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5 Oral Rehydration Solutions Ratings

by Donna Schwontkowski
fit man drinking one of the oral rehydration solutions

Everyone becomes dehydrated at one point or another, but it’s more common (and dangerous) for seniors. Oral rehydration solutions could help combat dehydration, but not all are created equally. Here I will rate five of the most common solutions.

If you’ve read some of our other articles on our site about dehydration (how to hydrate fast and jelly drops), you may have picked up a few really important points:

  • Dehydration or possible dehydration is important to address
  • As little as a 2% drop in the body’s water content can affect you negatively.
  • If you lose too much water, you can end up with seizures, coma, and death.

But what about those oral rehydration formulas on the market? Are they really that good?

Most people are familiar with sports electrolyte replacements such as Gatorade. Gatorade contains water, sucrose, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium chloride (salt), sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, and flavoring/coloring ingredients.

Total sugars is 32 grams, or 8 teaspoons for one packet. If you are a woman, you have already exceeded your safe sugar consumption for the day according to the American Heart Association, and if you’re male, you can have 1 more teaspoon for the entire day. The sugar in Gatorade is sucrose and dextrose both. Dextrose is the GMO version of sugar.

Where are the electrolytes? They are found in salt where you get both sodium and chloride, two important electrolytes, offering 230 mg sodium. A teaspoon of salt contains about 2300 mg sodium and a pinch of salt contains about 300 mg. So there’s not even a pinch of salt in here.

The monopotassium phosphate also provides 70 mg potassium. This amount is quite negligible actually if you are trying to rehydrate. Potassium intake for the day starts around 2000 mg, and something so simple as a cup of coconut water provides a healthier dose at 400-600 mg potassium.

The thing that bothers me the most about Gatorade, which everyone believes will rehydrate them, is that the other electrolytes are simply not to be found. Those include calcium and magnesium.

Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)230 mg (1 pt of 2)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)??? (1 pt of 2)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)70 mg (1 pt of 2)
Bad ingredientsYES (-3)Natural flavoring, citric acid, coloring ingredients
Good ingredientsNO 
SugarYES (-1)32 grams Sucrose and Dextrose both

For a rating of Gatorade for electrolyte replacement, we’d give it a 2 out of 10.

Let’s set up a rating scale. The rating scale would be based on 1 point if the electrolyte is in the formula and 2 possible points if it’s close to or at the right amount. Thus, every electrolyte has a possible score of 2. If there are harmful ingredients such as sugar, we will give the formula a -1 for every bad ingredient. If there are some positive ingredients added, we’ll give the formula a +1 for them collectively.

Let’s evaluate some of the other top electrolyte replacement formulas and see how they fare.

Top Oral Rehydration Solutions Rated

1) Liquid IV Electrolyte Powder

Ingredients: Mined salt, dextrose, vitamin C, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, silicon dioxide, dipotassium phosphate, citric acid, Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12, potassium citrate, sodium citrate

Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)500 mg (2 pts)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)??? (1 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)380 mg (2 pts)
Bad ingredientsNODextrose is from non-GMO sources
Good ingredientsYES (+1 pt)Extra vitamins
SugarYES (-1 pt)11 gm, almost 3 teaspoons

Rating: 8

Liquid IV Electrolyte Powder table

2) Nuun Hydration Nuun Active Citrus Fruit

Nuun Active Citrus Fruit Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tablets (3-Pack of 10)3
  • Enhanced with electrolytes to replenish what's lost during activity, supporting hydration and recovery.
  • A delicious citrus blend that refreshes and revitalizes, without the heaviness of sugary sports drinks.

Ingredients: citric acid, dextrose, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, potassium chloride, natural flavors, organic green tea extract, magnesium oxide, calcium carbonate, stevia leaf extract, avocado oil, beet powder color, riboflavin.

Nuun Hydration Nuun Active Citrus Fruit
Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)300 mg (2 pt)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)40 mg (2%) (2 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)150 mg  (1 pt)
CalciumYES (1 pt)13 mg (1 pt)
MagnesiumYES (1 pt)25 mg (1 pt)
Bad ingredientsYES (-2)Natural flavors, avocado oil (may cause oxidation and free radicals)
Good ingredientsYES (+1)Stevia Caffeine may not be good for some people but it won’t harm the results of hydration
SugarYES (-1)2 grams

Rating: 10

Here’s another Nuun formula called Nuun Hydration Drink Tab – Ginger Lemonade. Let’s see if it fairs any better.

