Electrolyte Supplements: Helpful or Not

We want to preface this article by saying that everyone NEEDS electrolytes. Many people believe that electrolyte supplements are only for athletes or those that are physically active. They are necessary for EVERYONE, as they aid in nutrient absorption as well as creating an internal balance, so the body’s cells function properly.

With those simple statements, you might be asking yourself why we titled this article “electrolyte supplements: helpful or not?” There is one reason, in particular, and that’s the quality of electrolyte supplements on the market today! Have you ever looked at how much sugar is in some of the well-known sports drinks out there? Often, people associate sports drinks with electrolytes, as they are believed to replenish what is lost during physical activity. Many of these sports drinks have a lot of sugar, and therefore, do not provide benefits to the body. Did you know that added sugar feeds bad bacteria in your gut, while artificial sweeteners and colors destroy the good bacteria in your gut? These are some of the reasons why you should be aware of what is marketed regarding electrolyte replenishment. As shown below, throughout this article we will explore and compare a few electrolyte supplements: helpful or not?

product

sugar

vit. c

Magnesium

calcium

potassium

sodium

Ultima Replenisher

0 g

100 mg

100 mg

65 mg

250 mg

55 mg

Emergen-C

7 g

1000 mg

60 mg

50 mg

200 mg

65 mg

Natural Vitality Calm

0 g

None

325 mg

None

None

None

Top Notch Hydrate

0 g

250 mg

50 mg

280 mg

390 mg

350 mg

We mentioned that everyone, no matter their age, needs electrolytes. You might be wondering what electrolytes are and why you might want to supplement them. Let’s take a closer look at them before we move on to evaluating some electrolyte supplements on the market today. The word electrolyte is derived from Greek word lytós, meaning “able to be untied or loosened.” Electrolytes dissolve (or become loosened/untied) in the fluid in your body and take on a positive or negative charge. Essentially, they are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They can then move electrical charges or signals throughout the body as they conduct electricity. They are in most of your body fluids including blood, urine and tissues. They are important because they help balance the amount of water in your body as well as the acidity (pH level) in your body. Electrolytes are responsible for balancing the levels of fluid between the cells and the rest of your body. They also play a role in muscle contractions (including heartbeat!), transmitting signals between cells, blood clotting and tissue building. You can see why they are so important! We will look at the main electrolytes and how they work in your body next.

electrolytes

The six main electrolytes are: sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium. Each electrolyte has primary functions within your body:

  • Sodium: aids in controlling fluids in the body, impacts blood pressure; essential to muscle and nerve function
  • Potassium: heart and blood pressure regulation; aids in balancing electrolytes; helps transmit nerve impulses; contributes to bone health; necessary for muscle contraction
  • Chloride: helps balance electrolytes; creates balance in acidity and alkalinity which assists in maintaining a healthy pH; essential to digestion
  • Calcium: key component of bones and teeth; necessary for the movement of nerve impulses and muscle movement; blood clotting contributor
  • Magnesium: essential to the production of DNA and RNA; contributes to nerve and muscle function; assists in maintaining heart rhythm; helps regulate blood glucose levels; enhances immune system function
  • Phosphate: strengthens bones and teeth; essential for cells to produce the energy that is needed for tissue growth and repair

It is clear by looking at this information that it is necessary to keep up with your electrolyte intake. Imbalances are often caused by situations within the body that induce loss of fluids. In the case of illness, vomiting and diarrhea or fever can cause fluid loss. Sweating usually happens with physical activity or exposure to intense heat. More severe causes include medications or chronic respiratory issues. Not eating or drinking enough can also cause an imbalance. What happens in the body when an imbalance occurs? There are many symptoms but some of the most common are: headaches, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, problems with blood pressure, and more.

What can you do to ensure you maintain balance in your body? Make sure that you are consuming electrolytes to replace ones that are lost. Electrolytes are usually not easily found in your diet. Sodium (salt) is the exception as most people do get enough of this, but it is also very easily lost, as mentioned above. This is why it is imperative to find a high quality, clean (free of artificial ingredients), electrolyte supplement. In our comparison of electrolyte supplements: helpful or not, we looked for not only the main electrolytes, but also sugar content and vitamin C. If you are considering an electrolyte supplement, it is beneficial to find one that supports your whole body and well-being!

