Are all electrolyte drinks created equal?
No, not even a little.
Maybe you have a chronic illness such as POTS, or maybe your child has been sick with a stomach virus like rotavirus. The way to manage symptoms is a high quality electrolyte drink. But do you know if you’re getting the best electrolyte drink?
Not all electrolyte drinks are good at hydrating you the way they should. Sports drinks have too much sugar. Other popular rehydration drinks have too little sodium or potassium. It’s a delicate balance for what works.
It’s a scientific balance, actually.
Some years ago the World Health Organization found groundbreaking evidence showing a new way to hydrate without having to drink large quantities of water. It’s a very specific recipe that reduces the need for IV hydration therapy by 33% or more.
Even the amount of pure water you’re using to mix up stick packs can make a difference on how effective your drink will be. Too much or too little and you may not be getting the right combination.
How does it work?
When water and other nutrients enter your body it starts the process of digestion. It enters your stomach and then gets dumped into your intestinal tract. Some water might be absorbed into your body through the stomach lining, but the majority of electrolyte water gets absorbed through what is called the cotransport system in your intestines.
Basically, your body needs sodium and glucose to absorb water into the intestines on a molecular level and that’s what the cotransport system does.
Do I really need sugar?
We know that it’s gotten a bad wrap lately. It seems like everyone I know is doing some form of the keto diet and minimizing their sugar intake. Sugar is a necessary fuel for our bodies. All things in moderation, though, right? Yes, in order to efficiently absorb sodium into your body you need a little bit of sugar. There are other nutrients that can assist with absorption, but they are not as effective.
Keep this in mind. Sugar comes in different forms; sucralose and dextrose, for example. These are suitable substitutes that will allow your electrolyte drink to absorb. Another thing to consider is that it is a minimal amount of sugar that is needed.
Electrolyte drinks are not created equal.
It should come as no surprise that electrolyte drinks are not the same. Sports drinks are more geared toward giving athletes extra carbohydrates (through sugar) along with some hydration. For someone who needs to drink electrolyte drinks daily, you may find that sports drinks have too much sugar for you.
Then there’s the lack of sodium in some. Sodium in electrolyte drinks can make them taste less than stellar, especially if you’re not used to drinking them. They’re salty. Many electrolyte drink companies that boast they can hydrate don’t have the amount of electrolytes they need to be effective. Don’t short yourself on the salt, friends.
High quality electrolyte drinks can be overly expensive. Which is another reason why not all electrolyte drinks are created equal. NormaLyte went through the process to ensure that we are considered a medical grade food. That means you can use your FSA/HSA (flexible spending account/health savings account tied to some people’s health insurances) to purchase our drink. Not only that, we offer discounts that can make our drink just over a dollar a stick. Competitors are over two dollars a stick on average. We previously have talked about the differences between brands, and you can check it out here.
The long and the short of it.
Now you know it’s a super specific recipe for hydration that works on a biological level within your body. Certain ingredients are needed at specific quantities and if you’re skimping on those then you’re not effectively hydrating. Just taking salt tablets isn’t enough.
If you’re suffering from a chronic condition such as POTS or another form of dysautonomia, it’s important that you’re getting the right ingredients.
No matter what brand of electrolyte rehydration drink you are choosing, be sure to read the label!