The 8 Best Electrolyte Drinks of 2021, According to a Dietitian

How to choose an electrolyte drink that is right for you

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Best Electrolyte Drinks

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Electrolyte-enhanced beverages, or sports drinks, help replenish water, electrolytes, and energy lost during exercise. These drinks often contain potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, which help combat dehydration, prevent muscle cramping, and delay fatigue.

The human body has mechanisms to maintain adequate fluid and electrolyte balance, so for most healthy individuals, eating a balanced diet and consuming adequate water intake is sufficient. Registered Dietitian, Merrill Brady, MS, RDN, CDN notes, "Clients often ask if they should be drinking an electrolyte-enhanced beverage during or after their workouts. While my advice depends on the individual and the exact nature of their workout, I generally recommend sticking to regular water, unless they are heavily sweating and/or intensely working out for over an hour."

While traditional manufactured and artificially flavored sports drinks have long been the drink of choice in the sports and fitness world, recent research suggests that coconut water may be just as effective at promoting rehydration with less incidence of stomach upset and bloating. Electrolyte drinks have expanded beyond the world of athletics to meet the needs of anyone who may benefit from a hydration and mineral boost.

What to Look for in Electrolyte Supplements

Ingredients

Check the label to see what electrolytes are included in the electrolyte drink. Whether you're looking for a slight pick-me-up in your regular water, a way to rehydrate when you're sick, or an electrolyte-packed sports drink to fuel your activity, there are lots of different options. Electrolytes to look for include sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride.

Form

Electrolyte drinks can come in premixed liquid form or powder form. There are also naturally occurring electrolyte drinks such as coconut water available. Consider how and when you will be using the beverage; for example, it may be more convenient to carry a powdered electrolyte packet while traveling, whereas a ready-to-drink option may be better for immediate use.

Other Additives

Some electrolyte drinks come with extra nutrients or ingredients. While it is generally best to steer clear of beverages high in sugar or those containing artificial ingredients, some beverages contain extra ingredients like caffeine or vitamin C that may be beneficial.

Electrolyte Drink Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

There is no established RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for electrolyte drinks. However, there are established recommendations for the minerals that they contain. These recommendations differ based on age, gender and overall health status. It is important to note that if you are pregnant or lactating, there are specific recommendations for each mineral.

Here are the recommendations, established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (NASEM), for the six electrolyte, essential minerals for men and women between the ages of 19-50 years of age:

  • Sodium: Sodium does not have an RDA, but the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends <2,300 milligrams/day for adults.
  • Potassium: Adequate Intake (AI) per day is 3,400 milligrams for men and 2,600 milligrams for women
  • Calcium: RDA is 1,000 milligrams for men and women
  • Chloride: Adequate Intake (AI) per day is 2.0 grams
  • Phosphorus: RDA is 700 milligrams
  • Magnesium: RDAs are as follows:
  • 19-30 years: 400 milligrams men, 310 milligrams for women
  • 31+ years: 420 milligrams for men, 320 milligrams for women

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you drink too many electrolytes?

    In general, it’s unlikely to take in too many electrolytes from electrolyte drinks, unless you’re drinking several servings in one day. If you are consuming several electrolyte drinks daily, you may want to be wary of your electrolyte intake when combined with the electrolytes you get from food, especially sodium. 

    Too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines advise consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. For reference, one 12-ounce serving of coconut water has 55 milligrams of sodium, one Nuun tablet provides 300 milligrams, and one 12-ounce serving of Pedialyte has 370 milligrams.

    If you’re already eating foods high in sodium, it can start to add up when adding electrolyte drinks into the mix

  • How can I make my own electrolyte drink?

    Most electrolyte drinks on the market contain sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium—all of which can be found in food. Try this DIY electrolyte drink. Mix 2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups coconut water, 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

    This recipe makes four 1 cup servings, each of which provides 250 milligrams of sodium, 258 milligrams potassium, and 90 milligrams of calcium.

How We Select Supplements

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, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

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.

Here are the best electrolyte drinks:

Best Overall: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher
Pros
  • Contains all six electrolytes

  • No added sugar

  • Contains vitamin C

Cons
  • Expensive

The delicious-tasting lemonade-flavored drink provides all six electrolytes—magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, and phosphorus—with no artificial ingredients. This sugar-free, zero-calorie, and zero-carbohydrate beverage is sweetened with stevia. Ultima is made with real fruit flavors and comes in many delicious varieties, including Cherry Pomegranate, Blue Raspberry, Grape, and Orange. The flavors are not overly sweet and taste refreshing.

