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Homemade Electrolyte Powder is the easy DIY sports drink that I now make for my own family, after years of making homemade electrolyte drinks! It contains the right all natural ingredients for replenishing the body and costs less than buying similar products.
This post provides two recipes: a single serving option OR a bulk recipe for one scoop easy prep of your water bottle!
This article also discusses why our bodies need electrolytes.
Here I share why Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and salt are the easiest best way to make an affordable and effective drink to energize the body and restore electrolytes.
Jump to Recipe
If you do heavy workouts, work outside in warm weather or have athletes in your family, Homemade Electrolyte Powder is a great and easy replacement for Gatorade, Recharge, electrolyte packets and other health food market products. It does a better job, it’s way cheaper, and it’s better for your body — natural, with the best version of each supplement!
Why not to buy Gatorade
- Gatorade contains 12 grams of sugar, and for those carb-minded, 14 carbs.
- When you start buying Gatorade regularly (or Recharge, for that matter), such as bulk cases from Costco, think of all those single-use plastic bottles. Much better to make your own quick-to-scoop powder, and use your own water bottle (like this).
- The money! Making your own Homemade Electrolyte Powder saves SO much money!
- You get to avoid all the food dyes and: sugar, dextrose, citric acid, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, glycerol ester of rosin, modified food starch, along with flavorings! GREAT things to avoid, right?!
Who needs electrolyte water
Most people get enough electrolytes from their food and simple hydration from water.
But anyone who’s depleted from heavy exercise or sweating in the sun likely needs to replenish.
Additionally, for anyone doing a Keto diet or fasting: the body changes how it processes electrolytes, pushing minerals out through the kidneys. This can lead to what some call the keto flu — symptoms from the loss of electrolytes.
Two important aspects of hydration are:
- drinking enough water (or a fluid that contains water)
- getting that water into your cells
Electrolytes allow water to move into cells — thus maintaining blood volume + proper organ and muscle functions.
What minerals do we lose when we sweat (or do Keto)
Whether restoring lost electrolytes after exercise or supplementing on a low carb Keto diet, which minerals need to be restored, and in what ratio?
Surprisingly, we lose more sodium than potassium when we sweat (and on the Keto diet). So sodium is the most important mineral to put back in, especially quantity-wise. Sodium even helps to maintain and balance our magnesium levels. (source)
Sodium is responsible for heart and other muscle contractions, as well as fluid balance. It fluctuates quite a bit based on external factors, including diet and activity levels.
Regarding heavy exercise, every liter of sweat contains 40 to 60 mmol of sodium.
With low carb diets comes a decrease in insulin levels, which causes a loss of sodium.
Potassium maintains normal cell function, intracellular fluid volume and trans-membrane electrochemical gradients.
An absence of potassium can cause constipation, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, increased blood pressure and kidney stones.
Potassium deficiency can also cause nausea with exertion. So if you feel nauseated when you exercise hard, it may be a clue that your body is potassium deficient.
Symptoms and deficiencies are good reminders to us that minerals are not one size fits all. While this recipe will serve most people to put back what’s lost during heaving exercise, sweating, fasting or the Keto diet, some of us will need a lot more potassium or other minerals at other times.
Magnesium helps to carry out over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. But not a lot is lost during exercise. Nonetheless, most people are deficient, and some small amount is lost in sweat, so it is ideal to add it back in in small measure.
Why not to use Calm brand Magnesium
Many people and recipes use Calm brand of Mg for their electrolyte recipe. However, it’s better to avoid Calm because it contains citric acid. Citric acid is actually made from GMO black mold and may affect proper copper balance in the body. It’s best to avoid Calm and other products that contain citric acid — especially if it’s a food you plan to eat regularly.
What ratio of minerals does this recipe provide
The slight range below on sodium is due to brand and variety variations.
- 900-1000mg sodium
- 730mg potassium
- 60mg magnesium
Regarding sodium, this recipe assumes you’ll be sweating a lot. If you’re not, you can decrease the sodium to as little as 500mg of sodium, or anywhere in between.
