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Electrolytes and hydration

Electrolytes. Need them or good marketing?

Electrolytes. The essential guide

Electrolytes are a new and growing hot topic, especially in the health and fitness space.

What are electrolytes? Why are they important? Which is the best electrolyte for you?

Read more on when and why we need them, what to look for, and their benefits.

What are they?

Simple: Electrolytes affect how your body functions. They don't make it run, but they make it run smoothly. So yes, you need them.

Complex: Electrolytes are minerals in the body that carry a natural positive or negative charge when dissolved in water. They are in your blood, urine, tissue, and other body fluids.

Common electrolytes include:

  1. Sodium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium
  4. Bicarbonate
  5. Magnesium
  6. Chloride
  7. Phosphate.

Electrolyte ingredients

And you need them for?

They help the body regulate chemical reactions and maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells. They also support the diagnosis of a range of medical conditions and diseases.

In addition, helps regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. Electrolytes are crucial for a number of bodily functions.

How have I survived without knowing this?

Because we get electrolytes from the food we eat. Well, some of it.

If you exercise or sweat profusely, or both you may need an electrolyte supplement.

On average, you've probably survived this long so you should survive, but you may not be operating or recovering optimally, which is why electrolytes are particularly important for athletes for the following reasons:

  1. Muscle function: Potassium and calcium play a critical role in muscle contraction and relaxation. 

  2. Hydration: Regulates fluid balances. During intense exercise or sweating, your body loses electrolytes through sweat, particularly sodium and potassium, which need to be replenished.

  3. Nerve function: Sodium and calcium are essential for nerve signal transmission. Proper functioning of the nervous system is crucial for coordination and movement.

  4. pH balance: Helps maintain the body's acid-base balance, which is important for normal cellular activities.

When should I use?

  1. During prolonged exercise: e.g. marathons, cycling, or long-distance events like an Ironman triathlon.

  2. Heat: High temperatures increase sweat production, leading to higher electrolyte loss.

  3. Exercise recovery: Replenish electrolyte levels.

  4. Illnesses: anything that causes vomiting or diarrhoea, can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

What about hangovers? Asking for a friend...

The big question on everybody's mind.

Because they replenish the minerals you need to retain fluids and get rid of toxins it would make sense, right? The short answer is probably yes.

Electrolytes don't however prevent hangovers, but can reduce the symptoms if taken at the right time, which is?

  • Between alcoholic beverages
  • Right after drinking before bed.

They even did some research on this, but outcomes were mixed, but then again it was a small study.

The key thing is the practicality of drinking them between drinks. Unlikely. Remembering to actually drink your electrolytes before bed, after the last tequila and kebab. Maybe?

Are they good for us?

In the right context, electrolyte supplementation can be highly beneficial. However, it’s important to consume them in moderation.

Overconsumption, particularly of sodium, can lead to negative health effects like hypernatremia. (This is a rise in sodium levels or electrolytes relative to total body water. This can cause death).

Benefits of electrolytes

  1. Enhanced athletic performance: Adequate electrolyte levels can help maintain endurance and strength.

  2. Prevention of muscle cramps

  3. Improved recovery: Aid in the post-exercise recovery process, helping to repair muscles and restore hydration.

Best electrolytes out there

Before buying an electrolyte consider the following:

  • Ingredients. Look for the essentials like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Check for added sugars, carbs, and any other nasties.
  • Balanced ratio of electrolytes
  • Form and use. They come in powders, tablets, effervescent tablets, and drinks. Which of these options best serves your needs? For example, sports people might like a powder to add to their water bottle, with carbs and magnesium for energy and muscle when they exercise.
  • Taste. Like it and you are more likely to use it.

Side-by-side comparison

 Brand LVLUP Hydralyte LMNT Tailwind Nutrition
Targeting in our view Everyone Health Athletes Athletes
Citric acid 178 mg 672 mg Yes Unsure
Glucose Monohydrate 591 mg 1620 mg Unsure Unsure
Potassium 32 mg 78 mg 200 mg 88 mg
Magnesium Unsure Unsure 60 mg 14 mg
Sodium 107 mg 88 mg 1000 mg 303 mg
Calcium No No No 26 mg
Carbs Unsure Unsure 2 g 26 g
AUST L Registration Yes Yes No No
Cost $24.99 $21.49 $39.00 $87
Serves 30 60 30 50
Cost per serve $0.83 $0.36 $1.30 $1.74


OK, a couple of things: If the product was TGA registered and has an AUST L number, there was more detail available on the TGA website. If not, the data was taken from nutrition tables required, and may not include all data. Sales prices and specials were ignored. Prices from their website or main sales channel. Amounts may differ slightly by SKU or flavour. We rounded the amounts up or down depending on the fraction. The above is for informational purposes only. 

We are not going to give an opinion on which is best as it depends.

But if you are using electrolytes for training as an athlete, the carbs may be important, as with having magnesium. Sugar is also generally cheaper than say a Stevia if you want a sugar free option.   

There are many options in the market, do a little research on what you need.

What next?

Electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining peak physical performance and overall health, especially for athletes who engage in rigorous physical activities.

The key is understanding when and how to use them effectively.

Whether you're a professional athlete, or a weekend warrior, incorporating the right electrolyte supplement into your regimen can make a difference.

Remember, however, that natural food sources of electrolytes, like bananas (potassium), dairy products (calcium), and leafy greens (magnesium), are also crucial and should be part of a balanced diet.

As always, moderation is key, and understanding your own body's needs is paramount. So, the next time you gear up for your workout, consider how electrolytes can fit into your overall health and performance strategy.

Yes, I use them when I work out, generally long runs and long cycles. 

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