The Best Electrolytes for Runners—Top Picks From a Nutritionist

Keep hydrated for better runs

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Electrolytes are minerals found in the blood that help regulate the balance of fluid in the body. These minerals—mainly calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium—play a critical role in blood pressure, muscle contraction, and hormone regulation, among many other vital processes. Electrolytes are primarily lost through sweat.

The amount of sweat and electrolyte loss during exercise is highly individualized and varies depending on physical and environmental factors. In general, workouts under 30 minutes do not warrant the use of an electrolyte supplement. However, replenishing electrolytes during endurance training is crucial for optimal performance. The amount of electrolyte that is needed will differ between runners. 

Here, the best electrolytes for runners:

Best Overall: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher

 Courtesy of Amazon

Ultimate Replenisher provides six necessary electrolytes: sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous, all with zero added sugars. A solid option for any type of diet (paleo, vegan, keto), this supplement is also free of major allergens such as soy, peanuts, gluten, and dairy.

Ultimate Replenisher contains more potassium than sodium, which is great news given that the average American diet is too high in sodium. In fact, the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, which is way more than the recommended upper limit of 2,300 milligrams per day.

Potassium plays a part in how nerves transmit and muscles contract. It helps regulate water balance in the body. You lose potassium when you sweat, so it's important to replenish your body's stores of it.

Best Drink: Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

Harmless Harvest

 Courtesy of Amazon

Why opt for a powder or tablet when nature provides a simple electrolyte replenishing solution. Enter, coconut water. Coconut water is known for its hydrating capabilities because it's a natural source of potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorous.

We love that Harmless Harvest uses organic, fair trade coconuts, so you can feel good about drinking their products. And that pink color? It's a natural process that happens when the antioxidants found in coconut water interact with light and air. The coconut water also contains about one servings worth of carbohydrates from naturally occurring sugar, making it a nice source of quick fuel for long-distance runs.

Best Gel: Muir Energy Real Food Energy Gel Variety Pack

Muir Energy Real Food Energy Gel Variety Pack

Courtesy of Amazon

Muir Energy was founded by an ultra-distance hiker who was tired of the traditional endurance products out there. Forget gels that are loaded with added sugars or artificial sweeteners and colors. Muir’s Real Food Energy Packs contain five to six real food ingredients.

Runners can choose between slow-burning packs, which the manufacturer says are ideal for quick energy and higher-intensity workouts, or fast-burning packs, which the manufacturer recommends for lower-intensity exercises, like longer jogs. You can choose between the two depending on your goals and needs, or opt for a variety pack with both.

These packs do more than just replenish electrolytes, they also provide energy in the form of nut butter (slow-burning energy) or fruit and coconut nectar (fast-burning energy). Each ingredient used in all of Muir’s products is carefully curated to provide high nutrient density with low gastrointestinal impact—a necessary need for endurance runners.

Best Organic: GOODONYA Hydrate Organic Electrolyte + Mineral Powder Lemon

GOODONYA Hydrate Organic Electrolyte + Mineral Powder Lemon

Courtesy of Amazon

Organic hydration-supporting products are hard to find. GOODONYA started as a California eatery focused on organic, whole ingredients founded by an Olympic athlete. This quality-focused brand now sells an electrolyte replenisher called HYDRATE.

HYDRATE is made of six organic, whole food ingredients that all have a purpose. Organic coconut water acts as the hydrator, while Aquamin, a product made from a specific type of red algae, is the source of replenishing minerals—mainly calcium, magnesium, and 74 other trace minerals, including zinc, iron, and selenium. This product contains 1 gram of sugar from organic lemon juice and is sweetened naturally with organic stevia.

Best Powder: Thorne Research Catalyte Lemon Lime Flavored

Thorne Research Catalyte Lemon Lime Flavored

Courtesy of Amazon

Thorne’s Catalyte powder is designed to support endurance and sports. In addition to important minerals, Catalyte also provides a blend of B Vitamins, nutrients that are essential to fuel the metabolic processes that make endurance sports possible.

This product is NSF-certified for sports. Every batch of an NSF-Certified for Sports product is tested for compliance with label claims and to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations. These include stimulants, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, beta-2 agonists, and masking agents.

Best Tablet: Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Courtesy of Amazon

Looking for a quick and easy electrolyte replenisher that you can keep in your gym bag or running shorts pocket? Look no further than Nuun’s sports tablets. One quick and easy tablet provides the sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium needed for adequate hydration and balance. Nuun’s tablets are certified non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free.

This product is also Informed Sport-certified, meaning it has gone through a certification program for sports supplements which assures athletes that products have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited in sports competitions. In addition, an Informed Sport certification ensures that products have been manufactured upholding high-quality standards.

