Guides Electrolytes Nutrition Guides

How To Add Electrolytes To Water: 4 Simple Ways & Recipes

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski (Certified Nutritionist, S&C specialist, M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology)

Torokhtiy is reader-supported. Some links are affiliate links, and we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. See our disclosure page for details.

The best way to make electrolyte water is by either using an electrolyte supplement with plain water, or making a homemade blend combining coconut water, salt, and/or honey and blended dried fruit. Keep in mind, however, that most people don’t need to worry about supplementing with electrolytes. 

Below we’ll be going more in-depth on electrolytes as well as how to make water more hydrating with some homemade electrolyte drink recipes. 

How to Add Electrolytes to Water? While you can just add salt to regular water for sodium, you won’t be getting any additional electrolytes. So, we recommend either using a commercial electrolyte supplement, or making your own blend of coconut water, salt, and honey/dried fruit.

how to add electrolytes to water

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that serve a wide range of roles in the body. They include:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • And more

While most people get plenty of these electrolytes through diet alone, endurance athletes in particular may benefit from water with electrolytes added in. 

Below we’ll be going more in-depth on electrolytes’ role in the body, as well as where to get more electrolytes through your diet. 

Role Inside the Body – Health & Performance

As mentioned above, the different electrolytes all have different roles in the body. 

For example, sodium regulates fluid balance outside of cells and plays a role in muscle function as well. Potassium, instead regulates fluid inside the cell, as well as helping with muscle function and help with blood pressure regulation.

Magnesium, meanwhile, helps with heart function, and enzyme activation. All electrolytes play their own unique role and thus are all important for overall bodily function. 

preparing electrolyte drink

When it comes to exercise performance, sodium is the most important electrolyte to consider for supplementation as this is what you’ll lose the most through your sweat. A lack of sodium in your body can lead to hyponatremia and overhydration which is associated with decreased performance and serious health problems. 

1. Natural Sources of Electrolytes

Most people do not need to worry about electrolyte supplementation. Eating a varied diet rich in whole foods should cover all your bases for electrolytes. 

While there aren’t many foods naturally rich in sodium, most people already get more than enough sodium through processed foods and added salt. Other electrolytes may need to be prioritized more. 

Dairy products are a great source of multiple electrolytes, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Nuts and seeds are also typically rich in magnesium and calcium.

Most meats are also good for electrolytes, being rich in magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Most fruits and vegetables will also contain high amounts of various electrolytes. 

2. Commercial Electrolyte Powders and Tablets

Certain people may need additional supplementation with electrolytes beyond what they can get through their diet. These supplements are primarily for endurance athletes who lose significant amounts of electrolytes through their sweat. Electrolyte supplements may also be beneficial in times of illness or water imbalance, such as episodes of vomiting or diarrhea. 

protein powder

Electrolyte supplements are typically very high in sodium, with smaller amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other electrolytes. This balance is meant to mirror the electrolyte content of sweat. 

Most people get plenty of electrolytes through their diet alone. So, for most average gym-goers and regular people, electrolyte supplementation is not necessary. 

3. Simple Homemade Electrolyte Water Recipes

If you’re looking to supplement with electrolytes, you have two options – use a commercial electrolyte supplement, or make your own homemade electrolyte drink. Both can be beneficial and provide similar results, so it comes down to what works best for you. 

Remember that high sodium electrolyte drinks should be reserved for endurance athletes. Electrolyte drinks can still be used by regular people to enhance the flavor of water, just cut back on the total amount of sodium used. We also recommend keeping a carbohydrate concentration of ~6-8% to avoid any gastric discomfort (ie. 30-40g of carbs in 500ml of water)

4. Commercial Supplements – Follow the Label

If you decide to use a commercial electrolyte supplement, it’s typically as simple as following the instructions on the label. Simply mix with water, and drink as needed during exercise. 

Keep in mind that for endurance training the AIS recommends aiming for 0.5-0.7g of sodium per liter when adding electrolytes to water. This is meant to preserve palatability while still providing adequate amounts of sodium. You may need to adjust the serving size of any given supplement to fit within this range. 

ingredients of hydrate electrolyte

Of course, if you’re using these supplements as flavor enhancers, consider using a significantly smaller serving to improve the taste and reduce the amount of sodium you’re ingesting. You could also consider blending in fruits or other flavor enhancers like ginger or tea. 

We always recommend buying from a high-quality, trustworthy brand when it comes to all supplements, including electrolytes. That’s why we recommend Hydrate from Transparent Labs, which we’ll be covering in more depth below. 

Subscribe!

Get useful tips, expert insights, and in-depth analysis of training programs & nutrition plans to get the most out of your performance.

3 Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipes

If you’re wondering how to add electrolytes to water naturally, we’ll be covering a few different recipes below, but feel free to alter the ingredient amounts as you see fit. 

