from. It’s thirst-quenching, and we found it to be very hydrating on and after a run. It’s recommended you mix the powder with 10 to 14 ounces of water, and we found that it dissolves easily in 10 ounces with no grainy texture

It’s Worth Noting

This option is best for non-exercise or paired with another carbohydrate source since it only has one gram of carbohydrates. It’s sweetened with stevia and sucralose, which not everyone likes the taste of. The antioxidant blend contains ingredients, such as coffee and green tea extract, garlic, and turmeric, that could interact with certain medications; always check with your healthcare provider before taking this if you are taking any medications.

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium
  • Sodium per Serving: 115 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Best Tablet

NOW Sports Effervescent Effer-Hydrate

Amazon NOW Sports Effervescent Effer-Hydrate
Amazon


Why We Like It

For a simple, effective, and tasty electrolyte tablet, we recommend NOW Sports Nutrition Effervescent Effer-Hydrate. It has a nice balance of sweet and sour flavor, with no overpowering sweetness that can come with some sports drinks or powders. We also like the slight effervescent taste and texture, which stands out from other options on the market. 

The tablets take a little longer to dissolve in water (around one minute) than some powders, but they dissolve fully without needing to shake or stir. With 360 mg of sodium, it offers more sodium than many of the powders on this list, making it a good option for endurance athletes or anyone working out in a hot climate where they may lose a lot of sodium through sweat. 

It’s Worth Noting

It’s sweetened with stevia, and the smell was much stronger than the taste. While the sodium level is a good option for endurance exercise, note that you may need to pair it with another carbohydrate source after exercise.

Product Details:

  • Form: Tablet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium
  • Sodium per Serving: 360 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Best Subtle Flavor

Nectar Daily Hydration

Nectar Daily Hydration
Nectar 


Why We Like It

For those who like or can only stomach just a hint of flavor, we recommend Nectar Daily Hydration. The pomegranate cherry flavor had just enough tartness to hide any salt, but it’s not overpowering or too sweet, which can be appealing during a workout. It also didn’t have any significant smell, so if powerful smells are off-putting to you, this may be a great option. 

Nectar was developed with natural ingredients, which is why it is flavored with organic fruits instead of artificial flavors. With a blend of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium, Nectar Daily Hydration provides a variety of electrolytes. The combination of a variety of electrolytes and subtly of flavor makes this a good option if you are experiencing digestive issues and find yourself vomiting or having diarrhea. Each serving has 100 mg of sodium (4% DV), 15% DV of magnesium, and 6% DV of calcium, potassium, and chloride.

It’s Worth Noting

It’s sweetened with stevia and doesn’t have enough sodium per serving to support most prolonged ultra-sweaty exercise sessions. This option is best for no-to-light exercise or if you just need a boost in hydration after a night out. 

We also found that there were a few remaining clumps of powder after shaking the drink.

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder packet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride
  • Sodium per Serving: 100 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 
  • Third-Party Tested: No

Best Taste

Primal Harvest Primal Hydration

Amazon Primal Harvest Primal Hydration
Amazon


Why We Like It

Primal Harvest’s Primal Hydration is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and salty. The berry lemon flavor reminded us of strawberry lemonade, and much to our surprise, there was no aftertaste. We also like that it dissolves easily in water with no residue. 

The high sodium content of these packets (400 mg) makes them a good option for anyone who loses a lot of salt in sweat generally or from longer workouts, high-intensity workouts or workouts under the sun. According to Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD, Founder of Eat Swim Win, you’ll know you lose a lot of salt if you finish a workout with a crust of salt on your skin or shirt. 

These packets also contain vitamin C and several B vitamins, which won’t necessarily help with hydration but could help you meet your total vitamin needs if you don’t get enough through diet. Vitamin C is another antioxidant that is protective against free radicals, while B vitamins support energy production, among other things. 

It’s Worth Noting

These packets are higher in sodium and may be too much for some people. They’re also sweetened with stevia, which some may not appreciate the taste.

If you are taking a multivitamin with vitamin C and B vitamins, you may want to avoid this pick since the amounts per serving in this electrolyte drink are beyond the daily needs of most people. 