Nuun Hydration Nuun Active Citrus Fruit 2
Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)100 mg  (1 pt)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)75 mg  (3%) (1 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)150 mg (1 pt)
CalciumYES (1 pt)15 mg (1 pt)
MagnesiumYES (1 pt)15 mg (1 pt)
Bad ingredientsYES (-2)Natural flavors, avocado oil (may cause oxidation and free radicals)
Good ingredientsYES (1 pt)Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Folic acid, Vitamin E. Caffeine is 40 mg (<1/2 that in a cup of coffee) Stevia
SugarYES (-1)2 gm added sugar

Rating: 8

3) LMNT Elemental Labs Recharge Electrolyte Drink Mix

No products found.

LMNT Elemental Labs Recharge Electrolyte Drink Mix table

Ingredients: Salt (sodium chloride), citric acid, magnesium malate, potassium chloride, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract.

Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)1000 mg (2 pts)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)??? (1 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)200 mg (1 pt)
MagnesiumYES (1 pt)60 mg (1 pt)
Bad ingredientsNO 
Good ingredientsYES (1 pt)Stevia

Rating: 10

4) Pure Formulas Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte Berry Powder

Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte Powder, Orange Flavor, Healthy Energy and Endurance Support, Promotes Hydration and Healthy Muscles, Vegan and Vegetarian (30 servings)*
  • Hydration and energy: Optimal Electrolyte powder is strategically formulated to promote all-day hydration and energy. Key nutrients synergistically support healthy ATP (energy) production and electrolyte balance
  • Comprehensive formulation: Contains essential electrolytes, including niacin, magnesium, and creatine to support energy production, muscle repair, and cognition & clarity. Also formulated with sodium & potassium to support hydration
Pure Formulas Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte Berry Powder table

Ingredients: Malic acid, citric acid, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, natural grape powder.

Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)140 mg (1 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)510 mg (2 pts)
MagnesiumYES (1 pt)150 mg (2 pts)
Bad ingredients Natural flavors
Good ingredientsYES (1 pt)Niacin, D-ribose, taurine, creatine

Rating: 9

5) DripDrop Dehydration Relief FAST

DripDrop Hydration Bold Variety Pack - Electrolyte Drink Mix Single-Serve Powder Packets - Watermelon, Berry, Orange, Lemon - 16 Servings
  • FAST HYDRATION FOR WORKOUTS, TRAVEL & HEAT – 75% of people are dehydrated, which negatively affects health, mood, and performance.
  • 3X ELECTROLYTES & ½ THE SUGAR OF THE LEADING SPORTS DRINK — Our ORS science-based formula’s precise sodium-to-glucose ratio activates a hydration shortcut, accelerating fluid absorption into the bloodstream, hydrating 2X faster than water alone. Mix 1 packet into 8 oz of water for fast effective hydration that actually tastes good.
DripDrop Dehydration Relief FAST table

DripDrop claims that their patented formula offers fast relief from dehydration caused by exercise, heat, sleep, travel, illness, and diuretics. They say they have 3 times the amount of electrolytes than other formulas and half the sugar.

Ingredients are sugar (#1 ingredient), fructose, sodium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, potassium citrate, magnesium citrate, dextrose, salt, ascorbic acid, sucralose, zinc aspartate, beta caseinate.

Is it there?Is the amount right?
SodiumYES (1 pt)330 mg (2 pts)
ChlorideYES (1 pt)????? (1 pt)
PotassiumYES (1 pt)185 mg (1 pt)
MagnesiumYES (1 pt)39 mg (1 pt)
Bad ingredientsYES (-3)Dextrose, fructose, and sucralose
Good ingredientsYES (1 pt)Zinc 1.5 mg, vitamin C 70 mg
SugarYES (-1 pt)7 gm

Although glucose is needed for the sodium pump in the body, it’s still questionable to add GMO dextrose and sucralose to the formula.

Rating: 6

DripDrop states on their site that oral rehydration therapy can be as effective as an IV based on a study of children who had dehydration due to gastroenteritis. In another pediatric study, oral rehydration therapy performed better than IV replacement. This company is the only one that cares enough to put studies on their website.

DIY Formula

You can rehydrate yourself with food and supplements. Although what you do should be personally calculated and calibrated to your personal health needs by a trained professional, here are some guidelines.

  1. For potassium, consider ½ cup coconut water (check ingredient list for 600 mg potassium/cup.).
  2. For salt, consider some lunch meat to get about 330-350 mg sodium and chloride.
  3. For magnesium, consider an ounce or two of dry roasted almonds that provides 80 mg/oz.
  4. For calcium, consider 1-1/2 oz shredded cheese that provides 300 mg calcium.
  5. For glucose needed to transport the sodium, consider melons that also contain high amounts of potassium.

For supplements, there are sodium chloride tablets where 1 tablet provides 197 mg sodium. Potassium chloride supplements provide 99 mg potassium per tablet. One calcium magnesium tablet provides 250 mg calcium and 125 mg magnesium generally but check the labels. The glucose to activate these could be provided by melon. Always check with your health practitioner to see what’s best for you.

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