If you’re wondering, “Does tap water have electrolytes?” It does, just not enough to make up a significant amount of your daily requirements. Coconut water is a better source of electrolytes – specifically potassium. This makes it a great base for homemade electrolyte drinks, which we’ll be covering more in-depth below. 

While these recipes are a bit more complicated, you could keep it very simple with a basic recipe like 1 liter of water, with 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. 

Note that all the recipes below will make around 1 liter. This is meant to simplify the amount of sodium needed for electrolyte supplementation (ie. 0.5-0.7g/l of liquid).

1. Coconut Water + Salt + Dates

First, a simple electrolyte drink is a mix of coconut water with salt and dates. This combines potassium from the coconut water, sodium from salt, as well as some added sweetness and sugar from the dates. Blend all this together for a complete intra-workout drink. 

Note, don’t worry too much about what the best salt to add to water is. Whatever salt you have available should work fine for this recipe. 

We recommend using a ratio of 40g of dates and ¼ tsp of salt per liter of coconut water. This should work out to ~600mg of sodium, putting you in the AIS recommended range of 0.5-0.7g/L of fluid. If you want a drink that doesn’t contain as much sodium, simply reduce the salt content. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 Liter) of Coconut Water
  • 40g of Dates (~4-8 dates, depending on size)
  • ¼ tsp of Salt (or less if not using for training)

Instructions:

  • Add ingredients together in blender until the drink has a smooth consistency
    • Tip: Soak dates in water beforehand to make them easier to blend
  • Adjust salt content to taste

2. Water + Salt + Sweetener + Citrus Juice

For an even simpler recipe, try this electrolyte drink from the University of Utah, combine regular water with salt, sweetener, and citrus juice. This is a similar core recipe to the one above, although you’re substituting dates for a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or sugar, and the potassium is coming from citrus juice instead of coconut water. 

We recommend following a similar ratio of liquid to salt, adding ¼ tsp of salt per liter of liquid. Add the juice from a citrus fruit, and sweeten to taste. Citrus is a great alternative source of potassium if you don’t enjoy the taste of coconut water.

You’ll also have a smoother consistency because you’re not blending any ingredients. Again, consider adding less salt if you’re not using this drink for performance purposes. 

As an easy alternative to this recipe, you could swap out the citrus juice and sweetener for your favorite pre-packaged fruit juice. Try to find a brand of juice high in electrolytes like potassium and calcium for optimal electrolyte content. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Cups (1 Liter) of Water
  • Juice of ½-1 Citrus Fruit (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, etc.): 
  • 2-4 tbsps of Sweetener (Honey, Sugar, Agave, Maple Syrup, etc.) 
  • ¼ tsp of Salt (or less if not using for training)

Instructions:

  • Begin by mixing salt and sweetener together to ensure an even distribution
  • Add in the water and citrus juice and stir thoroughly
  • Adjust sweetener, citrus, and salt levels to taste
electrolyte drink

3. Green Tea + Coconut Water + Lemon Juice + Sweetener + Salt

Finally, our third option includes green tea for a quick mild hit of caffeine. This combined alongside the potassium from the coconut water and lemon, as well as some added salt and sweetener makes this a perfect pre-workout electrolyte drink. 

Overall, this is a fairly similar recipe to the ones outlined above, although preparing the tea will take a bit of extra effort. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Chilled Green Tea: 
  • 3 Cups of Coconut Water: 
  • Juice of ½-1 Lemon
  • 2-4 tbsps of Sweetener (Sugar, Agave, Maple Syrup, etc.)
  • ¼ tsp of Salt (or less if not using for training)

Instructions:

  • Brew a cup of green tea and let chill in the fridge for several hours
    • Tip: Add the salt and sweetener to the tea while it’s still hot for a smoother consistency
  • Once chilled, combine the tea with coconut water and lemon juice

How to Choose the Right Electrolyte Supplement?

If you decide to opt for electrolyte powder instead of making your own homemade blend, there are a few things to consider. These include your goals, training style, and the potential risks of electrolyte supplementation. 

1. Goals

First, remember that electrolyte supplementation is only necessary for endurance athletes and those training in extremely hot conditions who lose significant amounts of sweat. In these cases, electrolyte supplementation is often necessary to maintain optimal performance. 

If your goals are more centered around weight training (ie. bodybuilding, powerlifting, etc.), or you have a more casual training regimen, electrolyte supplementation is likely unnecessary. 

2. When to Drink Electrolytes?

Electrolyte supplementation can be beneficial when taken at any time in and around your workout. 

If you’re using a drink with carbs (like the two recipes outlined above), taking it before your workout will provide a quick boost of energy. However, taking it after your workout will help replenish glycogen stores as well. 