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder Packet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium
  • Sodium per Serving: 400 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Best for Exercise

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix
Amazon


Why We Like It

We love Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix for exercise because it contains an adequate amount of sodium (400 mg) to support anything you lose in sweat as well as 20 grams of carbohydrates to fuel your workout. While many of the other options we picked are significantly lower in calories, the 80 calories of this electrolyte drink are well worth it. Carbohydrates are the optimal energy source for exercise, meaning this option can provide more energy without feeling full before a workout

We appreciated the subtle taste with little-to-no aftertaste. It comes in seven flavors and is available in bulk bags or single-serve packs, which would be convenient for travel or if you’re often on the go.

If you aren’t a fan of the stevia used in many of the other picks, Scratch Labs uses cane sugar and dextrose as sweeteners

It’s Worth Noting

Even after stirring for 30 seconds, there was some undissolved powder at the bottom of the glass.

Note that while the carbohydrates from added sugar (19 grams) are great for exercise, it may not be the best choice if you are watching your sugar intake or not exercising. 

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder Packet
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium
  • Sodium per Serving: 380 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Added Sugar: 19 grams 

Best with Caffeine

Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel

Amazon Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel Raspberry
Amazon


Why We Like It

If you want a little boost of caffeine with your electrolytes before or during your workout, Tailwind Nutrition Caffeinated Endurance Fuel is a good option. Caffeine has been shown to improve exercise performance, particularly speed when consumed before exercise. With 35 milligrams of caffeine per serving—about the amount in a cup of green tea—it won’t give you a big buzz but may make your workout feel a tad easier. In addition to caffeine and electrolytes, it has 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, which will help fuel your workout and replace energy used during exercise, which is especially important for those exercising for more than an hour. This combination of carbohydrates and caffeine can be a good choice for endurance athletes

We loved both the taste of this drink—not too sweet or salty—and it mixed well with water, leaving the texture very smooth. Because it comes in bulk bags, you can also adjust the serving size to fit your individual workout needs, adding more or less. 

It’s Worth Noting

This drink had a slight aftertaste that lingered for a bit, but it wasn’t overly unpleasant.

The 25 grams of carbohydrates come from dextrose and cane sugar, which some may prefer the taste of, but also be mindful if you are watching your sugar intake. 

The bulk bag might not be a good option if you plan on taking this on the go, but Tailwind’s product is also available in single-serve packets.

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder in bulk bag
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium
  • Sodium per Serving: 310 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Added Sugar: 25 grams 

Best for Non-Exercise

Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder
Amazon


Why We Like It

If you’re looking to increase your electrolyte intake throughout the day, Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder is a good option. But with only 55 milligrams of sodium, this is a better option for rest days or light exercise days rather than to support high-sweat workouts. 

The blend of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and chloride gives you a variety of electrolytes, including 25 percent of your daily magnesium needs. Since it’s estimated that nearly half of American adults don’t get enough magnesium through diet, this may be helpful to meet your magnesium needs.

When we tried this out in the lab, we found that it mixes easily with water, leaving little residue, and we enjoyed the peach Bellini flavor. It wasn’t too sweet or salty, though it was definitely a more diluted flavor than the cocktail. 

It’s Worth Noting

This mix did have a pretty strong aftertaste, and it’s sweetened with stevia. In addition, it contains magnesium citrate, which can act as a laxative. Luckily, the amount per serving of this drink isn’t enough for that effect, but keep this in mind if you are taking other magnesium supplements. 

Product Details:

  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, chloride
  • Sodium per Serving: 55 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Added Sugar: 25 grams 

Best for Athletes

Thorne Research Catalyte

Thorne Research Catalyte Lemon Lime Flavored
Amazon


Why We Like It

Thorne’s Catylate not only provides the electrolytes you need to support your workout but also provides additional nutrients, including Vitamin C, B vitamins, and zinc. Zinc plays a role in creating DNA, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting our immune system. 

This powder contains 485 milligrams of sodium per scoop, making it a good option for those who sweat a lot and for longer workouts in the heat. However, it contains very little carbohydrates, so you would need another source of carbs to fuel your workout. Because it’s NSF Certified for Sport, it’s a great option for any competitive athletes because it’s been tested to ensure it doesn’t contain any harmful contaminants or ingredients banned by sport. This is one of the few electrolyte drinks that have been third-party tested.

It’s Worth Noting


This mix scored a little lower on flavor than some of the others on our list, as we found the lime flavor to be overpowering and the taste to be a little artificial. But the aftertaste faded relatively quickly. 

