10 Key Nutrients Electrolyte Powder Should Have
Searching for the best electrolyte powder can require more research than you think. But understanding the key nutrients that differ between your keto-friendly electrolyte powder and premade electrolyte drinks is worth it.
Through exploring the key electrolyte nutrients in Zest Electrolyte Powder, this article is going to explain what nutrients you should look for in an electrolyte powder and what function they have in the body.
It is not just electrolytes that should be included for optimal health!
What Is In The Best Electrolyte Powder?
The best electrolyte powders aren't necessarily sugar-free. From artificial ingredients to unnecessary colorings, there are certainly ingredients that you want to avoid. However, there are also components that you should hone-in on:
- Amino acids,
A full list of ingredients should replenish essential vitamins as well as focusing on electrolyte replenishment. Sugar and caffeine can also be particularly useful, especially if you are looking to drink your electrolyte beverage before or after a workout, as they can boost energy levels and sharpen the mind.
We naturally lose electrolytes throughout the day, but we can replenish them with a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of water. However, there are times when we lose more electrolytes than normal, for example after sweating during a heavy workout or after an evening drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Electrolyte mixes can replenish your body to help you recover faster, stay hydrated, and maybe even treat some of the symptoms of a hangover.
Essential Nutrients in Electrolyte Powders
The key nutrients electrolyte recovery beverages need to ensure correct fluid balance, muscle function, and numerous other health benefits are listed below. These are the essential electrolytes that we have in our electrolyte drink mix at Zest.
Learn more in our article All About Zest's Fasting Electrolyte Powder.
Sodium is a key element for the perfect hydration supplement. It is essential for the nervous system, enabling your brain to communicate with your body via nervous impulses. Sodium also helps maintain fluid balance via osmosis. Think of osmosis as a cellular transport technology, ensuring that water moves into cells that have a high concentration of sodium to hydrate them. So, sodium ensures that when you rehydrate, the water sticks!
Electrolytes, particularly sodium, are best when you are dehydrated. They are one of the key elements in our hydrating lemon lime electrolyte mix drink.
Sodium electrolytes are natural nutrients. You find them most commonly in the form of sodium chloride (table salt) but you can also find them naturally in cured meats and various other savory foods.
Consuming too much sodium, however, can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension.1 But there's usually a minimal amount of sodium in an electrolyte powder - milligrams rather than grams.
Along with sodium, chloride is one of the key nutrients that corrects an electrolyte balance for optimal hydration. The other half of table salt (sodium chloride), this electrolyte follows sodium to hydrate cells and also plays an important role in fluid secretion. For the intestines, lungs, and pancreas, chloride ensures mucus and other bodily fluids are secreted to keep your body functioning.
Chloride is also essential for maintaining the acid-base balance in your body. It keeps your blood pH stable and is used to create hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) to digest food. Some immune system and blood cells also require chloride anions to operate.2
Though chloride doesn't have the most glamorous role in the body, efficient secretion and acid-base balance enables us to live healthier and happier lives. Chloride is in all of our electrolyte powders at Zest, including our recovery mix hydration drink.
Potassium is key in the formula of a perfect post workout drink. It is one of the essential minerals your body needs to ensure correct muscle function. You can find it naturally in foods including avocado, banana, and sweet potato.3 It can also help you rebuild damaged muscle tissue - the natural process that occurs after a workout.
Low potassium is associated with muscle weakness and hypertension.4 It is also important for regulating muscle contractions, including the heart.5 Along with sodium and chloride, it will help you retain hydration.
During a workout, you lose important electrolytes through perspiration and may experience muscle cramps and other symptoms afterward. Rehydrating with electrolytes can speed up recovery times - athletes are encouraged to consume fluids and electrolytes for a rapid recovery within 24 hours.6
Learn more in our article Electrolyte Powder Potassium.
Many electrolyte tablets and powders opt to forgo added sugar altogether, creating zero sugar beverages with natural or artificial sweeteners. However, maintaining healthy blood sugar is important too. Our brains heavily rely on glucose for energy. According to a review of the role of glucose in brain function: "The largest proportion of energy in the brain is consumed for neuronal computation and information processing."7
So, a small amount of glucose in electrolyte powder can feed both your body and brain. If you go straight from the gym to work, lectures, or classes, recovering with glucose can help you stay sharp!
Rather than creating electrolyte powders with zero carbs, we add a small amount of sugar to provide energy without spiking your blood sugar. Learn more in our article Electrolyte Powder Without Stevia.
Many electrolyte powders are also caffeine free. Caffeine can help provide energy without increasing your calorie intake, so finding the right balance of glucose and/or caffeine can help you maintain your energy levels after a workout.
5. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
The top electrolyte powders contain more than just electrolytes. There are numerous key nutrients that can be added to boost the immune system, support overall health, and replace any vitamins or minerals that were lost due to dehydration.
In both our energizing and caffeine-free drink mix formulas, we provide a source of ascorbic acid and citric acid for vitamin C.
Key benefits of vitamin C include:
- Protection against immune system deficiencies,
- Reduced cardiovascular disease risks,
- Fewer prenatal health problems,
- Lower risk of developing eye and vision-related diseases,
- Clear, wrinkle-free skin (usually when applied topically).
Steady, optimal levels of vitamin C in your blood is often a good indicator of good overall health.8
Vitamin C is often provided in the form of ascorbic acid, as this form "has equivalent bioavailability to that of naturally occurring ascorbic acid in foods" and it's also water soluble. It is easily mixed into your bottle of water and is readily absorbed by your body.9
6. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
The second of our five essential vitamins is vitamin B3 in the form of niacinamide. Along with a good electrolyte balance, vitamin B3 helps to energize your body. It converts nutrients into energy, creates essential cholesterols and fats in the body, and can repair RNA.10
Most people absorb all the essential vitamins, including vitamin B3, through a normal balanced diet. Vitamin B3 is found naturally in legumes, nuts and seeds, brown rice, red meat, and poultry. Most diets provide a good source of vitamin B3, even if you're on the keto diet.
B vitamins in general are associated with increased energy levels (great for a workout) and there is also growing evidence that vitamin B3 is key for neuronal health. Optimal intake of vitamin B3 could delay neurodegeneration.11
7. D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5)
Although d-calcium pantothenate sounds like it should be on a banned artificial ingredients list, it's actually a simple vitamin B5 supplement made from pantothenic acid. Besides featuring in many electrolyte mixes, it's also commonly prescribed for acne and morning stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.12
Along with key minerals and electrolytes, vitamin B5 is essential for converting the foods you eat and drink into energy that your body can use. Combined with the pure cane sugar (glucose) in our electrolyte drink formulas, it helps you to feel energized and ready to go after a workout.
The nervous system, liver and digestive tract also benefit from B5.13
Vitamin B5 is found in many whole grains, but thankfully it's also present in numerous vegetables so even those on a gluten-free diet are no more likely to be deficient in this vitamin.
8. Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6)
As well as replacing electrolytes lost, good electrolytes powders will also replenish any vitamins you've lost over the day or during a workout. Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride is available in convenient tablet form or in powder beverages, like our electrolyte powder sticks.
Vitamin B6 is responsible for maintaining a strong immune system, healthy nervous system, and normal brain development.14 Furthermore, one review of numerous studies of vitamin B6 found evidence that the vitamin could be beneficial for reducing the high blood pressure that may be associated with high levels of sodium.15
Finally, there's also limited evidence that vitamin B6 could be used to maintain or lose body weight especially by attenuating the waist to hip ratio.16
9. Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin is important, along with five essential electrolytes, for developing the brain, nerves and blood cells. This vitamin is also involved with the amino acids that are vital for the production of DNA. Cell metabolism and nerve function rely on vitamin B12 too.17
Found naturally in meat, seafood and dairy products, it's usually found in abundance in most diets except vegan diets. It's paleo diet friendly!
Included in our electrolyte powder, vitamin B12 may also help your mood and muscle function. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and anemia.
One thing all the best electrolyte powders have in common is that they're designed to be combined with water. Water is sugar-free, providing zero calories, and likely has trace minerals too. Along with the key electrolytes provided in electrolyte powders, it hydrates your body and resolves an electrolyte imbalance.
Depending on your age, sex, and lifestyle, you may need to consume anywhere from 2 to 4 liters of water a day according to scientists. Approximately 20% of these fluids are absorbed through foods in your diet.18
Combining water with electrolyte powder allows your body to hold onto the water you drink, keeping your cells hydrated rather than simply washing quickly through your body. If you often forget to drink water during the day, or need to rehydrate quickly, then an electrolyte powder that can be stirred or shaken into water is ideal.
Electrolyte Recovery Plus Energy
Electrolyte recovery beverages often focus on replenishing nutrients that have been lost - water, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. However, you can also find electrolyte powder that replenishes your energy levels too.
Zest Energy & Hydration Electrolyte Powder is formulated with 250mg of caffeine plus 50mg of L-Theanine. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, preventing that sleepy fatigued feeling, while L-Theanine promotes calmness, focus and alertness. If you are hydrating ready for a challenging hike - or just an intense study session - this electrolyte powder provides the stimulation your brain and body need.
When looking for sugar-free electrolyte powders, check the ingredients list carefully for other artificial ingredients that may have been added to sweeten the flavor. At Zest, our gluten-free electrolyte powder is low in sugar and flavored with natural, non-GMO flavorings.
