Electrolytes 101: What You Need to Know About the Important Substances

Are you confused about electrolytes? You're not alone! 

With all of the information out there on sports drinks and energy bars, it's hard to know what you need and what you're getting. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about electrolytes, including what they are, why they're important, and how to make sure you're getting enough of them.

Stay hydrated with our roundup that includes the best source of electrolytes available!

What are Electrolytes and Why Do We Need Them?

Simply put, electrolytes are vital substances the body needs to thrive. They are sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, found in many foods and beverages. When the body perspires, it loses a lot of its water content and electrolytes. An active or sedentary person experiencing hot weather often finds that grabbing a snack or drink filled with electrolytes energizes them by replacing the substances they lost.

There are many benefits that electrolytes provide. We explain each in greater detail below. Understanding why they're important helps you prioritize your consumption of them. Having mineral deficiencies can lead to greater issues to deal with health-wise in the future. You can avoid all of the problems from electrolyte loss by conscientiously including the minerals in the meals you prepare and the supplements you buy.

The Benefits of Electrolytes

Electrolytes perform many vital functions for adults and children. To help you better understand their importance, let's cover just how beneficial they can be if consumed regularly. This section of the guide goes over what electrolytes do for you. That way, you're well aware of what to expect from them when you consume them in any form.

Some of the most noted benefits of electrolytes include keeping the fluids in your body balanced and helping you maintain ideal pH levels. Each substance that carries an electrical charge, hence referred to as electrolytes, performs vital functions for you. Below, you'll find each type of electrolyte and its main function in keeping you well and feeling energized.


Sodium often gets a bad rap. Without it, you have difficulty controlling your nerves and muscles. It helps build blood volume, regulates blood pressure, and keeps fluids at their optimal levels in your body. Too much salt can cause swelling, but not enough sodium poses a whole list of additional illnesses that you'd rather not deal with today.


The substance reduces inflammation and relaxes muscles. It promotes a sense of calm and improves sleep. It's vital for preventing muscle cramping, so athletes must replenish lost fluids after exercising, training, and playing with intensity. People with anxiety also use magnesium to feel more at ease.


It stabilizes blood pressure, supports heart health, and prevents heart disease. The substance is in more than just bananas, which you'll learn more about in the article's next section. Foods and beverages that benefit your body by increasing its natural electrolyte levels are listed below for you to reference.


The substance is responsible for bone health. It also has the important job of converting tryptophan to melatonin. That way, you're able to sleep well without issue. It works well with magnesium which calms your mind and muscles.

How to Get More Electrolytes into Your Body

There are many ways to increase your electrolyte levels. Some may be easier for you than others. The best source of electrolytes is to eat foods rich in sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. If you're unable to meet your body's needs through diet alone, you'll want to supplement your electrolyte levels with products specifically created to make up for the deficit.

Foods and beverages rich in natural electrolytes include:

  • Potassium-rich bananas, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
  • Magnesium-packed nuts, seeds, beans, chocolate, avocados, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Foods and beverages with lots of calcium include dairy, leafy green vegetables, almonds, and sardines.
  • Sodium can be found in various fermented foods and added to the meals and beverages you prepare easily by salting them.

So, what do you do if you can't consume enough electrolytes to stay healthy? You have the option to purchase supplements in various forms. Individual minerals can be taken and don't require a prescription. To meet your needs, you can also purchase electrolyte replacers in various forms and flavors. We'll go over some of the various types you have to choose from in the article's next section.

Are Electrolyte Supplements Worth Purchasing?

Electrolyte supplements come in various forms to make them easier to consume and absorb. In addition to drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, they also come in powder, gel, and chewable forms. Learning what types of products exist in the marketplace makes it easier to find the right options to meet your needs. You may prefer one type of supplement over another, which is perfectly ok.

This roundup of some of the most popular electrolyte supplements makes it easier for you to find the types of products you regularly use and enjoy taking to increase your electrolyte levels fast. If you're unable to consume enough foods filled with the substance, you can opt to purchase a drink, powder, gel, or chewable to give you a boost quickly.


The most familiar electrolyte-replacers that people know are liquid beverages such as Gatorade or Powerade. The bottles of sports drinks are commonly used with athletes because they're a quick way to balance electrolyte levels after fluid loss. People who have illnesses such as the flu turn to electrolyte beverages because they're often easier to consume than solid food.


Powdered electrolytes come in packets, cans, and tubs. They're mixed with water to create the liquid sports drinks mentioned above. There are multiple brands available that help with electrolyte replacement. Gatorade isn't the only option. There is also Pedialyte, DripDrop, Liquid I.V., Dr. Berg's, LMNT, and Vitalyte, to name a few. The flavors and prices of the products vary from one brand to the next. What makes powders ideal is that they have a long shelf life and can be used to cut back on plastic waste as the powder mixes in glasses or refillable bottles.


Created in a gel form for easy consumption, some of the best sources of electrolytes are by familiar brands such as Gatorade, Clif, Powerade, and Body Armor. What makes the gels ideal is that they're portable and spill-proof. They can be packed in a bag or stuck in a pocket. The gels provide energy to power through a race or intense workout routine. They're great for people who exercise regularly or commute and need a pick-me-up in the middle of a workday.

Bars and Chews

If you're looking for a meaningful snack and electrolyte replacer, a bar or chew can do the trick. Designed to be larger and more filling, they have similar benefits as the other products listed above. Some popular brands include Powerade, Gatorade, and Clif. Bars can be purchased individually or in boxes, so you always have them on hand. There are many flavors to choose from, making it possible to keep your electrolytes balanced at all times.

Boost Your Electrolyte Levels with the Right Food, Drinks, and Supplements

Electrolytes are essential for optimal health, and most of us don't get enough from the food and beverages we consume daily. By supplementing your diet with electrolyte replacers, you can ensure that your body has everything it needs to function at its best. Not sure which electrolyte supplements to purchase today? Check out our list of the best source of electrolytes on the market.