One thing to be careful of with electrolyte supplements is the amount of sugar and artificial ingredients they can contain. Sports drinks (which many people often think of as electrolyte supplements) often contain artificial ingredients including: sucralose, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, the dyes including: yellow number 5 and blue number 1, as well as a wide array of artificial flavors. We mentioned this subject in our introduction and we will continue to explore this as we compare electrolyte supplements.

electrolyte supplements

Top Notch Nutrition: HydratE

product

sugar

vit. c

Magnesium

calcium

potassium

sodium

Top Notch Hydrate

0 g

250 mg

50 mg

280 mg

390 mg

350 mg

Hydrate is an essential supplement for people of all ages. It is a custom formulation inspired by professional athletes, but designed for the average everyday person. Hydrate was custom formulated for everyone to have success. Yes, it has all your essential electrolytes, but it is so much more than that. It promotes gut health, protects your organs, promotes muscle preservation and recovery, helps your body better absorb needed nutrients and boosts your immune system! Like we said this is not your typical hydration supplement.This product goes above and beyond when it comes to supporting your entire body.

We mentioned that this is a great product for all ages, and this includes your kids! It is very common for kids to regularly consume sport drinks. They will often have them after school for practice, during games or even just playing with friends. Many sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and have artificial ingredients (usually in the form of dye to give it fancy coloring). Think of your kids having that much sugar late in the day, or even before a big game. There WILL be a sugar crash and it could come at the worst time. Their performance is much better off without added sugar. Hydrate is great option for not only their performance and recovery but the entire well-being of their little bodies! It does not contain any sugar or artificial ingredients. If your kids are using sports drinks with artificial sweeteners or loads of sugar (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade) it is killing their performance. Many sport drinks on the market are, for the most part, just sugar drinks.

TOP NOTCH NUTRITION'S hydrate fruit punch

Benefits of Hydrate include: ensuring proper hydration, increasing athletic performance, helping with recovery after exercise, promoting lean muscle growth and preservation, supporting immune system, promoting gut health, helping to protect organs, healthy complexion, joint support. Hydrate will not break your fast either, as it contains less than 5 calories per serving, so it is a great choice for those that intermittently fast. What a fabulous way to stay hydrated while fasting! It is easy to make, just add one scoop to 16 to 20 ounces of cold water and stir or shake. It’s that easy! You will find your body will be properly hydrated within 10 to 15 minutes of consuming. You can use Hydrate first thing in the morning to start your day properly hydrated, during your workout for muscle preservation and hydration, post workout for muscle recover and immune boosting, or anytime you need a deliciously hydrating treat.

Hydrate is dairy free, gluten free and keto friendly. In Hydrate you will not find any artificial flavors or sweeteners. It is sweetened with 100 percent natural stevia leaf which means it contains ZERO SUGAR. You can see from the table above that Hydrate contains these electrolytes: magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium! This really is a “top notch” product with the perfect combination of ingredients that will not only help with hydration but also provide countless benefits to your entire body including:

  • Coconut powder – a good source of many nutrients including: fiber, protein, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • Himalayan pink salt – highest quality sodium source, it is harvested by hand and therefore can contain trace elements and minerals not found in regular table salt.
  • L-Glutamine – an amino acid that has many imperative functions in the body. Hydrate contains 1000mg of Glutamine per serving. L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid present in your system. It makes up between 30-35% of the amino acid nitrogen you find in your bloodstream. L-Glutamine helps to heal leaky gut, improves brain health, helps promote lean muscle growth, decreases recover times, improves immune system, can help reduce inflammation, promotes hearth health & can even reduce stress.
  • BCAAs – branch chain amino acids are the building blocks for protein synthesis and muscle recovery. You will find 5,000 mg of BCAAs in Hydrate. BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAA supplements are commonly taken in order to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. They may also help with weight loss and reduce fatigue after exercise.
  • Vitamin C – cannot be produced in the body and therefore needs to be consumed in your diet whether it is through your food or a dietary supplement. The vitamin C is sourced from organic oranges.
  • Essential electrolytes – magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.