Other Key Nutrients
An electrolyte mix can be something of a liquid IV, supplying you with numerous nutrients that your body may need. An electrolyte recovery beverage could contain other electrolytes, flavors, colors, and sweeteners. If you are on a specific diet, like the keto diet for example, you should be extra attentive when checking the ingredients list!
Magnesium supplements are often used to aid sleep, among other things. However, magnesium is also an electrolyte that is found in many gluten-free electrolyte drinks. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant positive ion in the body and is used for numerous organ systems at a cellular and enzymatic level.19
Including magnesium in your electrolyte recovery beverage may help regulate the nervous system, aid muscle contraction, and convert food into energy.20 Many of these benefits are also covered by other electrolytes in our powder at Zest.
If you are deficient in magnesium, consuming an ultimate keto electrolyte supplement that contains the magnesium electrolyte might not be enough - speak to your doctor about magnesium supplements for hypomagnesemia.
Although not the first ingredient that you think of when you're looking at electrolyte tablets or powders, calcium is an electrolyte too. In the body, calcium is important for skeletal mineralization (keeping your bones strong, of course), muscle contraction, nerve impulses, blood clotting and hormones.21
Electrolyte powders with calcium can contribute to muscle function, alongside sodium, chloride and potassium. It's good to have, but not essential for an electrolyte powder in our opinion. Most people receive enough calcium from their diet, as most dairy products are high in calcium and many plant-based dairy alternatives are fortified with minerals including calcium.
Phosphorus is often included in electrolyte recovery beverages, and despite sounding like an ingredient that should be 'banned substance' tested, it is actually an organic compound. It's the second most abundant mineral in your body after calcium!22
Acting as an extracellular fluid cation (positive ion), this electrolyte is essential for metabolic pathways. Primarily stored in your bones and teeth, but also excreted from the kidneys, phosphorus activates enzymes and maintains a good blood pH balance.23
Electrolyte powders with phosphorus typically don't focus on this electrolyte. With many foods supplying phosphorus in a balanced diet (dairy, legumes, meats, whole wheat grains, and nuts), replenishing the sodium, chloride and potassium lost during a workout or throughout the day is more beneficial.
Stevia extract, often extracted from organic stevia leaf, is used as an alternative to added sugar. Whether it's our Zest Energy Teas or a blue raspberry flavor from another brand, the addition of stevia leaf doesn't necessarily mean that the whole beverage is flavored with artificial ingredients. Stevia leaf itself is a natural derivative that can be used in combination with non-GMO ingredients, for example.
Stevia leaf extract provides a lot of sweetness while adding zero calories to the beverage. In electrolyte powders, stevia leaf doesn't provide any energy. So, going sugar free might not be the best option if you are looking to replenish energy after a workout.
A combination of caffeine, sugar and stevia leaf can be used to replenish energy and create a tasty flavor without majorly increasing the number of calories in the beverage.
What are the benefits of electrolyte powder?
Electrolyte recovery plus plenty of hydration has numerous benefits. It aids muscle repair, reduces cramps, speeds up recovery, and can be used to boost overall health. Many people use electrolytes to help recover from a hangover too.
Make sure you check the ingredients list of your electrolyte powder, especially if you have dietary requirements. Finding a gluten-free electrolyte powder is simple, thankfully!
What is in electrolyte powder?
An electrolyte powder is a dry powder that should be mixed into a fluid (usually water) for consumption. It contains electrolytes that aid cellular absorption, allowing your body to retain more hydration than if you just consumed your water plain.
Some of the additional key nutrients electrolyte recovery formulas contain include vitamins, like vitamin C, as well as minerals, caffeine, amino acids, and flavors like blue raspberry or our delicious blackberry lemonade.
What nutrients are electrolytes?
Electrolytes commonly included in electrolyte powder are sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. These electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge. They have numerous roles in the body and are usually absorbed through our diet. However, electrolyte levels can fall, especially after sweating profusely or when dehydrated, so replenishing them with an electrolyte-rich beverage allows for more rapid recovery.
Are electrolyte powders healthy?
Electrolyte recovery plus hydration and nutrition is definitely healthy! Restoring fluids and electrolytes that your body has lost is important - we can do this through our diets and with the assistance of electrolyte powders.
If there is an unhealthy element to electrolyte powders, it may come in the form of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. Some electrolyte powders also contain sugar, which may be either detrimental or advantageous depending on your goals.
Should you drink electrolyte powder regularly?
You certainly can drink electrolyte powder regularly. Usually, you should receive all the electrolytes your body needs through your diet, however if you have just finished a long workout or have become especially dehydrated (e.g. on a hot day or after a night of heavy drinking), then replenishing your electrolytes with a powder-based beverage is much more rapid.