Unlike other powders, which can be chalky, Ultima mixes well and dissolves completely to become a smooth, hydrating drink. The versatile product can be used for many diets such as vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, and peanut-free. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, it’s also caffeine-free.

Whether you’re an athlete using Ultima during training or an office worker sipping the product at your desk, Ultima is hands down the best tasting, most refreshing, cleanest electrolyte drink available. 

Electrolytes included: magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus | Servings per container: 30 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Stevia, malic acid

Best Organic: Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Harvest

harmless-coconut-water
Pros
  • Contains only 1 ingredient

  • Naturally occurring electrolyte source

Cons
  • 20 grams of sugar per serving

  • Expensive

If you’re looking for the most natural, organic, electrolyte-filled drink available, Harmless Harvest coconut water is the best option for you. Made solely from coconut water sourced from organic young coconuts grown in Thailand, the thirst-quenching drink provides various nutrients, including sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. While there are some organic electrolyte powders and processed beverages on the market, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water is 100 percent natural. It’s made from one ingredient: organic coconut water.

Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte drink that helps to rehydrate and restore electrolyte balance. Harmless Harvest is not only 100 percent Organic, but it’s also Fair for Life certified, meaning that the product promotes social and environmental responsibility. The company partners with organic farmers who use sustainable practices without pesticides, sewage sludge, or synthetic fertilizers. It’s good for you, the people who make it, and the environment. 

The drink is naturally pink, as coconut water can turn pink when the natural antioxidants interact with elements such as light. Many companies will hide this variation by adding vitamin C or citric acid to preserve the clear color, but Harmless Harvest chooses to embrace the natural variation.

Electrolytes included: magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus | Servings per container: 1 bottle (355 mL) | Calories per serving: 90 | Sugar per serving: 20 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: No

Best Budget: Pedialyte Electrolyte Solution Unflavored

pedialyte-unflavored
Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Designed for both kids and adults

Cons
  • 9 grams of added sugar per serving

You may think of Pedialyte as a beverage for sick children, but it can be used for athletes, adults, or anyone needing an electrolyte boost. Unflavored Pedialyte is a great, economical choice to replete electrolytes in a balanced way that is free of colorings and dyes. The classic drink comes in a convenient one-liter container that is ready-to-drink and shelf-stable when unopened, so you can keep it on hand for any time you need extra hydration. 

The affordable beverage is a tried and true product specifically designed to prevent dehydration. It contains a balance of fluid, sugar, and electrolytes, including potassium, chloride, and sodium. The carbohydrates, or sugar in the form of dextrose, can give a quick energy boost to anyone who is active or feeling under the weather. Pedialyte solution also contains zinc, which promotes intestinal absorption of water and electrolytes and may reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea.

Electrolytes included: sodium, potassium, chloride | Servings per container: 3 servings per 33.8 ounce bottle | Calories per serving: 40 | Sugar per serving: 9 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: Dextrose

Best for Keto: Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun sport electrolyte drink tablets
Pros
  • Good for travel

  • Flavor variety

Cons
  • Contains additives

People on the ketogenic diet typically have higher electrolyte needs and are more prone to dehydration, especially when beginning the diet. When the body is first adapting to the ketogenic diet, people experience fluid losses, which lead to less bloat and a reduction in water weight; however, the loss of fluid also leads to electrolyte depletion. The dreaded “keto flu,” or symptoms of fatigue, headache, and irritability, can arise from these electrolyte imbalances. 


Nuun
Sport is keto-friendly! These electrolyte tablets contain only one gram of sugar, 15 calories, and no artificial sweeteners or flavoring. They are sweetened using high-quality stevia, which will not disrupt the sensitive ketogenic cycle like regular sugar and carbohydrates.

The convenient tablets mix easily with water to create a hydrating, tasty beverage that comes in a variety of flavors, including Lemon Lime, Tri-Berry, Citrus Fruit, and Orange. Each tube provides 10 tablets that contain a balance of five essential minerals. They’re also soy-free, gluten-free, kosher, and vegan.

Electrolytes included: sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium | Servings per container: 10 tablets per tube | Calories per serving: 15 | Sugar per serving: 1 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Dextrose, stevia, malic acid

Best for Runners: Nuun Sport + Caffeine: Electrolyte Drink Tablets, Mixed Flavor Box

Nuun Sport + Caffeine: Electrolyte Drink Tablets, Mixed Flavors
Pros
  • Contains organic green tea extract

  • Flavor variety

  • Good for travel

Cons
  • Contains added sugar

Nuun Sport + Caffeine is an easy, portable way for athletes, especially runners, to hydrate and replete necessary electrolytes on-the-go. Each tube contains 10 tablets that mix with water to create an effervescent, thirst-quenching, electrolyte-filled beverage. With only 1 gram of sugar from stevia and 15 calories, the super clean tablet will provide all the electrolytes a runner needs, with no extra sugar or artificial flavorings. Each tablet also contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, which can add extra pep to a runner’s step.

