The Best Electrolyte Supplements, According to a Dietitian

Skratch Labs Sports Hydration Drink Mix helps you rehydrate and refuel

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Electrolytes—including sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus, and magnesium—are essential minerals that our body needs to function properly. This includes regulating fluid balance, pH levels, muscle contractions, and other vital functions. Our kidneys work to maintain adequate fluid and electrolyte balance, so for most healthy individuals, eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water is sufficient to keep your hydration in check. 

However, increased water intake and electrolyte supplementation may be indicated during periods of excess losses. For example, high-endurance athletes exercising vigorously for more than 60 minutes may benefit from increased water and electrolytes to replace what is lost through sweat. Other situations such as alcohol consumption or illness related fluid loss may warrant electrolyte supplementation too, since we can lose electrolytes through urination, vomiting, or diarrhea as well.

According to Kristy Baumann, RD, who works with runners, if you are an endurance athlete you should pay special attention to the sodium and carbohydrate content of electrolyte supplements. Sodium and carbohydrates can enhance fluid retention, helping you stay hydrated. When selecting our top list of electrolyte supplements we considered electrolyte and carbohydrate content, additional ingredients, taste, form, and third-party testing.

Verywell Fit Approved Electrolyte Supplements

  • Best Overall: Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix contains the electrolytes lost in sweat, with a focus on sodium, plus carbohydrates for fueling.
  • Best Energy Gels: Huma Plus Chia Energy Gels are made with real fruit and chia seeds. They are easy to carry and take for mid-exercise electrolyte and carbohydrate replenishment.

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.

Are Electrolyte Supplements Beneficial?

If you consume a balanced diet, you likely will not need electrolyte supplements for daily use. However, there are certain situations involving fluid loss in which they may help you avoid dehydration. Both sodium and carbohydrates can help your body hold onto more water and rehydrate more quickly.

Additionally, if you are losing excessive fluids through sweat, urine or diarrhea, consuming both water and electrolytes may be beneficial to replace losses. Drinking too much plain water can sometimes lead to a condition known as hyponatremia, in which levels of sodium in the blood drop too low.

Electrolyte supplements may help you avoid dehydration if you:

Engage in prolonged exercise: Dehydration during athletic endeavors in particular can result in increased stress on your body and impaired performance. If you are exercising for over an hour or incorporating intense intervals, you may benefit from an electrolyte supplement that contains both electrolytes and carbohydrates. This can help your body retain water so that you are able to rehydrate more quickly.

Exercise in the heat: If you exercise in the heat, you will likely be losing more fluids as well as sodium via sweat. Electrolyte supplements may be particularly useful in these situations to support adequate electrolyte and water balance in the body.

Experience altitude shifts: Altitude changes can result in electrolyte imbalances. Electrolyte supplements, water, and carbohydrates may help you acclimate.

Experience alcohol or illness-related fluid losses: If you lose fluids and electrolytes due to illness-related vomiting or diarrhea, you may benefit from an electrolyte supplement in addition to water and carbohydrates. Additionally, alcohol can have a diuretic effect, meaning it increases your urine output, which can lead to water and electrolyte losses requiring replenishment.

Who May Not Benefit From Electrolyte Supplements

Recreational athletes: If you are engaging in low intensity exercise for under 60 minutes, you can likely recover with a balanced meal and plain water. Focus on incorporating foods that contain the main electrolytes lost in sweat, namely sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Sedentary individuals: If you do not engage in prolonged exercise and you follow a balanced diet, you likely do not need electrolyte supplements. However, it is still important to focus on staying hydrated throughout the day with regular water and balanced meals.

Those with certain medical conditions: Those with certain kidney and heart conditions requiring a low-sodium diet may want to avoid high sodium electrolyte supplements. Additionally, those with diabetes may want to take caution when consuming supplements with quick-releasing glucose, as it can cause blood sugar spikes.

Children who do not experience excess fluid loss: Children can typically meet their hydration and electrolyte needs through adequate water intake and a balanced diet. Children who are experiencing excess fluid losses through sweat, diarrhea or vomiting may benefit from electrolyte drinks, specifically an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) containing water, glucose and electrolytes.

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix

Amazon

Pros
  • Contains 21 grams of carbohydrates for recovery

  • Contains sodium to help rehydrate athletes

  • No artificial sweeteners or colors

Cons
  • Must be prepared in advance

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix tops our list because of its carbohydrate and electrolyte content and great taste without artificial sweeteners or colorings. This powder contains 21 grams of carbohydrates per serving, which not only improves the taste of your drink, it helps you refuel and rehydrate more quickly. This is especially the case if you are engaging in exercise for over 60 minutes or in hot conditions.

In addition to these sugars, Skratch contains sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, the electrolytes lost in sweat. It contains 380 milligrams of sodium per 12-16 oz serving, so this may be a great option if you are exercising in the heat and sweating heavily. 

We also like that Skratch does not contain any artificial sweeteners or flavors, so the taste is subtle, rather than cloyingly sweet. It comes in a variety of  flavors, including lemon & lime, pineapple, strawberry lemonade, summer peach, and fruit punch.

Some athletes like to use caffeine before a workout, as research supports using caffeine may enhance exercise performance. If you’re looking for an extra boost, raspberry limeade and matcha green tea & lemon both contain caffeine. Just mix 1 scoop of powder into 12-16 ounces of water and mix until dissolved.

Form: Powder | Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus | Carbohydrates: 21 g | Recommended use: Add 1 scoops to 12-16 oz of water

Best for Athletes: Klean Athlete Klean Hydration Electrolyte Replacement Formula - Natural Orange Flavor

Pros
  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • No artificial flavorings or sweeteners

Cons
  • Expensive

If you are an athlete, your hydration strategy is critical for ensuring proper recovery from workouts so you can continually perform at your best. If you are engaging in intense exercise for over 60 minutes, you may want to rehydrate with an electrolyte supplement that also contains carbohydrates in the form of sugar.

These added carbohydrates not only help you refuel, they also help your body hold onto water and rehydrate more quickly. Klean Hydration contains 180 milligrams of sodium per 8 ounce serving to aid in rehydration and contains 16 grams if carbohydrate to allow for maximum absorption and energy replenishment. If you need lower amounts of sodium and carbohydrates, you might try adding the same amount of powder to 12 or 16 ounces of water instead of 8 ounces.

We like that Klean Hydration is NSF Certified for Sport, meaning it is tested to ensure it does not contain any substances prohibited by sports organizations. If you are a competitive athlete, it is critical that you opt for supplements with third party testing.

Form: Powder | Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium | Carbohydrates: 16 g Recommended use: Mix 1 scoop with 8 oz of water or beverage of choice

Best Tasting : Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier Electrolyte Drink Mix

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier Electrolyte Drink Mix

Amazon

Pros
  • Great for on-the-go or travel

  • No artificial sweeteners

  • Contains vitamin B and C

Cons
  • Does not contain magnesium or calcium

Some electrolyte drinks taste chalky, overly sweet, or too salty. If you are looking for a light tasting electrolyte supplement that will make you want to keep drinking, try Liquid IV. This powder comes in larger bags or in single serve packets, making them ideal for travel. The packets contain 11 grams of sugar for refueling and enhanced water absorption plus 500 grams of sodium to replace what you lose via sweat in those heavier workouts or for those who lose excess sodium when they sweat. 

For added benefit, Liquid IV contains B vitamins to support energy production for those at risk of deficiency and vitamin C for tissue repair and immune support. They come in a variety of flavors such as passion fruit, lemon lime, and strawberry, and are sweetened with stevia. Liquid IV uses non-GMO ingredients and is free from gluten, dairy, and soy.

Form: Powder | Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Recommended use: Mix 1 packet into 16 oz of water

Best Budget-Friendly: Pedialyte Electrolyte Solution Unflavored

pedialyte-unflavored

Courtesy of Target

Pros
  • No artificial flavorings or colorings

  • Contains zinc for added immune support

Cons
  • Does not contain magnesium or calcium

Pedialyte is a tried and true electrolyte supplement that comes at an affordable price point. We like the unflavored version that comes with no artificial flavorings or colorings. This product contains dextrose, a form of sugar which can help you replenish energy stores. It can also help your body retain water, allowing you to rehydrate more quickly. 

One serving (12 fluid ounces) of Pedialyte contains 40 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates, plus a mix of sodium, chloride, and potassium. The 370 milligrams of sodium per serving will help you adequately rehydrate. It also contains zinc for immune support, which may be particularly beneficial if your fluid losses are due to illness. Pedialyte may be a good option for those experiencing diarrhea, as diarrhea can lead to excess zinc losses.

Form: Liquid | Electrolytes: Sodium, chloride, potassium | Carbohydrates: 10 g | Recommended use: For ages 1 and up, small frequent sips every 15 minutes

Good to Know


Individual water and electrolyte needs are dependent on many factors, including your environment, activity level, diet, health status, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. In general, healthy adults should aim to drink about 2 liters, or about eight 8-ounce glasses, of water a day and obtain electrolytes through a balanced diet including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. 

Best for Everyday: ZICO Coconut Water

ZICO Coconut Water

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • High in potassium

  • Contains only coconut water

Cons
  • Lower sodium content may not be suitable for athletes

Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, most notably potassium, along with small amounts of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus. The only ingredient in this product is coconut water, so you do not have to worry about any artificial additives or fillers.

One 8 ounce serving of Zico contains 11 grams of sugar with 390 milligrams of potassium (about the same amount that you’ll find in a banana). The sweetness comes from the coconut's natural sugars, providing carbohydrates to promote hydration and refuel energy stores.

Zico coconut water contains 65 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is lower than other electrolyte supplements. If you are an athlete, you might consider opting for an electrolyte supplement with higher amounts of sodium, the main electrolyte lost in sweat, or pairing this with sodium containing foods.