Hydrate replenishes, recovers, and restores. When you think of Top Notch Nutrition, think of nutrition on a mission. Every product, including Hydrate, is designed and manufactured with high quality, clean ingredients. You will never find genetically modified ingredients in any of the products. There is no compromise on making the best, most effective products possible. If you’re looking for a great electrolyte supplement that promotes overall body health, we think you might like to give Hydrate a try. You can find the amazing fruit punch flavor, here!

Natural Vitality Calm

product

sugar

vit. c

Magnesium

calcium

potassium

sodium

Natural Vitality Calm

0 g

None

325 mg

None

None

None

Natural Vitality Calm is an excellent source of the electrolyte magnesium! What does Natural Calm do? It promotes healthy magnesium levels and balances calcium intake. According to their website, it will help you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Balance equals good health, and a balance of magnesium and calcium is a must. Calcium helps muscles contract and magnesium helps them relax. The body can create this balance as long as it has both of these nutrients available. Natural Vitality estimates that up to 80 percent of people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. With that being said, it is also estimated that many people consume too much calcium. Too much calcium on top of a stress filled life can deplete magnesium even further. They have summed up how Natural Calm eases stress with the following information from their website:

“When we are under stress, our cells—which in their resting state contain magnesium—go through a change. Calcium, normally outside the cells, enters the cells to create an action state. Nerve cells become excited and muscles tense. When the stress has passed, magnesium then pushes the calcium back out of the cells, and everything relaxes. However, when there’s not enough magnesium, calcium remains in the cells, prolonging stress and creating magnesium-deficiency symptoms. You experience this as feeling stressed. Cellular magnesium deficiency can also express itself as fatigue and low energy; inability to sleep; muscle tension, spasms and cramps; anxiousness and nervousness; headaches; constipation and abnormal heart rhythms. Natural Calm, sourced from the ocean’s rich mineral content, delivers magnesium in a highly absorbable and quick-acting form. Its effectiveness—The CALM Experience—has made Natural Calm the leading magnesium supplement in the natural market.”

We have already mentioned why electrolyte supplements are so important but for many getting adequate magnesium is a struggle. Most people think they are getting enough from their food, but soil depletion has lowered the mineral content in our fresh produce. For some people, they may be taking a magnesium supplement that is not bioavailable and cannot be absorbed by the body. Lastly, many of us just don’t know exactly how much magnesium we are getting on a regular basis and often fall short. Natural Calm is water-soluble magnesium in ionic form and therefore highly absorbable, so the magnesium is available to your body quickly. It is vegan, gluten free, and made without any genetically modified ingredients. The flavored kinds include raspberry-lemon, cherry, orange and lemon and they are made with organic stevia.

natural vitality calm
raspberry-lemon flavor

There are other various products in the Natural Vitality line such as Natural Calm PLUS Calcium. According to Natural Vitality, “You experience the tensing (calcium) and relaxing (magnesium) interaction of these two elements each time your heart beats, when you feel your pulse, and every time you breathe.” To perfectly balance magnesium and calcium in your body Natural Calm PLUS Calcium was designed to help your body function optimally. Another product they offer is Calm Specifics Kids which is designed with kids in mind. It includes not only magnesium and calcium but also their “specially formulated with Suntheanine, a patented, premium form of the relaxing amino acid L-theanine plus choline to help support brain development.”

One thing to remember when it comes to the Natural Vitality Calm product, is that while it is a high quality source of magnesium, it does not provide the body with any other electrolytes (unless you get the PLUS Calcium variety). Our bodies do need a balance of these main electrolytes in order to function optimally. In comparison, you will not find quite as many advantages as some of the other products discussed in this article. Natural Vitality Calm does not include any vitamin C, which we found in other supplements. If you are simply looking for a magnesium supplement, then Natural Vitality Calm is an excellent source and you might want to give it a try!

