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Which Electrolyte Hydration Powder is Best?

What’s inside a hydration powder?

Hydration powders are drink mixes that contain salts, glucose, and electrolytes. This combination enables your body to deliver hydration to your bloodstream more efficiently and quickly than drinking water or sports drinks.

A growing number of brands are making hydration powders—notably Liquid I.V., as well as our brand, Hydrant.  

 

 

How do hydration powders work?

osmosis

Most of these drink mixes are based on the science behind oral rehydration solutions (ORS)—a lifesaving tool used by the World Health Organization. [1]

Just like hydration powders, an ORS is a blend of sugar and electrolytes. When this specific ratio of sodium, glucose, and potassium are mixed with water, it speeds up the rate of osmosis within the body. 

The transfer of water and electrolytes from the stomach into the body is called cellular transport by some. (Here’s a video explaining cellular transport.

However you want to label it, the result is the same: The combination allows water to move from your stomach into your bloodstream more quickly. This means you feel the positive effects of hydration (decreased thirst, increased alertness, greater satiety, etc.) faster. 

 

 

Why and when should I use a hydration powder?

Research indicates that many people experience chronic dehydration every day, whether they are aware of it or not. Signs of mild chronic dehydration include:

  • foggy thinking
  • moodiness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • overheating
  • dizziness
  • thirst or dry mouth
  • dry skin, eyes, or lips
  • changes in urination frequency 

A hydration powder helps resolve these symptoms more quickly by doubling or tripling the rate at which your body can put the water you consume to use. Some also contain B vitamins, like B3 and B6, which provide additional health benefits.  And where sports drinks are laden with excess calories, hydration powders contain significantly fewer calories per serving (see chart below). 

The right time to use a hydration powder depends on your personal preferences. Good options include: 

    • First thing in the morning, to get your hydration on track
    • Before, during or after a workout
    • During travel (airplanes are very dehydrating) 
    • When ill (illnesses and fever drain your body of fluids and electrolytes) 
    • Whenever you’re thirsty 

     

     

    Are hydration powders safe?—What about side effects?

    Proper hydration can be helpful for smoother skin, better strength and performance, increased focus and attention, faster workout recovery, increased energy, and reduced stress and anxiety.

    To date, there has been no research indicating any safety or health issues related to hydration powders. Meanwhile, the “side effects”—if you can call them that—of better hydration are all positive, and include: 


    • Smoother, more vibrant skin
    • Increased focus and concentration
    • Better workouts
    • Quicker recovery after workouts
    • Increased energy
    • Reduced stress and anxiety

     

     

    Which hydration powder is best? 

    BestElectrolytePowders.com has a just-the-facts breakdown of the five big hydration powder brands. Here’s a comparison of the top two hydration powders available today: 

    Hydrant [3]

    Liquid IV [4]

    30-pack for $29.99 ($1 per pack, based on subscription pricing)

    32-pack for $40.00 ($1.25 per pack, based on subscription pricing)

    3-6 grams of sugar per packet* (*Note: Varies by flavor)

    11 grams of sugar per packet* (*Note, may vary by flavor)

    Based on the standard set [1] by the World Health Organization

    Based on the standard set [1] by the World Health Organization

    Gluten-Free

    Gluten-Free

    Sources: Hydrant [3] and Liquid IV [4]. Accessed 13 October, 2020


    Full disclosure: Hydrant is the maker of a rapid rehydration mix. We’ve endeavored to ensure all of the data in this article is up to date and accurate.

     

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    Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Variety Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Blood Orange Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Lime Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Grapefruit Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Pink Grapefruit Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Lemonade Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Watermelonade Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Iced Tea Lemonade Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Orange Mango Hydrant HYDRATE | Rapid Hydration Mix with Electrolytes - Fruit Punch Hydrant ENERGY | Rapid Hydration Mix with Caffeine & L-Theanine - Caffeinated Variety Hydrant ENERGY | Rapid Hydration Mix with Caffeine & L-Theanine - Raspberry Lemonade Hydrant ENERGY | Rapid Hydration Mix with Caffeine & L-Theanine - Orange Hydrant ENERGY | Rapid Hydration Mix with Caffeine & L-Theanine - Lemon Hydrant IMMUNITY | Rapid Hydration Mix for Immune System Boost (Vitamin C, B12, B6 & Zinc) - Lemon Ginger Hydrant IMMUNITY | Rapid Hydration Mix for Immune System Boost (Vitamin C, B12, B6 & Zinc) - Hot Apple Cider Hydrant IMMUNITY | Rapid Hydration Mix for Immune System Boost (Vitamin C, B12, B6 & Zinc) - Elderberry

    30 Pack

    Original

    No Added Sugar

    Flavor

    Variety
    Blood Orange
    Lime
    Grapefruit
    Pink Grapefruit
    Lemonade
    Watermelonade
    Iced Tea Lemonade
    Orange Mango
    Fruit Punch
    Caffeinated Variety
    Raspberry Lemonade
    Orange
    Lemon
    Lemon Ginger
    Hot Apple Cider
    Elderberry
    Variety
    Blood Orange
    Lime
    Grapefruit
    Pink Grapefruit
    Lemonade
    Watermelonade
    Iced Tea Lemonade
    Orange Mango
    Fruit Punch
    Caffeinated Variety
    Raspberry Lemonade
    Orange
    Lemon
    Lemon Ginger
    Hot Apple Cider
    Elderberry

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    Resources:

    [1] Oral rehydration salts. (2014, October 15). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/fch_cah_06_1/en/.
    [2] Roisen, Patrick. “Cell Transport - Biology Video.” Retrieved from: https://www.brightstorm.com/science/biology/cell-functions-and-processes/cell-transport/.
    [3] Rapid Hydration Mix. Hydrant. Retrieved from: https://www.drinkhydrant.com/products/hydration-mix
    [4] Liquid I.V. Retrieved from: https://liquid-iv.com/products/liquid-iv-combo-pack?variant=11631626125348.
    Other: electrolyte powder comparison