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What to look for in an electrolyte supplement

Last Modified: November 02, 2023

Sports & Exercise, Nutrition & Recipes

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This post was written by Sami Kauffman, MA, RD, CD, sports dietitian, Parkview Sports Medicine.

Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood and cells that help regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body. These minerals play a role in regulating blood pressure and muscle contraction and keep your system functioning properly. The human body is made of over 50% water, meaning that most cells are filled with fluid and electrolytes.

Natural sources of electrolytes

The body can get electrolytes from food, like:

  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Oats
  • Avocado

And beverages, such as:

  • Coconut water
  • Lemon juice
  • Milk
  • Fruit juice

  Electrolyte supplements

When looking for an electrolyte supplement, there are three main minerals you want to look for:

  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

If you’re working out for an hour or less inside, regular water will do. If you’re exercising upwards of 60 minutes or more, or you are exercising outside, then an electrolyte drink is a good idea during or after your workout.  

Sugar is typically added to most electrolyte drinks. This is good to have when you’re an athlete who is often outside, like a runner, soccer player or tennis player. Added sugar can help get the electrolytes in your cells faster so that the body can use them. It can also provide small amounts of fuel to maintain energy levels during workouts or games. If you are a well-fueled athlete, you may not need the added sugar and can choose one without.

When choosing an electrolyte beverage, be sure to choose one that contains all three electrolytes, has sugar if you need it and is formulated for athletes rather than individuals who are ill.  

If you need more information regarding your athletic lifestyle and fueling, contact Sports Nutrition at Parkview Sports Medicine at 260-266-4007 for more information or to schedule a consultation.


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