Jump to content

Alternative Hydration Drinks


Recommended Posts

I have chosen pedialyte to help with sodium and way to stay hydrated....Gatorade seemed higher in sugar...but even getting the store brand adds up...looking for other high sodium/electrolyte drinks that may work as well... Any alternatives even if other choices are welcomed....I sometimes also do 1/2 teaspoon of water with lemon juice, but I kinda am burning out on choices.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmmm. This was a curiosity of mine as well and looked on line. Unfortunately the most common drinks, including pedialyte have sugars in them but also artificial colors as well which is not good. And of course the best ones are the most expensive too. I went to a website "worst and best electrolyte drinks" on paleoedge.com and it was daunting. I guess I will stick to my water and add salt to my foods

I too would love to hear some suggestions


Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, sorry, this might be a long post, but wanted to list everything I could think of : ) I had to get creative, because my POTS is highly reactive to the sugar & artificial additives in commercial electrolyte formulations. Some of these have the same amount of sodium as Pedialyte, while some of them have lower concentrations of sodium (more equivalent to gatorade). However, if I wanted the higher Pedialyte-type sodium levels, I found it was actually more cost effective for me to just use a good electrolyte preparation that may be lower in sodium, and add my own sea salt.

I try to shoot for about 500mg sodium (approx. 1/4 tsp sea salt) per 16 oz of water (that's what the doctor recommended, and that's what is in Pedialyte). For comparison, I believe there's around 200mg sodium per 16 oz of Gatorade.

Here's my list. Most of these are much more cost effective for me than Pedialyte or Gatorade, but a couple of them (like Nooma) might be similar in cost.

  • Coconut water - this one is fantastic! I had one POTS doc and a nutritionist strongly recommend this instead of commercial sports drinks. Even though most brands do have similar sodium content to gatorade, I still add enough salt to get it up to 500mg per 16 oz, and it works beautifully this way! It can often pull me out of certain types of flares better than anything else I've tried. I get it in bulk at a natural food store, so it's actually fairly cheap for me.
  • Gerolsteiner mineral water - has a really good amount of sodium & electrolytes. I had doctors recommend this one also. Sometimes I add juice so it's like drinking healthy soda.
  • Chicken or vegetable broth - Another dr. recommendation. It's cheap, has lots of sodium, and electrolytes too.
  • LyteShow electrolyte drops - really economical, has the same amount of sodium as gatorade, but I still add extra.
  • Elete electrolyte drops - similar to LyteShow, but a little less concentrated / not as strong.
  • Emergen-C brand Electro-Mix (I don't use it often, because it has maltodextrin, but I'm great with it for occasional use). I add 1/8 tsp sea salt to it for every 8 oz I drink.
  • Ultima Replenisher - I love this one too. It has other vitamins/minerals that seem to really help me, besides just electrolytes. Again, though, have to add 1/8 tsp salt for every 8 oz, and don't use often due to the maltodextrin (although it is organic / non-GMO).
  • NOOMA organic electrolyte drinks - these are fantastic, but I don't drink them as often as they still have a teeny bit of sugar. Has a decent amount of sodium (comparable to gatorade I believe), but I would usually still add a little extra. This one's also a bit pricier, might be around the same price as Pedialyte?
  • Flavored salt water - I do this all the time, because it is by far the cheapest option. Salts like RealSalt and Celtic Sea Salt already have naturally occurring electrolytes, so I might add 1/4 tsp to a 16 oz mixture of water and something like a little juice (any flavor) or herbal tea, or I might make a flavored water with cucumber, strawberries, or other fruit. If feel I need extra electrolytes, I'll add some drops like LyteShow.

Hydration alternatives I've tried but no longer use:

  • Salt tablets. I preferred the Salt Stick brand, but others like Thermotabs. These are great, because basically then you don't have to worry as much about what you're drinking.
  • Tomato juice - I have a few Potsy friends who swear by this, kind of like I swear by coconut water. I hate the taste though.
  • Pickle juice - my spouse loves the taste of this, and finds it to be a really effective way to get enough sodium.
  • Soups - my first POTS doctor told me to add a bunch of high-sodium soups to my diet. I actually prefer my current regime, but I still do this occasionally.

I also have a bunch of recipes for oral hydration solutions you can make at home, that are pretty cheap and taste good. I can post those as well, if you'd like. Just didn't want to make this post any longer!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to post all of that KS42! I would like to hear what you make yourself. Its always nice to have more options.

I drink high alkaline ionized water (9.5 on PH scale) and find that the acid in many drinks causes me GI problems. The machine we have uses saline to reach an alkalinity of 11.5 and I on occasion will drink 8-16 oz of this water but am not sure exactly how high the sodium content is. When I drank it consistently I noticed a big difference but it tastes like drinking sea water and due to gastroperisis had to minimize my oral intake... I bolus 9.5 water through my J tube and that has helped with recovery many times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Skratch Labs Exercise Drink Mix. I get it on Amazon although they have their own site too. It is less expensive that Gatorade with less sugar. The Lemon Lime flavor actually tastes like lemonade...good lemonade! I had tried Nuun tablets on recommendation from a doc but they made me very nauseous. I finally figured out it was because Nuun uses artificial sweeteners. That's when I started looking for alternatives and found the Skratch Labs mix. I find it does keep ke hydrated better than straight water. And because it's a powder that you mix yourself, you can make it stronger/weaker to taste and to your needs at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your feedback, never thought I had a low sodium diet, and since benign advised to have a high sodium, realize it was far from high...

KS42, would love to know what you came up with as well...if you don't mind sharing ;) looking for varieties to help keep my body getting use to one source....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, here are the recipes I have collected. I haven’t made any of these up myself, they’ve all been given to me by nutritionists, medical professionals, or found in books, and some were recipes I used years ago as an athlete.

Keep in mind a lot of these contain sugar or some form of starch / sweetener. The reason is that hydration solutions are much more effective, metabolically speaking, when there is some sort of a sugar, because your body needs that to help metabolize and retain the electrolytes and fluids. This is part of the reason Gatorade contains sugar and Pedialyte contains Dextrose (essentially pure glucose). However, I can’t have much of anything high glycemic, so I do often leave the sweeteners out.

Also, people tend to be different with regard to their acid/alkaline balance and what their bodies can tolerate. Over-acidifying or alkalinizing, or taking in too many electrolytes, can actually be harmful. So, at one point or another, I've approved any / all of these with either my doctors or nutritionist, and we've determined how much of any of these I can personally handle (they want me alternating every single electrolyte drink with 16 oz plain water). So I'd recommend talking to your doctor(s) if you have questions about whether these are OK for you.

Recipe 1: (recommended by my POTS nutritionist)

- A few stalks of celery (added for hydration and fiber content - the fiber actually helps the body absorb and retain fluids and electrolytes more evenly and slowly)

- 6 oz lemon juice

- 6-8 oz Smart Water or plain water

- 1/4 tsp Sea salt

Mix all of the above together in a really good blender (should blend the celery down to a juice with a little pulp left). You want it to make about 16 oz of liquid. The original recipe called for ONLY lemon juice, with no water or anything. I found that much lemon juice was too acidic for me personally, although for some people, the citric acid from the lemons is actually alkalinizing, so it varies.

I have also substituted coconut water, orange juice, electrolyte mix, and various other things for lemon juice, and that works just as well.

Recipe 2: Homemade Pedialyte: (I think this one came from a paleo book that my PCP lent me?):

- 8 oz apple juice

- 32 oz water

- 1/2 tsp sea salt

- 1/2 tsp LoSalt (for the potassium content)

- 1 tbsp honey

Recipe 3: This one, to my knowledge, is essentially the one used by the WHO:

- 32 oz water

- 2 tablespoons sugar, honey, or molasses

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- Add 4 oz of juice if needed for taste (orange, lemon, lime are best due to nutrients in citrus)

*To reduce sugar content, you can also do half plain water and half rice water; rice water contains starch that can metabolize into sugar, so you could cut the sugar content by half if you do that. Or, you could substitute some rice cereal (ground up), the kind given to babies, instead of sugar.

Recipe 4:

- 24 oz water

- 4 oz lemon juice

- 1 tbsp lime juice

- ½ tsp sea salt

- ¼ tsp baking soda

- ¼ cup honey

Recipe 5: Hydration Shake (this was recommended to me years ago as an athlete, so I can’t remember exactly where I got this one).

- 6-8 oz kefir (dairy has actually been proven to be hydrating, used by some as a sports drink, and I choose kefir due to the added probiotics for digestive health). You could also use Smart Water, plain water, ice cubes, etc.

- 1/2 to 1 whole avocado (depending on size) - contains electrolytes

- 1/2 to 1 whole banana (for electrolytes, like potassium)

- Berries (any kind, enough for taste)

- 1/2 to 1 whole cucumber (they're hydrating as well)

- 1/4 tsp sea salt

I seem to absorb / retain fluids better when I have electrolyte sources from whole foods in my diet, and I have an issue with weight loss, so this shake works really well for me. I have at least one a day, and definitely notice a difference when I don't have it.

Also, in my previous post, I forgot to mention two more electrolyte drinks that I absolutely have loved in the past:

- Recharge (can get this from a natural food store usually - it's basically gatorade made with juices instead of sugar and flavorings)

- HoneyMaxx (have to order this one online, I believe)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Ks42 for all your ideas.

I cannot tolerate most commercial products like pedalite/gatorade --they make me nauseous or more nauseous than I am already

but I have hope that some of these ideas might work for something other than the super-expensive smartwater I've only been able to handle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...