Best Gluten-Free: Nuun Endurance Performance Hydration Drink

Nuun Endurance Performance Hydration Drink

Courtesy of Amazon

Similar to Nuun’s Sport tablets, this drink mix by Nuun contains essential electrolytes, plus one serving of fast-burning carbohydrates from cane sugar.

Designed for 90 minutes or more of sweat-producing activity, the Nuun Endurance line packs a bit more of an electrolyte punch than their Sport line and provides energy with a low gastrointestinal impact. Certified gluten-free and non-GMO, this hydration mix is also Informed Sport certified.

Best for Diabetes: Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator

Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator

Courtesy of Amazon

One scoop of Vega Sport’s Hydrator provides electrolytes, 100-percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, and zero grams of sugar—great news for diabetic athletes.

This certified vegan product contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners, is certified non-GMO, and NSF-certified for sport. Simply mix one scoop with a 16-ounce glass of water for a hydrating boost that's carbohydrate-free.

Best Keto: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher

 Courtesy of Amazon

The Ketogenic diet is all about keeping total carbohydrate intake as low as possible. Many electrolyte supplements contain added sugars in the form of fast-burning carbohydrates for taste or to produce a quick source of energy, which is bad news for keto athletes.

Ultima Replenisher contains no sugar and zero grams of carbohydrates, keeping you replenished and hydrated without derailing your diet. Consumers can choose from eight different flavors, all naturally sweetened with organic stevia leaf. The stick packs make hydrating on the go super convenient, and keto followers do not have to worry about tracking extra grams of carbohydrates.

Best Budget: Pedialyte Electrolyte Powder Strawberry Lemonade

Pedialyte Electrolyte Powder Strawberry Lemonade

Courtesy of Amazon

Electrolyte supplements can range in price and, with so many products all featuring similar ingredients, it can be challenging to know where to get the biggest bang for your buck. Pedialyte has been a go-to product for over 50 years and is trusted by pharmacists and physicians.

These powder packs make hydrating convenient and affordable. Compared to other leading brands, one stick packs a potent punch of potassium, sodium, and chloride, as well as quick-burning sugar—great news for endurance athletes requiring hydration and fuel.

Final Verdict

For a great-tasting electrolyte supplement to take with you on the run, try Ultima (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in an Electrolyte Supplement for Runners

Key Nutrients:

At a minimum, products should contain the following electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium.

Ingredients to Avoid:

Avoid electrolytes containing common allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy, artificial colors and sweeteners.

Extra Ingredients:

Be aware of extra ingredients—products may contain added vitamin C or caffeine, which can offer an extra energy boost.

Electrolyte Form:

Electrolytes come in various forms, so pick the one that suits your needs the best. Tablets and single-use packets of easy-to-mix powders may be the simplest to use during long workouts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are electrolyte supplements necessary for runners?

    Electrolyte supplements are not necessary for most leisurely runs in mild temperatures, at sea level, in moderate humidity, under one hour. If you are running in hot temperatures (or are heavily-layered in cold temperatures), you're running for more than one hour, or you tend to sweat heavily, you may want to use an electrolyte supplement, or at least a beverage with sodium, before and during your run. Running in high levels of humidity or at high altitudes may also necessitate an electrolyte supplement.

  • Is it possible to take too many electrolytes?

    Yes, it is possible to take too many electrolytes, which can be dangerous, especially for people who are sensitive to sodium, potassium, and calcium. Always stick with the dosing recommendations on the packaging, and ensure that you're consuming enough water with the product. Use electrolyte supplements only as recommended during longer runs or activity.

What Experts Say

"Always test out the electrolyte supplement you intend to use for a marathon or half marathon during training. Using the supplement on a few longer runs can help you to discover if the supplement works for you and what the best hydration strategy is."—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a masters-level Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene works with athletes of all different levels. For many, a nutrient-dense diet paired with optimized hydration is enough to keep them healthy and happy during training sessions. For those clients with more intense training regimens—such as marathons, triathlons, and ironmans—electrolyte supplementation may be necessary.

Sydney works with individuals to find the supplement that not only fuels them properly but is also well tolerated. The products included above have been vetted based on manufacturing practices, ingredients, transparency, and user reviews. Sydney has recommended some of the above products to her clients and has used some of them personally as well. 

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

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2 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.
  1. Orrù S, Imperlini E, Nigro E, et al. Role of Functional Beverages on Sport Performance and RecoveryNutrients. 2018;10(10):1470. doi:10.3390/nu10101470

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get the facts: Sodium and the dietary guidelines.