Kaged Creatine Monohydrate and Water Intake

Taking a high-sodium drink before your workout might also help hydrate you beforehand if you won’t have adequate fluid intake during your workout. Overall, however, we mainly recommend supplementing with electrolytes either intra or post-workout to help make up for the sweat you’re losing over your workout. 

3. Potential Risks around Electrolytes

As mentioned, electrolyte supplements aren’t for everyone. The average person usually gets more than enough sodium, making additional supplementation with electrolytes completely unnecessary. Excess sodium intake is related to high blood pressure and a potential increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Also, if you’re a competitive athlete, it may be worth consulting with a sports nutritionist before using electrolyte supplements. They will be able to help you craft a personalized plan for electrolyte supplementation for optimal performance. 

Overall, we only recommend using electrolyte supplements if you are an endurance athlete who genuinely needs them for your training. Otherwise, you’re likely better off sticking to plain water. 

Electrolytes we Recommend – Hydrate by Transparent Labs

Hydrate by Transparent Labs

transparent labs hydrate
  • Form: Powder
  • Flavors: Tropical Punch, Peach Mango
  • Key Ingredients: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium
  • Additional Ingredients: Coconut Water Powder, Taurine
  • Package Information: 304g
  • Servings: 40
  • Price Per Serving: ~$0.75
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by athletes: Paul SklarHafþór Júlíus Björnsson

If you believe an electrolyte additive for water is right for you and don’t want to make your own homemade electrolyte drink, we recommend using a high-quality supplement like Hydrate from Transparent Labs

Each serving of this supplement contains 884mg of total electrolytes, including Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium. The exact amounts per serving can be seen in the table below:

ElectrolyteMg/Serving
Sodium500mg
Potassium250mg
Calcium84mg
Magnesium50mg

As you can see, mixing one serving of Hydrate with a liter of water will put you in the 0.5-0.7mg/L of sodium range as recommended by the AIS. While Transparent Labs recommends mixing this drink with ~2 cups of water, we recommend doubling this and mixing a full serving with 4 cups/1 full liter instead. 

If you’re concerned about the quality of supplements, Transparent Labs is always a great pick. Hydrate is naturally sweetened with stevia and contains no unnecessary artificial ingredients. It is also Informed Choice certified ensuring a high level of quality control across every step of the manufacturing process. 

transparent labs Hydrate

Keep in mind that a supplement like this will be more expensive than simply making your own electrolyte drink at home. Each serving costs ~$1.33, while the homemade recipes outlined above will be significantly cheaper. Still, for convenience and quality, Hydrate is a great choice if you’re looking for electrolytes to add to water. 

Conclusion

Keep in mind that adding extra electrolytes to your water at home is unnecessary for most people. Electrolyte supplementation should only really be considered by endurance athletes who need extra electrolytes for their training. 

In this case, we recommend making a homemade electrolyte drink with one of the recipes outlined above or buying a high-quality electrolyte powder like Hydrate from Transparent Labs.

Are you an endurance athlete in need of electrolyte supplementation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. The Nutrition Source, “Sodium,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/ (accessed April 8, 2024)
  2. The Nutrition Source, “Potassium,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/potassium/ (accessed April 8, 2024)
  3. The Nutrition Source, “Magnesium,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/magnesium/ (accessed April 8, 2024)
  4. Nicholas B. Tiller, “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: nutritional considerations for single-stage ultra-marathon training and racing,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition volume 16, Article number: 50 (2019).
  5. AIS Sports Supplement Framework, “Electrolyte Replacement Supplements,” AIS, https://www.ais.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/1000487/36194_Sport-supplement-fact-sheets-electrolytes-v5.pdf (Accessed Apr. 8, 2024)
  6. Create Better Health, “Sip Smart: Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipe,” Utah State University, https://extension.usu.edu/createbetterhealth/blog/electrolytedrinkrecipe (Accessed Apr. 8, 2024)
  7. Photos made by Torokhtiy Media Team.

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

By trusting the recommendations of our certified experts in coaching, nutrition, dietology, and sports training programming, as well as scientific consultants, and physiotherapists, we provide you with thorough, well-considered, and scientifically proven content. All the information given in the articles concerning workout programming, separate exercises, and athletic performance, in general, is based on verified data. We ensure that you can rely on our professionals’ pieces of advice and recommendations that can be treated as personalized ones which will benefit you and fully meet your needs.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Camila Parente Santos

Author: Camila Parente Santos
Sports Nutritionist

Experience: 7 years

Camila has worked as a Nutritionist for 7 years. In addition to being a nutritionist, she is an amateur weightlifting athlete for 2 years. Camila has experience at Flamengo’s football base and in a food supplement company and currently provides services at a clinic. At the moment she is coursing a postgraduate study in Sports Nutrition.

View author’s page

Jacek Szymanowski

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance architect
,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

View reviewer’s page

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *