If you’re into mineral-infused water or sports drinks, you’ve likely come across the term “electrolytes.” It’s an extremely common group of nutrients among athletes and will almost certainly be found on any label as a marketing term.
Despite seeing the word everywhere, there’s a lot of confusion around what electrolytes are and why they’re necessary for our bodies. And before you ask, they are much more than what plants crave — and no, Gatorade and Powerade won’t help your plants grow. Believe it or not, electrolytes are an extremely easy concept that most people likely already have a grasp of without knowing it.
There are plenty of electrolyte supplements available, like DripDrop, for example. But with so many out there, how are you supposed to know which electrolyte supplement to choose? We’ve done the research! We’ll give you the full breakdown on electrolytes, how you can maximize your body’s performance with electrolyte supplements, and what our choices for the best electrolyte supplements are.
What Are Electrolyte Supplements?
Before you get worried that we’re about to drop some crazy new science on you, electrolytes are certain minerals that are found in the body. Unlike many other minerals, they carry a positive or negative electrical charge with them.
By dissolving the minerals in water, negative and positive ions will be created and utilized in a variety of processes and functions in the body. We can consume electrolytes through our diet or via supplementation.
Aside from water and sports drinks, electrolytes are commonly found in spinach, kale, broccoli, nuts beans, potatoes, strawberries, avocados, dairy, fish, and meat. Not getting enough electrolytes throughout the day or getting an imbalanced amount can lead to health complications like dehydration, weakness, fatigue, and much more.
How Many Electrolytes Are There?
While there are a wide range of minerals and compounds that fall under the umbrella term “electrolytes,” there are six main minerals that are essential to body function — sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chloride.
In addition to those six, many scientists would likely throw in bicarbonate.
Let’s take a closer look at these electrolytes:
- Sodium – one of the most important extracellular electrolytes that will provide a positive charge. It’s commonly combined with chloride and will help maintain pH levels and blood volume.
- Chloride – the other most important extracellular electrolytes that provides a negative charge. Helps maintain pH levels and blood volume.
- Potassium – the most important intracellular electrolyte that provides a positive charge. It’s essential to a wide range of processes, including maintaining pH levels, muscle contractions, nerve impulse transmission, heart function, cellular fluid, and tissue health.
- Magnesium – another positively charged ion, magnesium helps transport calcium and sodium, synthesize proteins and proteins, produce energy, and maintain blood sugar levels in the body.
- Bicarbonate – a negatively charged ion that works alongside sodium, potassium, and chloride in achieving electrical neutrality in the body. It will also help maintain the body’s pH balance.
- Phosphorus – you might see phosphorus listed as phosphate because nearly all of the phosphorus in the body will attach to oxygen, forming phosphate. It works alongside calcium and helps the body maintain acid-base balance, muscle contractions, and blood clotting.
- Calcium – calcium levels in the body are known to decrease when phosphorus intake increases, and vice versa. Almost 99% of calcium is found in bones and teeth, but the other 1% is found in extracellular fluid.
As you can see, electrolytes each have their specialty and will work together to keep the body balanced. Symptoms will start to appear when imbalances occur, so proper supplementation can be extremely helpful to some people.
What Do Electrolytes Do To The Body?
Now that we’ve gone over the major electrolytes you should know about, let’s go into a little more depth on how they work their magic inside the body.
Electrolytes can be found in one of three fluid compartments in the body: extracellular fluid, intracellular fluid, and blood. Remember, electrolytes need a liquid to dissolve, and these fluid compartments are where the water is stored in our body.
They will essentially assist your body in four major areas — the nervous system, hydration, pH balance, and muscle contractions.
- Nervous System – when sodium is transported through a cell membrane, it effectively changes the electrical charge of that membrane. This is where nerve impulses occur, which are what your brain uses to send signals throughout the body.
- Hydration – our bodies need to maintain the proper fluid balance between intra- and extracellular compartments. When a cell has too much or too little water or electrolytes, it will use osmosis to maintain balance. Sodium, for example, helps this process.
- pH Balance – a healthy balance of electrolytes is essential to maintaining a proper acid-base balance in the body. This can lead to acidosis and alkalosis in the body. We should always have a pH balance of around 7.4.