Emergen-C

product

sugar

vit. c

Magnesium

calcium

potassium

sodium

Emergen-C

7 g

1000 mg

60 mg

50 mg

200 mg

65 mg

We mentioned that Emergen-C also contains B vitamins. In comparison, the other products reviewed in this article do not contain B vitamins. Emergen-C has included the following: vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Most of these vitamins play some role in your overall energy levels. This includes things such as boosting metabolism, breaking down carbohydrates for energy, producing energy, as well as energy and amino acids for the blood. Our bodies cannot store B vitamins because they are water soluble, so we need to consume them either through our diet or supplementation. Mood and cognitive function are often impacted by B vitamins so making sure you have enough of them in your diet can be incredibly beneficial.Most of us probably don’t think of Emergen-C as an electrolyte supplement. We would venture to guess that most people take Emergen-C, when it’s exactly that, an “emergency” with their health as in “I can’t get sick now.” For most of us, this product comes to mind when we start to feel ill with a cough, cold, sore throat, etc. According to their website Emergen-C is “packed with vitamin C plus other key antioxidants to support your immune system along with B Vitamins to enhance energy naturally.” Given its high vitamin C content, it is most often thought of when in need of an immune booster! It does contain some level of all the electrolytes that we’ve mentioned. This is definitely a benefit especially if you are taking it when sick. Remember that illnesses can cause an imbalance in the fluid in the body so boosting vitamin C and replenishing electrolytes is a win-win! It is important to note that each serving of Emergen-C contains 1,000 milligrams and they suggest a maximum of 2,000 milligrams per day.

One concern with Emergen-C is that it contains sugar. The first ingredient listed is fructose, which is a sugar that is most commonly found in honey and fruit. It also contains corn sugar solids which come from glucose. This syrup is then dehydrated to only contain 10% water. Of all the products that we compared, Emergen-C is the only one that has sugar in it. The daily intake suggested by The American Heart Association (AHA) is 6 teaspoons (equivalent to 25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (equivalent to 38 grams) for men. Just one serving of Emergen-C contains 7 grams! Recall that we mentioned the fact that added sugar feeds bad bacteria in your gut. Good bacteria protect your gut against infection, regulate the immune system and produce vitamins and nutrients!

When the bad bacteria grow due to the presence of added sugar, the balance of good versus bad is lost. When there are fewer good bacteria than bad, dysbiosis can occur. This condition is connected to many problems with gut health. The bacteria in your gut are connected to your overall wellbeing in so many ways and you can learn more about gut health, here. For now, just remember that it is incredibly important to be conscious of balancing good and bad bacteria in your gut to help your body function at its best.

emergen-c vitamin c

There are other various products in the Emergen-C line such as Immune+(enhanced immune support formula) which contains their proprietary complex with Wellmune WGP and beta-glucans and arabinogalactans. Another example is Emergen-C Kidz which is specially formulated for kids.  If you’d like to give Emergen-C a try you can find it here, just remember that while this is a good source of electrolytes and vitamin C, it does contain added sugar.

Ultima Replenisher

product

sugar

vit. c

Magnesium

calcium

potassium

sodium

Ultima Replenisher

0 g

100 mg

100 mg

65 mg

250 mg

55 mg

Ultima Replenisher is a good choice for an electrolyte supplement. They have a mission to be the “best and most effective hydration drink in the world.” Their current formulation is designed for the whole family (ages 4+). They also have a toddler variation that is designed for kids under the age of four. According to their websiteUltima Replenisher will not only replace electrolytes but also hydrate your body. It is made with all six balanced electrolytes in addition to support minerals. The electrolytes include: magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride and phosphorous. The company states that “it would be pretty much impossible to achieve peak performance without electrolytes. In addition to their individual roles, they often work in harmony with vitamins and other minerals in the body to keep you feeling good and performing at your best.” From the information that we have shared throughout this article on the importance of electrolytes, you can tell that we agree with how necessary they are!