Studies show that caffeine may boost athletic performance. Nuun Sport + Caffeine tablets may help athletes get a leg up on the competition, boosting performance while simultaneously rehydrating. 

Electrolytes included: sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium | Servings per container: 10 tablets per tube | Calories per serving: 15 | Sugar per serving: 1 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Dextrose, stevia, malic acid

Best for People with Diabetes: Ultima Replenisher Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder, Variety Pack, 20 Count Stickpacks

Ultima Replenisher Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder
Pros
  • Contains all six electrolytes

  • Good for travel

  • Contains vitamin C

Cons
  • Expensive

Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder is a great choice for a sugar-free beverage that will replenish electrolyte levels, hydrate effectively, and provide supporting minerals without affecting blood sugar levels. Sweetened with stevia, Ultima is a delicious, zero-carb drink that is perfect for people with diabetes. 

Most electrolyte drinks contain sugar and carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar modulations in people with diabetes. Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder is a great product for people with diabetes to rehydrate without any effect on blood sugar. People with diabetes have a higher risk of dehydration, as high blood glucose levels cause the kidneys to work harder to remove excess glucose from the blood and excrete urine. While this is effective for reducing blood sugar levels, it can lead to fluid and electrolyte loss.

The Ultima Single Serve Variety Pack comes with 20 sticks in a variety of flavors, including cherry pomegranate, grape, lemonade, orange, and raspberry. The formulation also contains vitamin C, which can help to boost immunity.

Electrolytes included: magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus | Servings per container: 30 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Stevia, malic acid

Best Electrolyte Water: Essentia Water LLC Ionized Alkaline Bottled Water

Essentia Water LLC Ionized Alkaline Bottled Water
Pros
  • No mixing needed

  • Crisp taste

Cons
  • Contains only trace amounts of electrolytes

  • Plastic waste

Essentia Water is ionized alkaline water that tastes great and has small amounts of beneficial electrolytes. Essentia uses a proprietary ionization process to purify, add small amounts of electrolytes, and remove bitter-tasting ions. This three-step process first purifies the water, removing unwanted particles through microfiltration and reverse osmosis. The water is then infused with trace amounts of electrolytes. Finally, bitter-tasting acidic ions are removed. The result is alkaline water with a pH level of 9.5 or higher.

Alkaline water is less acidic than regular water and is rich in alkalizing compounds that may improve hydration status. Essentia contains minimal amounts of minerals, so it will not provide essential electrolytes for highly active athletes, but it is a fantastic, great-tasting way for anyone to rehydrate.

Electrolytes included: magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus | Servings per container: 1 liter bottle | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: No

Best Kids Powder: Mommy's Bliss Electrolyte Powder Packs Unflavored

Mommy's Bliss Electrolyte Powder Packs Unflavored
Pros
  • Good for travel

  • For both children and adults

Cons
  • Contains added sugar

These individual powder packs are great for on-the-go hydration for kids and adults alike. Each package of Mommy’s Bliss Electrolyte Powder provides eight single-serve mix-in drink packets. The powder readily mixes with water or your liquid of choice to create an unflavored electrolyte beverage that can prevent dehydration. 

Mommy’s Bliss contains vital hydration-supporting minerals, including sodium, potassium, and chloride. While the product aims to prevent dehydration in babies and kids who are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, the electrolyte beverage can be used at any time and may be helpful, especially during hot summer months.

Typical electrolyte beverages for children contain high amounts of sugar and additives. Mommy’s Bliss contains all the vital minerals without extra sugar. One packet contains only 3.4 grams of sugar per 8 ounces. The powder is also free of alcohol, parabens, artificial colors, and flavors. The 100 percent vegan product is dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.

Electrolytes included: potassium, sodium, chloride | Servings per container: 1 packet (5.2 grams) | Calories per serving: 15 | Sugar per serving: 3 grams | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Glucose, stevia

Final Verdict

If you're looking for the best-tasting, most refreshing, cleanest electrolyte drink available, try Ultima (view at Amazon). For a natural source of electrolytes, try Harmless Harvest Coconut Water (view at Amazon).

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5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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