The human body is a complex machine that consists of far too many systems, organs, and processes than we can comfortably keep track of.
It’s more or less like a finely tuned engine, where all the parts are interdependent and if one of them malfunctions, the entire mechanism goes haywire, and just like an engine, it needs its oil, which is where the best electrolyte supplements come in.
While food and our normal day to day diets are enough to keep us up and running, this only applies to our daily normal routines. Once we add stress, effort and rough conditions into the mix, the needs start to rise exponentially, however, they still need to be met.
This is where supplements come in doing exactly what they are advertised to do, supplement our electrolyte intake. The real question here is “Which one is the best one?” because there are a lot of supplements on the market and every one of them has its strengths and weaknesses.
What are electrolytes?
Simply put, electrolytes are salt but not in the traditional way. Munching on a bag of store bought salt will do you a lot bad than good, so simply adding a lot of salt to everything that you eat is not a solution here.
Going into a bit of detail, electrolytes are sodium composites that are metabolized by our cells and turned into positive ions that help strengthen and recharge the molecular structures that make up our cells. The sodium chloride composites help a lot of the underlying intercellular functions to be completed successfully.
Things like neural functions and responses, metabolic balance, as well as many others depend on electrolytes to function properly.
While electrolytes are not critically necessary in order to survive, the fact that they help cellular regeneration, balance and calibration make them an important thing to keep track of.
Like everything else in our bodies, we tend to slowly eliminate them through bodily functions like sweating and urinating and it goes without saying that the more stress we are under and the more we exert ourselves, the more electrolytes we eliminate.
Too many electrolytes eliminated and our bodies start feeling and acting funny. Everything from getting tired faster to soreness, muscle cramps, muscles locking up, joint pain, dulled senses, a weaker sense of balance, and many others can be the result of low levels of electrolytes in the body.
Professional athletes are familiar with the effects of low electrolyte levels because they have to face them every time they train. Normal people, however, are not and dangerous situations can arise as a result of that. Not to mention the fact that the body itself can suffer quite a bit of internal damage if the proper level of electrolytes is not present for an extended period of time.
Given the times that we live in today, where our lifestyles grow increasingly more sedentary and the level of mental stress that we are subjected to rises with each passing day, we are by default facing a number of imbalances. Electrolyte levels tend to sneak under the radar for a bit, however any problems in that department are quickly fixed by a good dinner, proper water intake and a good night’s sleep.
Overall our daily lives don’t require us to burn and eliminate electrolytes on a large scale, the actual effects are visible when the body is put under physical stress and harsh conditions which are easily encountered in the great outdoors.
This is where the supplements come in handy, and having the best electrolyte powder or the best electrolyte tablets can be a real blessing in disguise.
How do electrolyte supplements work?
The entire idea behind them is to replenish the sodium compounds in the body, without causing the body to waste other resources. This is also why using salt in order to replenish electrolytes is a bad idea, while it is pretty much made out of sodium, the form in which it is delivered causes a lot of damage long-term as well as dehydration.
With that in mind, there are supplements out there that are made using sodium compounds which are processed into a more mild form. They are easily absorbed by the body’s digestive system and spread accordingly.
Some of them are faster acting than others, however, some are there to fill auxiliary roles as well, making them a bit more versatile than a base need.
Among the supplements on the market, the most popular 3 types are:
- Pills and tablets
And while each and every one of them has its own merits, not all of them are made to fill everyone’s needs.
Pills and tablets are usually chosen by people that come under a lot of physical stress and have to deal with electrolyte loss rather frequently, usually in high volumes as well. These include, but are not limited to athletes and people with physically demanding jobs like lumberjacks, miners or elite special forces operatives.
The reason behind this is because they are meant to deliver a high concentration of electrolytes into the bloodstream as fast as possible so that it can be spread around the body in the shortest amount of time.
Powders, on the other hand, are a lot milder than the pills but at the same time still quite effective. While it is made for people wilt far less demanding lifestyles and far less physical stress, it still manages to deliver more than enough electrolytes to both fill the body’s needs and even store some for later.
One of the biggest advantages that it has is that the powder can be dissolved in any kind of liquid without it having an effect on the chemical balance of the sodium compounds. The only exception to this rule being alcohol which, depending on the drink, can change them into something drastically different.
Last on our list is electrolyte drinks, which have grown in popularity over the last years in stores and markets all over the world. While it is true that professional athletes often enjoy drinks that replenish electrolyte levels in the body, the drinks that are commercially available are not really geared towards them.
In fact the levels of electrolyte compounds that they pack are nowhere near enough to replenish the body after a grueling 12 hours of training.
These are actually more geared towards the people that have a more sedentary and comfortable lifestyle and do something physically challenging every once in a while.
Although the levels of electrolyte compounds are relatively low when compared to the other types of supplements out there, these drinks are also packed with nutrients and minerals which help the body recover that much quicker and the drink be that bit more versatile. That being said, let’s see what are the best choices on the market at the moment.
