Electrolytes are charged mineral ions that play a key role in human health. These ions are necessary for maintaining adequate fluid levels and support muscle function, regulate blood pH, and prevent vitamin deficiencies. When we lose fluid and electrolytes — typically due to exercise, excessive sweat, or illness — we experience a condition known as dehydration.
Dehydration can be life-threatening and can also cause complications such as headaches, fainting, and even organ damage. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid dehydration by being aware of symptoms and replenishing electrolytes before they’re lost. To that end, we recommend an electrolyte drink powder, and not just any powder, but specifically an oral rehydration solution (ORS).
Here, we’ll show you how electrolytes help your body, and we’ll go over the best types of electrolyte drink powders. You’ll learn why drinking water and sports drinks aren’t the best choices for dehydration and why you should reach for an oral rehydration solution instead.
How Do Electrolytes Help Your Health?
Your body is made of up to 60% water. That water is found in cells, around cells, and in your blood. In fact, your brain, heart, and lungs are made of more than 70% water.
That water is essential for proper functioning. It helps you form saliva to digest food, it regulates your body temperature, and it also plays a critical role in creating hormones and neurotransmitters. In addition, you need water to move oxygen throughout your body, lubricate your joints, and eliminate waste.
Interestingly, the fluid in your body isn’t just made of water. It’s also full of electrolytes. These charged minerals include sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium.
Electrolytes are just as important for your body as water. They help regulate your blood’s pH levels, build new tissue, clot blood, and support muscle recovery and movement. These muscle benefits include everything from lifting weights to keeping your heart pumping. Electrolytes also help transmit signals from nerves to different organs.
Electrolytes and Dehydration
When you don’t get enough electrolytes, your body suffers from an electrolyte imbalance. Left untreated, fluid and electrolyte loss can lead to a condition called dehydration. Dehydration includes symptoms such as dizziness, irritability, headache, confusion, and muscle cramps.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it replaces. The most common causes of dehydration include illnesses, excessive sweating, and increased urination caused by medications or medical conditions. When you’re sick, you can lose electrolytes and fluid through vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever that causes sweating. Medical conditions including diabetes and kidney disease also increase your risk of dehydration.
People who work in strenuous or high-temperature conditions — like construction workers, firefighters, and endurance athletes — also have an increased risk of dehydration. That’s because the nature of their jobs causes them to sweat profusely, losing water and electrolytes more quickly than in normal conditions.
The best way to avoid dehydration is to ensure you replace fluids as you lose them. That means you need to hydrate throughout the day and drink the right beverages to avoid electrolyte loss. Next, we’ll go over why sports drinks aren’t the best choice and what you should drink instead.
Why Water and Sports Drinks Aren’t Good Enough
Electrolyte drinks are designed to prevent and address fluid and electrolyte loss. These beverages are also known as electrolyte water or electrolyte replacement drinks, and they come in a variety of forms. For example, you can find electrolyte powders, electrolyte solutions, and electrolyte tablets. Many of these electrolyte drinks claim to offer post-workout benefits including better muscle recovery, reduced cramping, and an energy boost.
However, not all of these electrolyte mixes are as effective as others. That's because they can contain a wide range of ingredients, not all of which address dehydration. For instance, some drink mixes contain carbs and sugars like stevia, while others are sugar-free, gluten-free, keto-friendly, or vegan-friendly. The wide range of options means some of these hydration drinks are better than others.
The FDA offers guidance for serving sizes when it comes to energy drinks and sports drinks, but it doesn’t regulate what manufacturers put in the drinks. Sports drinks and other electrolyte drinks contain artificial colors and artificial flavorings like lemon-lime, raspberry, and pomegranate. Many also include more added sugar than needed. Other electrolyte drinks use real fruit instead of artificial flavors, but the main problem is that most electrolyte drinks aren’t medically formulated to treat dehydration.
Some electrolyte drinks don’t contain electrolytes in precise ratios, meaning you may get more of one electrolyte and less of ones you need. And keep in mind, plain drinking water doesn’t contain many electrolytes. So while it can help replenish water loss, it won’t address dehydration and electrolyte loss.
Why Oral Rehydration Solutions Are the Better Choice
When it comes to sports nutrition and replenishing electrolyte levels, an oral rehydration solution is the top pick. Gatorade, coconut water, Pedialyte, and other sports drinks are less effective than ORS. That’s because oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS are medically formulated with a precise ratio of electrolytes. In fact, DripDrop ORS is just as effective as IV fluids when treating mild to moderate dehydration.
Studies indicate that sports drinks are less effective at addressing illness-related dehydration. Researchers state sports drinks have too much sugar and not enough sodium or potassium. Instead, they recommend drinking an oral rehydration solution when you’re sick.
DripDrop ORS is so effective, it’s used by firefighters, the military, and athletes. Oral rehydration solutions are also recommended by the WHO and county health services for use in fire response and treating patients and firefighters suffering from dehydration.
Try including DripDrop ORS to your dehydration protocol instead of reaching for sugary and ineffective sports drinks. You can add it to your favorite water bottle or, when you’re sick, mix it in a hot cup of water for a soothing and replenishing drink.
The Best Electrolyte Drink Powder: DripDrop ORS
The best electrolyte drink is DripDrop ORS. When you're dehydrated, no amount of water is enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose.
Our patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium which are essential to support your overall health.
The balanced ratio of electrolytes also means it’s a better choice than sports drinks. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.
For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great-tasting remedy. With convenient packaging, you can have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial of our most popular multi-flavor pouch for fast dehydration relief.