If you’re feeling extremely weak, nauseous and sluggish, you may be down with something, like the flu or an infection. However, there’s also the chance that you’re just thirsty.
More than 75% of Americans suffer some form of dehydration resulting in fatigue, bowel problems, reduced immunity etc. Dehydration may also increase the risk of heatstrokes and hangovers. If you live in very hot places or engage in activities that cause you to sweat a lot, such as exercising and bodybuilding, you may be at increased risk of dehydration. Luckily, dehydration is easily solved by taking in enough water and electrolytes packed in dehydration supplements. Here, we look at what these supplements are and which you should have at the back of your mind to get.
When you lose water through excessive sweating, urinating, vomiting or diarrhea, you also lose important electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium. These electrolytes are electrically-charged minerals that carry energy in the body and maintain the proper functioning of organs. Therefore, a proper balance between water and the different electrolytes is necessary to maintain homeostasis, keeping the body hydrated and energized.
Dehydration may result from infections that cause stooling and vomiting, cancer treatment, burns, kidney problems etc. When you lose water, you either lose electrolytes, causing reduced amounts of these electrolytes in your body or maintain the same amount of electrolytes, causing an increased concentration of electrolytes. You may also be getting enough water but not enough electrolytes through your diet, or maybe exposed to medications or conditions that cause you to lose electrolytes. Either way, the outcome is that your electrolyte levels become imbalanced, which is pretty bad. Your electrolyte concentrations must be balanced and your water volume optimal to maintain optimal functioning within the body. Thus, the key is to drink adequate water and eat right to replenish lost water and electrolytes.
Individual water and electrolyte needs depend on many factors, including environment, diet, health status and activity level. A typical healthy adult should get about 2 liters of water per day while also getting the recommended daily intake for the different electrolytes through a balanced diet.
Unfortunately, many individuals fail to get the required amount of water or electrolytes daily. Dehydration is also very common in athletes/bodybuilders due to rapid water and electrolyte loss from high-intensity training. In addition, based on their health status, some individuals need extra electrolyte boosts. This electrolyte boost can be provided through hydration supplements in all of these individuals.
Hydration supplements are mostly powders, capsules or tablets that contain a mix of different electrolytes, including sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, potassium etc. These supplements replenish electrolyte stores in the body and restore hydration (thus their name). Hydration supplements work faster and more effectively than water alone in preventing dehydration and restoring homeostasis. These supplements also contain more electrolytes, fewer calories and less sugar than traditional sports drinks.
The following categories of people need hydration supplements
- High-endurance athletes, losing water excessively through sweating
- Persons on diuretics that cause water and electrolyte loss.
- Persons on cancer chemotherapy that causes loss of many electrolytes
- Persons on a keto diet. Keto dieting is associated with rapid sodium depletion resulting in “keto flu.”
Healthy individuals may also use hydration supplements as a taste quencher and homeostasis booster. In addition, they improve mental alertness, aid recovery from stress and help with faster muscle healing after workouts.
Hydration supplements/powders rapidly replace depleted electrolyte stores and restore homeostasis. These supplements are beneficial in every part of the body. Some of the benefits of hydration supplements in particular and electrolytes in general include;
- Promote quality sleep.
- Strengthen immunity
- Improve cognition
- Reduce anxiety
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Stabilize cortisol levels
- Improves digestion
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Relieves migraines and headaches
- Improves kidney health and prevents kidney stones
- Improve athletic performance
Getting adequate electrolytes and staying hydrated through supplements or proper dieting ensures that your entire body functions like a well-oiled machine.
There are many different brands of hydration supplements available, with each having numerous benefits. Here is a list of the best available hydration supplements based on quality and expert reviews.
Coconut water is a well-studied natural electrolyte, providing tons of potassium and small amounts of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus. Zico takes advantage of coconut’s natural property in this formula, in which the only ingredient is coconut.
This formula contains 70 calories and 13 grams of sugar, providing added energy source pre-workout. The flavor is that of natural coconut, and the major electrolyte it provides is potassium (490 milligrams)
This is a sugar and calorie-free hydration supplement perfect for after-workout recovery. In addition, this supplement uses plant-based ingredients, making it ideal for vegans.
The Key Nutrient formula contains potassium and magnesium and 12 additional vitamins and minerals. It has a lemonade flavor, so it’s not so great-tasting when warm. You could use this supplement to boost the recovery of sore muscles after workouts or before workouts to boost performance.
Cure Hydration Mix is made with organic coconut powder, pink Himalayan salt, and organic fruit flavors and sweetened with organic stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract. Thus, it boasts a great taste and efficient electrolyte replenishing capability.