- Muscle Contractions – Magnesium and Calcium are very important here. They assist muscle fibers in working better alongside each other when the muscle contracts.
If your body isn’t getting the necessary amount of electrolytes each day, your body will have difficulty following through with the above processes.
Why Do We Lose Electrolytes Throughout The Day?
There are many reasons why we’ll lose electrolytes throughout the day, but dehydration remains one of the biggest worries.
Dehydration is common among athletes that sweat a lot, anyone who works in extreme heat for long periods of time, or people who are sick — vomiting and diarrhea can lead to a massive loss of fluids in the body.
This is why it’s highly common to drink electrolyte-enriched water or sports drinks while working out or working a long shift. Unfortunately, a lot of these drinks will be high in sugar or simply too expensive when you’re buying them every single day.
For those that want an easier solution, supplements can give your body the electrolytes it craves whenever and wherever you need it.
Getting The Most Out Of Electrolyte Supplements
Much like any other nutrient or group of nutrients out there, you can maximize your experience by combining electrolytes with other ingredients to form a stacked supplement. You’d be surprised by all the deficiencies you can experience on a daily basis, but supplementation has been known to help prevent them.
The good news is since electrolytes are just minerals, the opportunities are endless. You’ll likely already see these electrically-charged ions in a wide range of supplements — if not all of them!
To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ll give you a list of our favorite ingredients to pair with electrolytes.
Vitamins and minerals always go well together — they’re like peanut butter and jelly. There are 13 vitamins in total — Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. You’ll need healthy doses of each to maintain proper body function daily.
In the average diet, there are certain vitamins that will be neglected more often than not. Many people are deficient in Vitamins A, C, D, B9, B6, and B12. Ensuring you’re getting enough through your diet is the healthiest option, but supplements can help give you that extra boost.
Recommended Daily Dose: B9 (400mcg), A (750-900mcg), B6 (1.3-1.7mg), C (75-90mg), D (15-20mcg)
Amino acids also make a great addition next to electrolytes, especially since electrolytes are generally taken when sick or while exercising.
While there are 20 amino acids found in the body, nine of them are known as essential because our bodies can’t produce them on their own. These nine are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Together, they play a variety of roles in the body, including improved sleep, better workouts performance, weight loss, muscle recovery, and a better mood.
Recommended Dose: histidine (14mg), isoleucine (19mg), leucine (42mg), lysine (38mg), methionine (19mg), phenylalanine (33mg), threonine (20mg), tryptophan (5mg), and valine (24mg)
As we mentioned previously, there are a wide amount of minerals available in the body that aren’t considered electrolytes due to the lack of an electrical charge. However, that doesn’t mean they are any less important to the body.
Here are a few minerals to consider adding to your electrolyte supplement:
- Zinc – helps make DNA and proteins, also important for the immune system.
- Iron – produces hemoglobin and myoglobin, necessary for growth and development
- Selenium – protects against oxidative stress, plays a role in metabolism and proper thyroid function
- Iodine – bone and brain development, metabolism, and thyroid function
- Copper – works with iron to produce hemoglobin, helps body absorb iron
- Manganese – metabolism of amino acids, glucose, cholesterol, and carbs
- Chromium – improves sensitivity to insulin and metabolism of proteins, lipids, and carbs
- Molybdenum – helps detoxify and remove toxins from the body
If you struggle to consume any of the above minerals on a daily basis, you should definitely consider adding them as a supplement.
Electrolytes are needed most when the body is dehydrated. Since that will normally occur during exercise or when we’re sick, having some nutrients that provide energy and fuel for the body can help you stay prepared for the day ahead.
Caffeine is going to be a major go-to for many people, but we consume enough of that on a daily basis already. TeaCrine is a solid stimulant that can even be combined with L-Theanine (amino acid) to prevent the dreaded crash.
In addition to that, L-Glutamine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Tyrosine, and Gingko Biloba can also improve your body’s ability to produce energy and ATP.
If you’re sick and are experiencing an electrolyte imbalance, there’s a good chance you’re feeling groggy, in a bad mood, and exhausted. It can be hard to get comfortable and relax while your body heals itself.