You will find that Ultima Replenisher contains real fruit flavors, plant-based colors, and is sweetened naturally with organic stevia leaf extract. Which means that there is no sugar in any of their products. In the most current formula, they removed maltodextrin and therefore it does not contain any carbohydrates or calories either. The new formula also mixes into 16 ounces of water instead of just 8!  Ultima Replenisher does not contain any dyes or genetically modified ingredients. It is also gluten free and vegan as it is made with plant-based ingredients. This product is also keto friendly, paleo friendly, soy free, peanut free and caffeine free. As a no carbohydrate supplement their website states the following:

Ultima Replenisher is an advanced, balanced electrolyte drink. Optimal hydration requires a good balance of the macro and micro-essential electrolytes in the human body. Ultima provides these essential electrolytes roughly in proportion to what is lost in human perspiration. When carbohydrates are added to your hydration product, absorption is slowed by a long digestion process. According to recent research, by eliminating carbs the absorption of electrolytes is quicker and more effective.”

Also, “Ultima Replenisher is a wonderful alternative to soda and sugary sports drinks for kids of all ages, adults, hikers and skiers, pilots and passengers, road warriors and road trippers, conductors and long-haul truckers, travelers and those bed-ridden, dieters and diabetics, seniors and teenagers, pregnant women (before, during and after labor) celiacs, POTS, those with Crohn’s or colitis or most any other G.I. issue, vegetarians and vegans, plus people with colds, diarrhea, the flu… whew!”

Ultima Replenisher contains a higher potassium level because your cells release sodium and take in sodium to maintain the balance of water. Important water soluble nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants come into the cells with water. When water moves into the cells, it also brings in potassium. This process helps keep the cells hydrated. With that in mind, sodium is necessary for the body but too much can counteract with potassium and prevent water absorption. Ultima believes that most people consume enough sodium in their diet and therefore their supplements contain a lower level of sodium.

ultima replenisher
electrolyte supplement

Ultima Replenisher has a single serve packet option as well as the canister with scoop. It comes in a variety of flavors including: grape, pink lemonade, cherry pomegranate, orange, raspberry and lemonade. The “Toddler Formula” is berry punch flavored. There are not very many differences in ingredients across the all ages varieties except for the flavors used, which are all natural. The ingredients used for color are also completely natural as they come from plants such as beta-carotene and beet juice. The main difference found in the Toddler Formula is that it has lower levels of many of the ingredients. The amount of vitamin C, magnesium, calcium is about half of what is found in the regular version and potassium is about two thirds. The toddler version also contains all natural, no added sugar, clean ingredients.

The company states, “we believe too many drinks are loaded with sugar, too much salt and/or an array of artificial colors, dyes and preservatives. Ultima’s combination of balanced electrolytes allows for rapid re-hydration without blood sugar spikes or stomach upset so you can feel and perform your best.” If you’re looking for a great electrolyte supplement that is natural with no added sugar, we think you might like to give Ultima Replenisher a try. You can find the raspberry flavor here!

IN CONLUSION

In summary, electrolytes are incredibly important to the processes in your body. Recall that everyone, people of all ages, NEEDS electrolytes. Not only because they aid in nutrient absorption but also because of the internal balance they create that allows the body’s cells function properly. With those simple statements, we give you the answer to the question “electrolyte supplements: helpful or not?” Remember the importance of evaluating the quality of electrolyte supplements you are considering. Be aware of added sugar, as you can see there are many sugar free options. We recommend that you are mindful of artificial ingredients including dyes and sweeteners.

If you are ready to add any of the electrolyte supplements that we discussed here to your routine, you can find them here:

  • Hydrate – definitely tops the list for electrolyte supplements, includes ingredients that promote overall wellbeing and better health!
  • Ultima Replenisher – a great choice for electrolyte supplement!
  • Natural Vitality Calm – remember that this is strictly a magnesium supplement but does offer many benefits of the B vitamins.
  • Emergen-C – remember that while this is a good source of electrolytes and vitamin C, it does contain added sugar.
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2019-05-14T03:32:27-04:00