What’s the Deal with Electrolyte Water?

Seinfeld electrolyte water

Our bodies need water, and the verdict is still out on exactly how much we should be drinking.  There are so many types of water on grocery stores shelves.  Spring water, mineral water, drinking water.  But the variation that seems to be the most popular is electrolyte water.

From a category perspective, electrolyte water gets lumped in with sports drinks and all other types of bottled water.  That industry generates more than $8 billion a year.  Clearly, there’s big money in slapping the electrolyte label on a bottle of water.  But what does that label mean exactly?  And are there any proven benefits?

What’s in electrolyte water?

water with an orange
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Electrolytes are essentially your body’s nutrients (i.e. sodium, magnesium, potassium, etc.).  You need them to regulate several vital functions like muscle contraction and heartbeat regulation.  Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t ingest enough of these nutrients in their everyday diet.  And filtered tap water doesn’t contain anywhere near enough of them to make a difference.  Thus, electrolyte-infused water promises to restore our imbalance.

Most electrolyte water includes all or some of the following ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and dipotassium phosphate.  Brands like Essentia include all 4 while other brands like SmartWater and Lifewater include some variation of this electrolyte recipe.

Does this water make a difference?

electrolyte water bell peppers
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Electrolyte imbalance can have minor and major effects.  From muscle aches and spasms to diarrhea and bone disorders, these deficiencies can wreak havoc on your body.  So, drinking anything chock full of essential nutrients will have a positive effect.

But if you have a balanced, healthy diet, you’re likely to restore your nutrient levels from food alone.  This type of infused water isn’t a necessity but it can definitely help.

If you’re an athlete or a devoted gym rat, it might make sense to work this water into your daily routine.  You lose a lot of electrolytes in your sweat.  An hour-long lifting session can leave you depleted, and a glass of tap water isn’t enough to right the ship.  Electrolyte-infused water can help restore your nutrient levels rather quickly.  However, sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade also have the same effect.

Electrolyte water is by no means required.  Natural spring water and mineral water pack in their fair share of nutrients as well.  But for people who suffer from constant imbalances or who work out aggressively, this water could be a surefire way to keep your body in check.