The potassium may also be halved, if you prefer a less mineral-rich recipe or have lighter workouts.
What do electrolytes help with
Electrolytes help our muscles contract and relax. Without them, many of us experience muscle cramps, commonly at night while we’re sleeping or during heavy exercise.
Add in certain minerals, and the cramps go away! This is because our bodies need these electrolytes for proper muscle function. But life and heavy exercise (sweating) deplete them.
So we supplement with magnesium, potassium and sodium to replenish the basic minerals our muscles need.
Electrolytes also help our brain cells function properly. Electrolytes conduct electricity when combined with water. Many key processes in our body require a small electric charge to happen.
Other symptoms we feel from loss of electrolytes include dizziness, lack of mental clarity, headaches and an irregular heartbeat.
For those who do intermittent or longer-term fasting, minerals are depleted even more.
A blood test after fasting tells us our fasting electrolyte levels.
Which sweetener to use — optional
Sports drinks containing carbohydrates can provide energy to working muscles that water cannot. This improves performance and increases exercise capacity. At a time when muscle glycogen stores are diminished, athletes who consume sports drinks can maintain blood glucose levels. This allows an ongoing high rate of carb utilization and energy production.
Not everyone needs to put sweetener in their DIY Electrolyte drink. Add sweetener if:
- You want your drink sweet
- And/or you need the sucrose and/or glucose + fructose for the energy it provides (I talk more about this below).
Depending on your diet, your sweetener does not need to have carbs.
Sweetener is optional in your DIY energy drink if:
- You don’t want the extra carbs, sucrose/glucose/fructose, calories or flavor.
Personally, I do not want the extra sugars or flavor, so I leave it out.
But for my boys, I always add in a high carb sweetener (more on this below) if they’re doing really intense endurance sports. For example, when they play 2 to 4 basketball games back to back in ONE day, they benefit from the energy yield that the sweetener provides.
Firstly, the Keto approach
If you’re doing the Keto diet, you will only add sweetener to this recipe if you want the recipe to taste sweet. Without sweetener, this recipe beautifully restores lost electrolytes, problem solved — and the recipe is complete.
But if you prefer a sweet drink, I give that option in the recipe.
Which sweetener to use for best sports performance with DIY Electrolyte Powder (Non-Keto sweeteners)
The body’s energy currency is ATP, adenosine triphosphate. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which fuels the synthesis of ATP.
(I talk more here about ATP and sports performance.)
While we don’t need to ingest glucose for exercise energy, it is very helpful — especially with heavy lasting exertion, for any young athletes that are still growing and athletes trying to put on muscle.
Sugars and natural sugars also help to increase the speed of water absorption in the intestines.
Sucrose, glucose and fructose
Many sources suggest sucrose as the best form of carbs for exercise, to help provide energy to muscles, endurance and for recovery! But sweeteners that combine glucose and fructose give a similar benefit.
(Sucrose is a disaccharide, formed when fructose and glucose, which are simple sugars, or monosaccharides, link up.)
This means that while fructose alone gets a bad rap, a sweetener that combines fructose with glucose (or sucrose alone) gives the most benefit.
Sucrose is credited with:
providing an exogenous fuel source during endurance exercise, stimulating the synthesis of liver and muscle glycogen during exercise recovery and improving endurance exercise performance. (source)
Fructose and sweeteners that are heavy in it, like agave, are looked down upon because fructose is digested by the liver and can produce triglycerides.
In addition to replenishing minerals, sports drinks often contain some form of carbs to generate insulin secretion. Insulin transports glucose to our cells and skeletal muscles.
Maple syrup is the ideal sweetener for electrolyte drinks because of the kind of carbs it provides.
If you look up the nutritional profile of maple syrup, it is very hard to get accurate numbers. Most sites have printed incorrect information!
In fact, maple syrup is mostly sucrose. It contains 65 to 67% sucrose, <1% fructose and 1% glucose (so 99% of the total sugars). (source)
Honey contains about 40 to 60% fructose, 30% glucose and 1 to 3% sucrose.
Agave nectar, in contrast, contains 60 to 90% fructose, 25% glucose and only trace amounts of sucrose. So, agave is too high in fructose proportionately. Unlike sucrose (or the fructose + glucose combination), fructose alone bypasses muscles and goes directly to the liver.
The sucrose in maple syrup replenishes energy and helps our muscles to recover after a hard workout.
What about sugar — interesting fact
Interestingly, sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose! This means that organic cane sugar is not such a bad choice for certain people in the sports drink setting. I still use maple syrup, but it’s good to know that sugar in this recipe will actually work better for sports performance than honey.
Coconut sugar is mostly sucrose, 70-79%, followed by glucose at 3-9%. This means it’s another good option for sweetening your sports drink.
One benefit of using coconut sugar is you could pre-measure it in with your dry ingredients, especially if you make the bulk version of the Homemade Electrolyte Powder (found in the Notes section below the main recipe). So it’s quicker to scoop-and-go each time you fill your water bottle. (If you do this, be sure to give your jar of powder a good stir each time before scooping.)
Final notes on sugars in your DIY electrolyte mix
- For those with sensitive gastrointestinal (GI) tracts, if you add too much sweetener to your water, it can cause stomach distress during exercise.
- For some (non-Keto), too little sugar will lower the amount of carbs you get before, during or after your workout. This can affect performance and the body’s ability to refuel.
Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar option
This recipe also includes the option of adding a small amount of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. These acids (and even optional ginger) help with the digestion of water.
While this may seem strange, to need help digesting water, perhaps it won’t when you think about getting a stomach ache during exercise after drinking too much water.
Both lemon juice and apple cider vinegar help the stomach to assimilate the water more gently — thus more replenishment on a cellular level faster.
More than 90% of ingested potassium is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract; supporting digestion aids absorption.
Why not to use calcium in electrolyte drinks
You may have seen calcium added to some electrolyte drink recipes.
Firstly, calcium in electrolyte drinks does not improve performance or optimize health.
When taken orally, calcium only raises blood levels of calcium, which increases cardiac dangers and throws off the balance in the body of vitamin D. In most cases, we should avoid oral supplementation of calcium.
Personally, I am now of the mindset that our ancestors did not need nor pursue large sources of dietary calcium, and that we do not need to either. Rather, our bodies are very good at recycling calcium and using it efficiently. (Hair mineral analyses are a good way to assess your personal levels. Rabbit trail: vitamin A may actually pull calcium from the bones, so instead of trying to supplement with vitamin A and calcium, consider the low A diet, which helps to keep calcium in the bones.)
Avoiding calcium supplements is one more reason why not to buy certain pre-made electrolyte brands, which include this mineral.
Why not to use liquid minerals
I used to use liquid minerals for our family.
I now know that our bodies do not need or benefit from all the minerals in these products. One poignant examples is boron.
(I now avoid any supplements with boron.)
Homemade Electrolyte Powder (Easy Natural DIY Sports Drink recipe)
- measuring spoons
- water bottle , 24-ounce is ideal
- pint jar with lid , optional -- for storage of Bulk recipe
- 24 ounces water
- ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt (916mg of sodium) -- or if you use white sea salt, 930mg sodium from ¼ + ⅛ teaspoons
- ¼ teaspoon potassium chloride <-- This brand (2 scoops), which I find to be the best overall and in flavor. (730mg of potassium)
- ⅛ teaspoon magnesium chloride <-- This one. (60mg of magnesium) This amount is also a dash.
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons optional maple syrup to preference; Or, for Keto: stevia or preferred low carb sweetener, to taste, such as allulose (For GAPS, it's okay to use honey, or omit sweetener.)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons optional apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice, amount to preference
SINGLE SERVING RECIPE
- Fill 24-ounce water bottle with water, leaving a little head room for additional ingredients. Add salt, potassium and magnesium. Optionally, add apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and sweetener of choice.
