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Electrolyte solutions are supplements that stabilise the body's fluid balance. In high temperatures, high exertion or to help with illness, electrolytes can help the body to recharge its energy.
In our large electrolyte solution test 2021 we would like to introduce you to various products and summarise their areas of application. Our detailed guide will help you choose your electrolyte solution. We have summarised and compiled all the important information from studies and serious articles.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important
- 3 The Best Electrolyte Solution: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for electrolyte solutions
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about electrolyte solutions answered in detail
- 5.1 What is electrolyte solution and how does it work?
- 5.2 When and for whom is the intake of electrolyte solution useful?
- 5.3 What are the different types of electrolyte solution?
- 5.4 Can electrolyte solution be used for animals?
- 5.5 How should electrolyte solution be dosed?
- 5.6 What can I mix electrolyte solution with?
- 5.7 Can I make my own electrolyte solution?
The most important
- Electrolyte drinks contain 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrates and additional sodium. Other electrolytes may also be included. Potassium, calcium and magnesium are among them.(1)
- Before you buy an electrolyte solution, you should find out which composition and which type of product is best for you.
- Electrolytes are also used for animals. However, if it is an emergency, you should always contact the vet. Electrolytes can also have a reverse effect on humans.
The Best Electrolyte Solution: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for electrolyte solutions
If you want to buy electrolyte solutions, you should pay attention to several aspects. We have summarised everything you need to know about the various criteria for buying electrolyte solutions:
By making the right choice, you can both save money and ensure that you do not harm your body. Always choose high-quality products, and ask to see the manufacturer's certificates if necessary.
Form of delivery
The quickest way to get a drink is undoubtedly to unscrew a bottle. If you need a ready-to-use and balanced way to take electrolytes, a ready-made solution in bottle form is best.
But compressed versions such as powder or tablets also have their uses. They have the advantage that you don't have to carry heavy bottles and you don't have to replenish your supply as often. They are also ideal for holidays, as they are easy to pack in small containers and are lighter without liquid.
You should decide which type and packaging is most practical for you before you buy. It is best to think about when and how you want to use the product.
Before you buy an electrolyte solution, you should know what you need it for. It is important to listen to your body's needs and not just buy any product.
Different solutions are enriched with minerals and therefore do not all have the same composition. Ready-mixed drinks prevent you from making mistakes in the mixing process that can have a negative effect on your body.
If you are more experienced in this area, you can also mix individual components to obtain an electrolyte solution tailored to your needs.
You will find dosage information on the package or in the product description. This information is helpful when buying, as the size of the bottle does not necessarily indicate the number of doses.
The dosage also tells you how concentrated the product is. This information can also be found in the product description.
Powders should be stored in a dry place. Opened bottles can be kept in the refrigerator and will last for several weeks in the cold. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations to keep the product fresh.
Before buying a large supply of electrolyte solution, try a small amount to make sure you like the product and that your body can tolerate the supplement.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about electrolyte solutions answered in detail
In our guide you will find comprehensive information about the effect and use of electrolyte solutions. We use scientific studies to inform you about electrolyte solutions in humans and animals. In the following sections we have summarised all the necessary information for you:
What is electrolyte solution and how does it work?
Electrolytes consist of ions, small dissolved charged particles that are responsible for fluid distribution in the body. A distinction is made between positive electrolytes, i.e. cations, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium and negative electrolytes such as anions, chloride, phosphate and bicarbonate.
The osmotic pressure distributes the entire body fluid. The kidneys retain the electrolytes and thus ensure a sufficient water supply in the body. Excess water is removed, while fluid added from outside is distributed.
An electrolyte solution is helpful when the kidneys can no longer regulate the fluid balance themselves and an imbalance occurs. Dehydration is the loss of fluid.
In the body, this happens when the body is strained, for example through physical activity or illness. Diarrhoea, heavy sweating, sunburns and kidney failure can lead to this.
To restore balance, fluids and minerals are supplied to the body. They are taken either through a drink, or intravenously with an electrolyte solution.(2, 9, 11)
When and for whom is the intake of electrolyte solution useful?
During sport, the body loses a lot of fluid. So in addition to the 1.5 litres of fluid recommended as a daily guideline, more water should be added to the body. But it also excretes minerals. Sodium is particularly affected.
If too much water is drunk during heavy exercise, the lack of sodium can lead to a dilution of the blood. Neurological consequences are not uncommon.