Product Details:

  • Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride
  • Sodium per Serving: 485 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Added Sugar: 0 grams 

Electrolytes and Third-Party Testing

Electrolyte drinks that are ready to drink are under FDA regulation for safety. However, electrolyte drink powders are considered supplements and are not reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Therefore, choosing a quality product from a trusted brand is most important, especially if you are a competitive athlete.

Third-party tested products that test for banned substances in sports include NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Sport Certified. ConsumerLab.com also has more information on third-party testing information on certain electrolyte drinks.

More Electrolyte Drinks to Consider

  • Drink LMNT Recharge: With 1,000 milligrams per serving, this may be a good option for someone who has high sodium needs (high-intensity exercise for an hour or more or exercise in high heat), but some may find the salty taste to be overpowering and difficult to drink. 
  • Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier: With 500 milligrams of sodium and 370 milligrams of potassium, this is a good option for a long, hot workout, but we didn’t love the taste; it left a very salty aftertaste in our mouth.
  • Gatorade Gatorlyte Rapid Rehydration Electrolyte Beverage: This ready-to-drink electrolyte drink has a mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates, making it a good choice for exercise. However, we thought it had a strong, unpleasant, salty aftertaste.

Should I Take Electrolytes?

Most people can drink electrolyte drinks at any time of the day without harming their health. However, electrolyte drinks with sugar are meant to be consumed before, during, or after exercise, as sugary drinks at rest are not necessary (unless you are dealing with digestive issues). Drinks with higher amounts of sodium are best for replacing electrolytes lost through sweat.

The following groups of people may especially benefit from electrolyte drinks.

  • People Who Exercise: If your workout is less than 60 minutes or it’s a low-impact workout where you’re not sweating much, such as gentle yoga or pilates, you probably won’t get much benefit from an electrolyte drink. An electrolyte drink might be a good choice for you if you work out:
  • For longer than 60 to 90 minutes 
  • In extreme heat
  • And sweat a lot during a workout, especially if you notice a salt layer on your skin or clothes after you’re finished.
  • And eat a limited diet and don’t get adequate electrolytes from food.
  • Those with diarrhea or vomiting: Electrolyte drinks are helpful for replenishing fluid losses, especially from digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. Drinks with some carbohydrates can help you get some energy in if you can’t stomach eating whole foods.
  • Those with high stress: Emerging research suggests that chronic psychological or environmental stress may deplete minerals in the body, including electrolytes. However, more research is needed to understand the true benefits of adding electrolyte drinks and how much you need to help balance the effects stress has on electrolytes.

People who should not take electrolytes: Anyone with kidney disease or other conditions that may affect their fluid and electrolyte balance, like congestive heart failure, should always speak with a healthcare provider before using electrolyte drinks, as they may not be best for you.

Our Supplement Testing Process

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.  

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.com.

It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend and gives more details on what we specifically look for in supplements.

We tested 23 products in The Lab and rated each product for flavor, texture, aftertaste, smell, and value. Eleven of the 23 products scored high enough overall to meet our criteria to top our list. 

  • Taste: We rated for overall flavor and noted any overpowering salt taste. Some products lost points here for tasting too salty, too sweet, or for having a strong artificial flavor.
  • Texture: Some products mixed perfectly and easily with water, while others left sediment at the bottom or became grainy when mixed. We rated products on dissolvability and how long it took to dissolve. 
  • Aftertaste: We noted any aftertaste, whether unpleasant or how long it lingered. Those with strong unpleasant aftertastes scored lower than those that either had no aftertaste or were faint and dissolved quickly. 
  • Smell: We noted any strong or off putting smells, or if it smelled differently than we expected based on flavor.  
  • Value: Each tester noted whether or not they felt the product they tested was worth the cost, was a good deal, or was too expensive. This is highly subjective, and what may feel expensive to one person may not be to another, especially if the attributes fit their needs.
  • Nutrition: Our nutrition editors analyzed each product based on its quality of ingredients, amount of electrolytes (particularly sodium, potassium, and magnesium), and other nutrients added. Each product was rated based on its intended use, such as for exercise or non-exercise. 

Our Experts

We interviewed three registered dietitians who work with athletes and specialize in sports nutrition to help us understand who can benefit from electrolyte drinks, what to look for, and how and when to consume them.

  • Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD: Founder of Eat Swim Win, and former Division 1 athlete.
  • Lexi Moriarty, MS, RDN, CSSD, a Certified Sports Dietitian and owner of Fueled + Balanced Nutrition. 
  • Amber Trejo, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT, a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in Nutrition in Human Performance and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. 
  • Shushy Rita Setrakian, MS, RDN, a Registered Dietitian and one of our nutrition and supplement commerce editors. Shushy is passionate about converting nutrition science into meaningful dietary recommendations for her clients. She has an eye for spotting the latest nutrition trends, research and breaking down what that can mean for your supplement and food choices.

Types of Electrolytes

There are seven minerals that are considered electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus, and bicarbonate. Sodium is the most important electrolyte to replenish during exercise because it’s lost in sweat, but potassium and magnesium are also lost in sweat to a lesser degree and need to be replaced. Bicarbonate has also been shown to support short-duration, high-intensity exercise. Overall, electrolyte intake is essential to support hydration and important bodily functions. 

Ingredients: What to Pay Attention To

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Some electrolyte drinks include additional ingredients that may or may not be helpful for you. Ingredients to consider include: 

  • Sodium: the amount of sodium you need in an electrolyte drink will vary depending on your individual needs. Athletes, especially endurance athletes, will need more sodium during exercise to replace sodium lost in sweat. Less active people will want to choose a product that’s lower in sodium so you don’t get too much sodium.
  • Sugar: During exercise longer than 60 minutes, it’s helpful to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates to replace glycogen stores and fuel your workout, explains Moriarty. Glucose (sugar) electrolyte solutions also help reduce the risk of dehydration, which can be helpful after exercise. (source) However, outside of prolonged exercise, sugar in drinks is not necessary and can lead to getting too much sugar in your diet.
  • Alternative sweeteners: If it’s not sweetened with sugar, the drink is likely sweetened with an alternative sweetener such as stevia. These are generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but they may not suit everyone’s taste preferences.
  • Vitamins and other minerals: Some electrolyte solutions also contain other nutrients. This may help close any nutrient gaps that you don’t get through diet or help you meet higher nutrient needs. However, too much is not always a good thing when it comes to vitamins and minerals. It’s always best to check with your healthcare provider before choosing a product that contains additional nutrients.
  • Antioxidants: some electrolyte drinks add antioxidants. There isn’t research to support these benefits outside of consuming them through food, but they are unlikely to be harmful to a healthy person. If you are taking any medications, check with your healthcare provider to be sure none of the antioxidants interact with your medications.

How Much Electrolytes Should I Drink?

Since electrolytes are lost in sweat, the exact amount you need will depend on how much you sweat, and that may vary by season and type of exercise. Sodium chloride (salt) is the most important electrolyte to replace during exercise, as it’s the electrolyte that is lost the most in sweat. However, some potassium and magnesium are also lost in sweat. The International Society for Sports Nutrition recommends consuming between 300 and 600 milligrams of sodium per hour during prolonged exercise.

If you want to estimate your sweat rate and electrolyte loss, Schimmelpfenning recommends a sweat rate tester like the Gatorade Gx sweat patch. She also recommends paying attention to how much salt crust is on your shirt and skin after exercise to help determine if you’re a salty sweater or not.  She recommends that most people drink electrolyte drinks that contain 150-180 mg of sodium and 60-75 mg of potassium per 8 fluid ounces after exercise.

Outside of exercise or spending prolonged time in the heat where you are sweating a lot, electrolyte drinks may not offer much benefit unless you’re not getting enough in your diet. Keep in mind it is possible to consume too much electrolytes. Too much sodium, without enough fluid, can lead to something called hypernatremia, which can increase blood pressure, and too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat, explains Trejo, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. She also notes that anyone with kidney disease should be cautious with electrolyte drinks and speak to their healthcare provider first. 

When Should I Drink An Electrolyte Drink?

Electrolyte drinks can be consumed before, during, and after exercise to support hydration and fluid balance. While water is enough for exercise less than 45 to 60 minutes, The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming sports drinks that contain electrolytes and glucose during endurance exercise longer than 60 minutes. 

You can drink electrolyte beverages at any time of day, but more research is needed to support the benefits of this practice. In other words, they appear to be neutral—there is no specific benefit (or harm) to drinking electrolyte beverages throughout the day. Some research suggests it may help replace levels lowered from high stress, but more research is needed.

Who We Are

Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, certified spin instructor, runner, and triathlete. Her experience and expertise has been featured in Verywell, EatingWell, Healthline, and more. In her private practice, she works with many active people including endurance athletes to support fueling and recovery.


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