- Screw on lid. Shake to combine the ingredients and dissolve the powders. Done! Enjoy!
BULK RECIPE -- Pre-mixed powder in a jar, one scoop only! each time you make up your water bottle
- See Notes section below.
Homemade Electrolyte Powder BULK RECIPE --Pre-mixed powder in a jar, one scoop only! each time you make up your water bottle ...
This bulk recipe of Homemade Electrolyte Powder makes 20 servings.
IngredientsSee product links in the main recipe above. Recipe may be doubled or tripled etc.
- 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons potassium chloride
- 2-½ teaspoons magnesium chloride
- Choose a 1 or 2-cup (pint) jar with lid.
- Add minerals listed above. Stir to mix well.
- Screw on lid, and store so it's ready to use each time you need it.
- 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup, or for Keto, stevia or low carb sweetener of choice, to taste
- 1-2 Tablespoon ACV or lemon juice
- Fill 24-0unce water bottle with water, leaving a small amount of head room.
- Add ¾ + ⅛ teaspoons (or just under 1 teaspoon) DIY Electrolyte BULK powder (it might be a good idea to re-stir or mix the powders occasionally to make sure they're evenly mixed) + optional sweetener and ACV/lemon juice.
- Screw on lid. Shake to mix and dissolve the powders. Done! Enjoy!
The following nutritional data is for the Keto version of this recipe, so does not display the sugars or carbs in the maple syrup version of the recipe.For the maple syrup version of this recipe, each 24-ounce serving of DIY Electrolyte drink has 11.9g of sugar and 13.4 carbs.
You can Pin Homemade Electrolyte Powder here:
How much Electrolyte water to drink during exercise
Weigh yourself before and after exercise to see how much water weight you lost during a particular workout. Urine color is also a good indicator. Urine should be very pale yellow, almost clear, not bright or dark yellow.
Athletic performance can be affected when more than 2% of total body weight is lost. The best way to prevent this is to drink every 20 minutes.
Dehydration sets in before thirst, so thirst is not a good indicator of the body’s needs.
Other natural electrolyte drink recipes you may enjoy
- Bone Broth ~ homemade + how to avoid rancid fat when making your own
- Strawberry Switchel
- Blueberry Switchel
- Peach Switchel
- Raspberry Beet Kvass
- Strawberry Kvass
If you’d like to replenish electrolytes with plain water plus foods, here are some good options:
- dairy yogurt and milk (especially raw or low temperature pasteurized 100% grass-fed A2/A2 milk)
- coconut water
Which salt to choose for Homemade Electrolyte Powder
For every 4 grams of salt (1 teaspoon), you only get 1.6 to 2.4 grams of sodium. The rest is chloride.
Surprisingly, table salt (only choose non-iodized) provides the same sodium value as good quality sea salt, such as Redmond Real Salt or Celtic sea salt.
Certainly sea salt is a more beautiful and less refined product than table salt, with trace minerals, but for our purposes in this recipe, both provide the needed sodium.
Choose either, depending on your preference.
One more reason to choose Celtic Sea Salt (or Redmond Real Salt) is they are lower in microplastics than many other salts out there.
As you’ll see in the recipe: Celtic sea salt often has less sodium if measured by the teaspoon, instead of by weight, because the granules are larger and there is more air between them.
If you choose table salt, be sure that salt or sea salt are the only ingredient. You’d be surprised: actually check the label. Look for no added anti-caking agents or other chemicals.
Why NOT to use Himalayan pink salt
Pink salts are mined and have been compressed for millennia. This means our bodies can’t assimilate the sodium or other minerals from it as well.
You can read more here about why to choose sea salt over Himalayan every time.
Should you add baking soda to your electrolyte water for exercise benefits
The short answer is, No. Read more here about when and how to take baking soda for sports performance, with digestion in mind.
- The role of minerals in weight loss
- Why and how to take fulvic acid minerals
- How to use zeolite and zinc for copper toxicity
- The best bone broths to buy
- How to do a daily detox with apple cider vinegar and activated charcoal