However, this formula contains up to 4 grams of sugar and 25 calories, making it not ideal for weight-watchers. This formula comes in six flavors, including, Endless Summer (watermelon), Wild Thing (mixed berry), Main Squeeze (lemon), Ruby Riot (grapefruit), Golden Hour (turmeric), and Laser Focus (matcha vanilla). In addition, some flavors incorporate other ingredients (like caffeine in Laser Focus), helping to boost mental sharpness.
Pedialyte’s selling point is its relative affordability. It comes in flavorless and flavored variants, and each effectively replenishes electrolyte stores and gets you going through your workout.
However, Pedialyte contains 9 grams of sugar in the form of dextrose and 35 calories, making it unsuitable if you’re trying to cut your sugar intake. The formula mixes sodium, chloride, and potassium. It also contains zinc, which supports intestinal absorption and transport of water and electrolytes.
While most hydration supplements come as powders mixed with water, Huma Energy gel comes as a snackable gel. This formula is made with pureed fruit, coconut water, chia seeds, brown rice syrup, and sea salt. Thus, it contains 13 grams of sugar and 100 calories, making it unideal if you’re trying to cut down sugar intake.
Sodium, potassium and magnesium are the major electrolytes in this formula. It comes in various flavors, including Chocolate Raspberry and Strawberry Lemonade. This supplement is perfect pre and during workouts.
This electrolyte formula combines sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride to help replenish lost electrolytes during and after workouts. Added boron helps offset calcium loss through sweat, thus maintaining bone health. This formula is also vegan and has high scores for purity and quality.
Keto diets significantly deplete sodium and water, resulting in the keto flu. This formula provides electrolyte replacement without any added carbs or sugar, allowing you to maintain your keto routine.
This formula comes in capsules containing calcium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride. It also contains the amino acid L-leucine, which supports muscle recovery and development.
Nuun tablets are convenient and perfect for post-workout recovery. In addition, they are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and flavored with natural fruit extracts.
This formula contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, with 40 grams of caffeine boosting mental alertness and enhancing workout performance. It comes in 13 different flavors.
The Ultima Replenisher Powder contains all the six electrolytes required for homeostasis, i.e., sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and bicarbonate. In addition, this formula is gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and caffeine-free, making it suitable regardless of your dietary requirements. It includes organic stevia leaf as a sweetener and is flavored with organic fruit extracts.
Besides containing all six essential electrolytes, this formula contains more than the RDI of vitamin C. It comes in five flavors: raspberry, lemonade, grape, cherry pomegranate, and orange.
A combination of factors goes into rating electrolyte supplements and defining what a great supplement is. One of these factors is the number and types of electrolytes included. Sodium and potassium are the most important electrolytes. Therefore, any great supplement must contain both of these in proportion. However, chloride, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate are also very important, and the more electrolytes you have, the better the formula. However, your underlying health conditions and overall health state would determine what supplements you actually need. Always make it a duty to speak to your doctor about your electrolyte needs.
The presence of sugar and additives also determines how good a supplement is. Added sugar provides an additional energy source to burn during workouts. However, too much sugar may be detrimental to your diet plan. Additives like caffeine also enhance workout performance but may have harmful side effects. Supplements also have to come in enjoyable flavors. Even adults have a desire for good-tasting things.
Supplements that use organic sweeteners and flavors and include extra vitamins like vitamin C provide added benefits and are highly rated.
As already noted, water and electrolytes play vital roles in maintaining several vital functions in the body. Every cell in the body is bathed in a water environment. The body is 70% water, and electrolytes are needed to keep this water balance.
The electrolytes themselves are important in transmitting nerve signals, muscle contraction, heart functioning, kidney functioning etc. Without these activities running optimally, exercise performance will be diminished. For example, if the sodium/potassium/calcium balance is not maintained, the risk of cardiac infarctions increases, especially during strenuous activity. Therefore, hydration supplements that keep all electrolytes functioning optimally allow you to do your workouts without fear and more efficiently.
Losing water and electrolytes during workouts results in fatigue, significantly affecting concentration. Replenishing these lost stores during workouts helps you stay alert and continue your workouts for longer, achieving optimal results. Simply put, it is impossible to have an efficient workout without proper hydration. Hydration supplements thus provide said hydration.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder, endurance trainer or just a regular person, your body needs electrolytes and water to function optimally. Hydration supplements help the body replace lost electrolytes and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Here, we have ranked some of the best hydration supplements. Regardless, ensure you speak with your doctor before commencing any supplements to avoid worsening health conditions and get optimal benefits.