Form: Liquid | Electrolytes: Potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium | Carbohydrates: 11 g per bottle | Recommended use: Drink straight from the bottle or use as a smoothie base

Best Electrolyte Gels: Huma Plus Chia Energy Gel

Huma Plus Chia Energy Gel

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Made with real fruit and chia seeds

  • Can be easily carried while running or cycling

Cons
  • Contains caffeine which may not be suitable for all

  • Need to drink water separately to hydrate

If you’re looking for an on-the-go, electrolyte gel option, try Huma Plus Chia Energy Gels. Made with pureed fruit, coconut water, chia seeds, brown rice syrup, and sea salt, these pack a powerful punch of energy and electrolytes. This is the perfect nutrition-packed packet to take with you on a long ride or run.

Each packet contains sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium with 21 grams of carbohydrates and 245 milligrams of sodium. Flavors include Berries and Pomegranate, Blackberry Banana, Chocolate Raspberry, and Strawberry Lemonade.

Keep in mind that in order to effectively hydrate you need to drink enough fluids, so in order for Huma to help you hydrate, it's essential to also drink water.

Final Verdict

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix is an excellent choice for an electrolyte supplement, containing the electrolytes lost in sweat along with sugar for quick recovery. Looking for an electrolyte supplement you can easily take mid-exercise? Go for Huma Plus Chia Energy Gels.

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. 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. 

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.

What to Look For

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

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.

Electrolytes: Most electrolyte supplements contain the electrolytes lost in sweat, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Different supplements will differ in exact amounts, but if you are exercising in the heat for prolonged periods, consider a higher sodium profile.

Other ingredients: Electrolyte supplements often contain additional ingredients such as added sugars, vitamins, or flavorings. The added sugars provide you with a source of energy and help your body hold onto water. They also make the drink palatable, encouraging you to drink more. Some electrolyte supplements also contain caffeine, which may provide a performance boost, but may not be suitable for all.

Electrolyte Supplement 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 to understand which dosage to take.

While there is no recommended dose when it comes to electrolyte supplements, there are established Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA)  for the minerals they contain. This differs based on age, sex, and overall health, as well as for those who are pregnant or lactating.

If you are engaging in prolonged physical activity in hot weather, the Institute of Medicine states you should include drinks with 20-30 meq/L (440-690 mg/L) sodium, 2-5 meq/L (78-95 mg/L) potassium, and five to ten percent carbohydrate content. Electrolyte drinks often contain calcium and magnesium as well, although we do not lose as much of these minerals when we sweat.

Please keep in mind that electrolyte needs differ depending on your individual body, sweat rate, activity type and duration, and the conditions you are exercising in, so finding the best electrolyte supplement and dose for you may take some experimenting. If possible, we recommend working with a registered dietitian who specializes in working with athletes to help you in this process.

You can further avoid electrolyte imbalances by eating foods with these minerals. The Adequate Intake for potassium per day is 2400 milligrams for adult men and 2600 milligrams for adult women, and the RDA for calcium is 1000 mg for both adult men and women.

How Much is Too Much?

If you consume several electrolyte supplements daily, it can lead to an excess of certain minerals. Over time, high sodium intake can increase risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. The amounts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium contained in electrolyte supplements are not likely to cause harm in healthy individuals.

If you need to be aware of your sugar intake, note that some electrolyte drinks contain added sugars, which can contribute to excess sugar intake.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Gatorade have electrolytes?

    Gatorade is an effective and affordable electrolyte drink. It contains the main electrolytes lost in sweat, including sodium, potassium, and calcium as well as carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Some Gatorade products contain artificial colors and dyes, which you may prefer to avoid, but product lines such as Gatorade Endurance do not contain any artificial flavors.

  • Does lemon juice concentrate have electrolytes?

    Lemon juice concentrate contains small amounts of potassium, calcium, and sodium. If you are using lemon juice concentrate to make an electrolyte drink at home, we recommend adding salt because the amount of sodium in lemon juice concentrate is not enough to prevent dehydration or replenish electrolyte losses.

  • Does water have electrolytes?

    Regular tap water contains trace amounts of electrolytes. There are certain brands of water that add in electrolytes, but the amount is typically too low to replace what you lose when you sweat. If exercising for over an hour, we recommend opting for an electrolyte supplement that contains carbohydrates and sodium to aid in water retention and replenish losses.

  • Does coconut water have electrolytes?

    Coconut water is particularly high in potassium. It also contains smaller amounts of sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The sodium content is still quite low however, so if using coconut water to replenish fluid losses we recommend pairing it with sodium containing foods.

  • Does vitamin water have electrolytes?

    Vitamin water contains some electrolytes, including small amounts of calcium and potassium. However, vitamin water is typically low in sodium, the main electrolyte lost in sweat. If you are using vitamin water to hydrate post exercise, we recommend pairing it with carbohydrate and sodium containing foods.

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