Top Products on Today’s Market
Lyte Fuel by LES Labs
Type: Vegetarian Capsules
Quantity: 100 capsules
Compounds: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chromium
Benefits the most: Vegetarians and Vegans, long periods of high-intensity exercise and physical stress
Lyte Fuel is a product made with vegetarians and vegans in mind. This is because of the restrictive diets that they are on where the body is more or less deprived of specific proteins and compounds that are abundant in the foods that they do not consume. As a result of that, replenishing certain elements within their bodies can be a challenge, leading to bad cramps, low stamina, low endurance and low tolerances.
This is where Lyte Fuel shines, managing to replenish the vast majority of elements and compounds that the body needs, while at the same time providing a hefty intake of electrolytes to boot.
The recommended dosage is 1 capsule every hour before intense physical activity and exercise and 1 – 2 capsules every hour during the actual physical activity. The capsules themselves are rather mild and easy to take in by the body so there is no risk of chemical imbalances or long term damage occurring.
Type: Drinks / Concentrate
Quantity: 48 servings (9.6 gallons / 43.6 liters)
Compounds: Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Zinc, Sulfate
Benefits the most: Amateur athletes / outdoorsmen, moderate periods of physical activity and stress
Hi-Lyte is technically an electrolyte drink, however instead of it being a “ready to go” one it is actually a concentrated formula that needs to be diluted with water. Think of it like syrup or concentrated juice.
It’s not easy to use though because one of the key aspects here is keeping track of the dosages as well as how your body responds to it. Make no mistake about it, even though you have to dilute it with water, it is still very strong.
The reason behind its strength is the fact that it is an all-natural product which is literally packed with the compounds and elements that the body needs in order to handle a workout as well as recover after one. As a general rule of thumb, never go above 8 servings in 24 hours, however at the same time make sure you do consume the servings while working out and dealing with physical stress.
This is because the formula used in the product is aimed towards not only resupplying the body with electrolytes but also towards re-hydration and helping the body make the most of it.
It is, in fact, strong enough that it can also serve as medicine for dealing with minor ailments like a cold or indigestion,however, if it is to be used for this purpose it should be taken in concentrated form (half a teaspoon).
All in all, it is a rather affordable, accessible and useful supplement that can come in handy, especially in the great outdoors.
Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes
Quantity: 120 capsules
Compounds: Sodium, Chloride, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese
Benefits the most: Amateur athletes / Experienced outdoorsmen, moderate periods of physical activity, exercises and physical stress.
The Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes capsules follow a rather simple but effective formula. They are designed to prevent cramping all together as well as keep the body charged up and going.
Overall, these capsules are rather mild, which makes them very popular in outdoors enthusiast circles as well as among experienced outdoorsmen. Their effects are noticeable, especially over long periods of time, however, they do not give the slight feeling of physical discomfort that other capsules tend to give.
One of the strong points that this supplement makes is the fact that the formula used for making these capsules is heavily geared towards preventing cramps and muscle blocks. This can come in handy a lot in the great outdoors, especially when camping or going on a long hiking trip that stretches over a few days. Hardcore hikers, in particular, opt to have a small supply of similar capsules waiting for them in bear boxes along the trails that they choose to hike.
Gnarly Hydrate Electrolyte Powder
Quantity: 30 servings
Compounds: Electrolyte compounds, the full Vitamin B spectrum
Benefits the most: Amateur athletes, prolonged periods of moderate physical activity
While this is not among the best-known supplement powders out there, it is also one of the handiest ones to have. The reason for that being the fact that while it is rather slow to act, the effects are constant and over a prologued period of time. This makes it perfect for long workouts that require a moderate amount of physical activity.
Another great use for Gnarly Hydrate Electrolyte Powder would be while on long trips or hikes, anything that requires you to put in long hours of moderate physical effort.
This is because in general, this is a recipe for some of the worst muscle cramps that you can imagine, as well as sore muscles and lockups. The effort put in might not be a big deal, but because of the long time that your muscles will spend dealing with that effort, they will experience increased levels of fatigue.
While it might not be obvious at the time, it becomes clear when you stop for a rest and feel the muscles in question starting to feel heavy, tired and in some cases stiff. The next day, when you wake up, they will be either sore, locked up or cramped up.
This powder, however, is here to prevent that. Simply pop a packet, dissolve the powder in your water canteen and hydrate as usual. This will allow the body to absorb the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, helping the muscles stay active and keep up.
Another great thing to note about this powder is that it is also geared for the day after, when the muscles fibers start to heal up and regenerate, the supplement itself helping the process go along smoothly.
Quantity: 90 servings
Compounds: Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Calcium, Potassium, Chloride, Sodium, Magnesium
Benefits the most: Amateur athletes / outdoorsmen, prolonged periods of intense physical activity
Yet another powdered electrolyte supplement, however this time it is more geared towards more serious exercise enthusiasts and outdoorsmen that often times have to deal with long periods of intense physical activities. Marathon runners, long distance cyclists, endurance swimmers, these are just a few of the groups that appreciate the things that this supplement is able to bring to the table.