Adding nutrients that promote relaxation and enhance the synthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine can help uplift your mood. There are a variety of options to choose from, including Rhodiola Rosea, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Ashwagandha, and Citicoline.
If you’re going to be sick or dehydrated, you may as well be a little happy while your body recovers, am I right?
Best Electrolyte Supplements
If you haven’t realized by now, electrolyte supplements can be found in many different forms and combined with a wide range of ingredients. You’ll have a lot of options to sort through, but we want to try and make that decision a little easier for you.
Below are five of our favorite electrolyte supplements available today. There’s a mix of basic formulas and more complex formulas, so choose the one that best fits your needs.
Perfect Keto Electrolytes
Our number one choice for electrolyte supplements has to be Perfect Keto Electrolytes. You may have heard of Perfect Keto before, as this product is not their only one, they also have their Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketone Base. Perfect Keto Electrolytes is, obviously, designed to be keto-friendly.
Perfect Keto Electrolytes comes in capsule form and includes four electrolytes that are essential to help replenish the body while on the ketogenic diet. These include magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. This supplement provides many benefits including enhancing and supporting keto adaptation, helping to manage keto flu symptoms, fighting off brain fog, exercise and recovery support, and enhanced mental clarity.
You can purchase Perfect Keto Electrolytes from their company website for $26.99. There is also a subscription option which brings the price down to $22.94.GET THE BEST PRICE ON PERFECT KETO ELECTROLYTES
You’ve likely heard of this one already. Pedialyte is one of the most popular electrolyte drinks and can be found virtually anywhere. While many believe it’s only for children, especially since it’s commonly found in the baby section, Pedialyte has just as much benefit for adults.
The formula is basic, but gives your body what it needs when dehydrated. In their Pedialyte Advanced Care Plus, you receive 280mg of Potassium, 630mg of Chloride, and 2.8mg of Zinc. It also contains a Prebiotic blend that supports bacteria balance.
You can find it anywhere and will typically cost around $6 for a 34-fl. oz bottle. Since it’s a beverage, all you have to do is drink it. They’ll be available in a variety of flavors including Berry Frost, Strawberry, Grape, and more.
If you’re looking for something you can easily take anywhere with you, Nuun tablets provide a simple solution. All you do is drop the tablet into a glass of water and let it dissolve — voila! Now you have a powerful electrolyte drink.
They have several different formulas to choose from, but they’re all pretty basic. Here’s what they have available:
- Nuun Sport: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Caffeine
- Nuun Rest: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Tart Cherry
- Nuun Immunity: Zinc, Vitamin C, and a Botanical Blend
- Nuun Vitamins: Vitamin A, C, D, E, and Caffeine
Nuun tablets will come in a tube that holds 12 tablets and will cost you just $7 per tube. Each tablet will dissolve in a 16-oz glass of water. They also feature some fun flavors to keep things interesting!
From the same company as OptiMind nootropic stack, comes OptiMind Hydrate. This is another easy-to-use electrolyte supplement that comes with a variety of options. This one will come in powder form, but will be packaged individually so you can still take them wherever you need to.
Here’s what they have available:
- Memory: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Citicoline, Caffeine, GABA, L-Tyrosine
- Energy: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Vitamins B2, B6, B12, Taurine, and Caffeine
- Probiotic: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Vitamins B2 and B12, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and a Greens Blend
- Hydrate: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Vitamins B6 and B12
You can find these sold online and will come in boxes with 8 individually-wrapped packages. Each box will cost you around $14, but you do have the option to try it out for free.GET THE BEST PRICE ON OPTIMIND HYDRATE
Key Nutrients Electrolyte Powder
If you’re looking for a powerful electrolyte supplement that doesn’t neglect any vitamins or minerals, we’ve got the perfect supplement for you. Key Nutrients provides a powdered electrolyte solution that includes an additional 12 vitamins and minerals.
In Key Nutrients Electrolyte Powder, you get the six most crucial electrolytes — Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride — but that’s not all! You’ll get Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, and Molybdenum.
Better yet, it’s super affordable at just $30 per tub. Keep in mind each tub will consist of 90 servings, so it’ll only cost you $10 for a month’s supply. You can find it available in Orange, Lemonade, Grape, or Cherry-Pom (pomegranate).