Electrolyte solutions are especially helpful during long periods of exertion. If you do endurance sports or exercise in the heat, electrolytes can help you stabilise your water balance. However, taking an electrolyte solution that is too concentrated has the opposite effect and can cause vomiting and nausea.(1, 8)
During pregnancy, taking electrolytes is a good supplement for the development of the baby and the health of the mother. The German Society for Nutrition (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung) states on its website what quantities of elements can be taken(3)
|Element||Daily intake (miligrams)|
However, you should always discuss the intake of supplements during pregnancy with your doctor. The individual's physical condition as well as peculiarities and abnormalities can make the use of some supplements dangerous.
Especially the symptoms of various illnesses, such as vomiting or diarrhoea, can lead to a large loss of fluids and justify the use of electrolyte solutions. However, malnutrition or the consequences of heavy alcohol consumption also lead to a lack of water in the human body.
Electrolyte disorders, i.e. severe deviations from the norm, can be life-threatening. However, such diagnoses are always made by a doctor. You should not try to treat yourself with electrolytes in extreme cases, as the effect of an electrolyte solution can also be reversed depending on your body condition.(4)
What are the different types of electrolyte solution?
|Ready-made products||ingredients are already mixed and bought in bottle form.|
|Powder||powder comes in compact cans that are dosed afterwards and mixed with water.|
In the following, we would like to introduce you to the two product forms in more detail:
Ready-made drinks are easy to consume. You can be sure that the balance between electrolytes and liquid is correct with these premixed products. If you mix your drink yourself, mistakes can happen.
Even when opened, the drinks can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month, according to the manufacturer. This makes them suitable for occasional use.
According to the manufacturer, powders offer the advantage that they dissolve in water much more quickly than conventional tablets. Compared to ready-to-drink drinks, powders can be used to prepare exact amounts of electrolytes and can be individually adjusted. They are available in many different flavours.
Another advantage is the practicality. You don't have to buy 10 bottles and can mix many portions from a small can. This saves you space. On the other hand, mixing takes a little more time.
Can electrolyte solution be used for animals?
Dogs are natural athletes and they constantly regulate their body temperature when they use energy to prevent overheating. This regulation is mainly done by panting, which not only removes heat but also loses fluids. (5)
In this process, performance decreases and the heart rate increases. Few studies have investigated the use of electrolytes in dogs.(5)
Electrolytes can also be used for animal children. Foals have a higher percentage of water in their bodies than adult horses, which makes regulating their water content more difficult. The first year of life is the most critical. Diarrhoea can be life-threatening and it is important to intervene quickly in case of fluid loss.
However, in some cases electrolytes should not be given. These include hyperhydration states, hyperglycaemia, hyperlactataemia, oedema and glucose disturbances.(6)
It is also not recommended in cats with hepatic lipidosis and severe hepatic dysfunction. Side effects may include tissue irritation when administered subcutaneously.(6)
How should electrolyte solution be dosed?
In animals, electrolytes are usually given intravenously as a continuous drip. Rarely, it is given subcutaneously, i.e. injected under the skin. The dosage depends on the fluid requirement and the condition of the animal.(6)
What can I mix electrolyte solution with?
You should not experiment with ingredients, because the pre-mixed drinks or prepared powders have already been optimally adjusted. They are supplements that do not require any other ingredients.
Can I make my own electrolyte solution?
You can enrich the drink with other ingredients, such as banana, orange juice, cane sugar, dextrose or honey. This makes the electrolyte solution more pleasant for the palate and contains more useful elements.(7)
Image source: Пастух / 123rf
James J. Lewis, Shirreffs M. Susan, Effect of electrolyte addition to rehydration drinks consumed after severe fluid and energy restriction (2015).
James L. Lewis, Dehydratation (2020).
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V., Referenzwerte für die Nährstoffzufuhr (2018).
MedLexi, Elektrolyte (2019)
Zanghi Brian M. et al., Working Dogs Drinking a Nutrient-Enriched Water Maintain Cooler Body Temperature and Improved Pulse Rate Recovery After Exercise (2018).
iMedikament, Elektrolyt-Lösung (2009).
Welling Kira, Elektrolytlösung selber machen - so geht's (2018).
James J. Lewis, Shirreffs M. Susan, Effect of Electrolyte Addition to Rehydration Drinks Consumed After Severe Fluid and Energy Restriction, in: The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29 / 2 (2015), s. 521-527.
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances, Recommended Dietary Allowances. 10th Edition (1989).
von Duvillard P. Serge, et al., Sports drinks, exercise training, and competition (2008)
Latzka W. A., Water and electrolyte requirements for exercise (1999)