The interesting part about Ultima replenisher supplements is that although it is rather strong for a powder it is also gentle on the body. Having no caffeine and no sugar makes it easier to take in by the digestive system without having to deal with the aftermath of a small sugar rush. Another good thing that stems from this is the fact that it acts as a proper hydration agent, helping the body make the most of its liquid and mineral intake.
At the same time, it is able to replenish the essential electrolytic compounds that the body needs in order to function properly and provide the mineral sustenance that the muscular system relies on.
One of the things that you will notice right away is the lack of vitamins that are usually found in other similar supplements. This is no reason to be alarmed because by its very nature this product is designed to help make the most of the vitamins already present in your body without requiring you to replenish them anytime soon.
All in all, this can be the best thing that you can have at your disposal if you plan to exert yourself over a relatively long period of time and want to avoid the cramps and soreness that come afterward.
Mestrength Electrolyte Drink Mix
Quantity: 10 servings
Compounds: Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Creatine Monohydrate, Citric Acid
Benefits the most: Endurance Athletes / Intense outdoorsmen, long periods of intense physical activity and stress
The Mestrength Electrolyte Drink Mix is among the strongest powder electrolyte supplements on the market. This is because it not only helps replenish the electrolytic compounds but also helps muscle healing and development thanks to the Creatine Monohydrates. This helps the muscles heal after intense workouts and physical activity, at the same time building them up and strengthening them.
While it is great for muscular regeneration after a long grueling workout, it is only a minor aspect. The main strength of the supplement is in its ability to provide the electrolytes that the body needs.
The powder itself is highly concentrated and should be properly dissolved before being consumed. Because of the strength of the powder, it is advised that you follow the instructions in the box carefully as to not accidentally take a higher than recommended dose.
Nutribiotic Essential Electrolytes
Quantity: 100 capsules
Compounds: Sodium Chloride, Potassium Gluconate, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Sulfate, Chromium Nicotinate, Magnesium Stearate.
Benefits the most: Vegans / amateur athletes, moderate periods of light physical activity
The Nutribiotic Essential Electrolytes is a light electrolyte supplement which was initially designed for vegans, however, because of its compounds it was rather quickly adopted by amateur athletes.
This is because it is able to not only sustain them through their exercises but also because of the fact that it is rather light on the digestive system. This makes it great for people that are trying to get back into shape, as well as people that have a more advanced age and want to stay in shape.
Another place where it can be of great service is out on a hike or when going camping. It’s that little bit that helps feed the muscles with the electrolytes that they need, preventing cramps and allowing you to be comfortable and rested even while hiking along a trail.
It might be one of the mildest supplements out there, but it manages to cover the low-end requirements properly.
Sqwincher ZERO Qwik Stik
Quantity: 50 servings
Compounds: Sodium, Potassium, Carbohydrates
Benefits the most: Amateur athletes / outdoorsmen , moderate periods of intense physical activity
Besides the wacky spelling, what Sqwincher ZERO Qwik Stik has going for it is the fact that it is among the few such supplements that is packing carbs.
First off, it is not a bad thing and carbohydrates are needed by the body in order to function and develop over time. Plus the supplement packs a very small amount of carbs which serve as actual food for the muscle fibers.
That being said, the careful balance between electrolytic compounds and carbohydrates helps your muscles loosen up and release the tension that builds up when being subjected to physical activity. This, in turn, relieves cramps, helps start the healing process early and makes you more mobile and comfortable while exerting yourself.
It is not a particularly strong supplement, however, it is important to not go wild with them or else you risk developing resistance to them and receiving a lesser intake every time.
This is still a great supplement to have on you and drink while taking a hike or venturing down the long trails. It relieves foot fatigue, soreness and calf tension, thus making your experience a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.
Compounds: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D3
Benefits the most: Endurance Athletes / Performance Athletes / Hardcore Outdoorsmen, long periods of intense physical activity
This is pretty much the apex of electrolyte supplements, being designed and manufactured with performance and endurance athletes in mind.
They are fast acting, perfectly balanced and incredibly strong. So much so that the effects are very fast to show, Rapid Rehydr8 capsules often times being used to relieve cramps and muscle soreness as well as other effects that have already set in.
There is a small catch though, you have to be really careful with the dosages here. There are a lot of recommendations and a lot of serving options depending on your weight, the type of activity that you are about to undertake and your overall body constitution. Just follow the instructions that come with the supplement and you will be fine.
Among the circles that prefer this supplement are cyclists and marathon runners because of the strength and performance of the supplement. That being said, if you find yourself about to go on a very long and intensive hike, you might want to grab it as your supplement in order to make sure your muscles can handle it and you won’t have to deal with the effects of fatigue.
When it comes to electrolyte supplements there is a rather generous market filled with options and choices that can satisfy your needs. You will need to have a good look at what your activities are, how physically demanding they are and what their effects are on your body in order to figure out what you will be needing.
Make sure you don’t overshoot it though, too much of anything can end up being bad for you and these supplements aren’t anexception. Make sure that you find something that covers your needs and gives you that “pick-me-up” that you are looking to get.
This way you will be able to enjoy your time in the great outdoors without having to worry about cramps, muscle fatigue and other such inconveniences to ruin your day.