An athletic woman drinking electrolyte infused water

Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electrical charge when dissolved in water. They are necessary for maintaining proper water balance and PH (acid/base), for moving nutrients in and wastes out of your cells, and are essential for proper organ, muscle, and nerve function.

Adding an electrolyte powder to your water can be a great way to ensure you are getting the right amount of these minerals, in the proper proportions, and can make it easier to stay hydrated. When first starting keto, consuming additional electrolytes is also the best way to prevent or banish the keto flu.

Table of Contents

Selecting the Best Electrolyte Powder

It Starts With Using the Best Water

Before we dive into what to look for in a good electrolyte powder, it is important to make sure that the water you are adding electrolytes to is as pure and healthy as possible. 

Tap water in the US is generally pretty good. There are federal standards in place for most microorganisms, parasites, disinfectants, organic and inorganic chemicals, fluoride, lead, and radionuclides (radium and uranium), which is comforting to know, however those standards are generally not zero. 

This means that set amounts of these concerning materials are permitted to remain in the water. When tested, many rural areas lack the infrastructure to meet these standards, and regulatory oversight is often lacking until something catastrophic happens. 

There are also several other concerning toxins and carcinogens, such as perfluorooctanoic acid, methyl tert-butyl ether (a gasoline additive), perchlorate (present in fertilizers and fuel and linked to thyroid issues at certain levels), radon, and pharmaceutical substances for which there are no federal standards yet in place.

Believe it or not, bottled water is even less regulated than municipal sources, and is often recalled due to contamination by arsenic, bromate, cleaning compounds, mold and bacteria. Independent testing of bottled water also commonly detects chlorine, fluoride, aluminum, disinfectants, and pharmaceutical substances well above municipal water standards.

I personally limit my consumption of unfiltered tap water and strongly recommend some type of home water filtration system. Refrigerator based filters do help a little and while reverse osmosis systems are great at removing most impurities (except possibly bacteria), they also remove beneficial minerals and electrolytes, and make the water more acidic.

A great, and quite affordable option for home and emergency water filtration and purification is a countertop gravity-powered unit called a Berkey Water Filtration System. To learn more check out their website here, and click on the assessment tool below to find out how safe the municipal water is in your area. 

Keep it Simple

Many of the electrolyte products available are crammed full of things you don’t need, or worse, may actually be harmful. Your body doesn’t properly absorb or utilize calcium in the form of calcium carbonate and ascorbic acid is a synthetic, and essentially useless, source of Vitamin C.

Added proteins or branched chain amino acids (BCAA) may be a selling point for some people, but these may actually limit the manner in which you can utilize an electrolyte powder. For instance, I like to sip on electrolyte water while I am fasting, and during or immediately after my fasted workout. Added proteins and BCAA’s will break a fast.

The more things added to an electrolyte powder, the more likely you are paying for and consuming cheap fillers that you don’t need, and potentially missing out on the more beneficial ingredients. The same applies to greens powders and protein powders.

It should go without saying, but since caffeine is a diuretic (promotes water loss), electrolyte powders that contain caffeine should be avoided if proper hydration is the goal. Food coloring or dyes are also completely unnecessary in an electrolyte powder and many can be unhealthy.

Sugar and/or Sugar Substitutes

In severe cases of dehydration, glucose can help expedite the process of getting water and electrolytes into the blood stream. If you are consuming electrolytes during, or immediately after vigorous exercise, a little glucose can be beneficial, and easily burnt off without interfering with ketosis.

DripDrop® and Hydrant® are popular single serving electrolyte powder sticks that contain 7 grams, and 4 grams of sugar, respectively. If you are looking for an electrolyte product that you can sip on throughout the day, and/or while fasting however, these are not for you.

Stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, and xylitol are generally considered the best and healthiest sugar substitutes. These sweeteners are all natural and keto friendly. Sucralose is another “keto friendly” sweetener that is often found in electrolyte powders, but research has shown that it can impact good gut bacteria, and it is therefore not recommended.

Potassium & Magnesium

Among the six primary electrolytes in the human body, magnesium and potassium are the most likely to be in short supply in our diets. Being deficient in magnesium is quite common, even within well-balanced diets. Many foods do contain some amount of magnesium, but as a result of mineral depletion in the soils used to grow commercial produce, they don’t contain as much as they used to.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for potassium is 4,700mg while the RDI for sodium is only 2,300mg, and the more sodium we consume the less potassium we have in our systems. These two minerals are connected and together form the potassium sodium pump that is necessary to move ions in and out of our cells. 

When choosing an electrolyte powder, we recommend selecting one that contains magnesium and has a high potassium to sodium ratio. It is also important to consider the sources of these electrolytes as well. Several forms of supplemental magnesium can result in digestive upset and/or diarrhea, and potassium chloride, in large doses, has been linked to the development of small-bowel lesions.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals, or micro minerals, are essential minerals that the human body must get from food. Even though we only need tiny doses of these minerals, they can be difficult to acquire in our diet, again due to decreasing amounts in agricultural soils. There are also other foods, like grains and soy, that deplete these minerals from our bodies. 

An isolated trace mineral supplement can cost between $20-$30 per month, so a well-priced electrolyte powder that already contains naturally sourced trace minerals is in many ways a bonus.

Our #1 Recommended Electrolyte Powder

Dr. Berg's Original Electrolyte Powder

Dr. Berg is a fantastic resource for those following keto, and his supplements are well-thought-out and extremely high in quality. I don’t generally use many supplements, but this is one that I consume daily.

Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder has been around for a few years now. What I like about it is that it utilizes high quality ingredients from great sources, and doesn’t include any fillers, additives, or colorings. It also doesn’t contain any sugar or maltodextrin, and is simply sweetened with stevia.

This electrolyte powder contains 1000mg of potassium per serving, 120mg of magnesium, and trace minerals. Sodium is kept low at only 10mg, but as mentioned above, most people are consuming more than enough sodium in their diet, and are more commonly deficient in potassium.

The potassium in this powder is from potassium citrate, not potassium chloride, and the sodium and chloride is sourced from pink Himalayan sea salt. 

A Couple Alternatives

Adapted Nutrition Keto K1000, and Keppi Electrolyte powder have nearly identical ingredients as Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder, and although they may be a little cheaper (depending on where you buy) there are a few key differences to make note of.

The label on Dr. Berg’s product specifically identifies that the citric acid is non-GMO, and the stevia is organic. When we followed up with the makers of the Keto 1000 product below, they confirmed that their ingredients were non-GMO as well. I have not been able to confirm whether or not Keppi’s Electrolyte product includes non-GMO ingredients.

Dr. Berg’s label also specifies that the source of the sodium and chloride in his electrolyte powder come from Pink Himalayan Salt, whereas the K1000 label just reads “sea salt,” and the Keppi formula reads “sodium chloride.” This suggests that a lower quality source of sodium has been used in these two products. 

Where to Find the Best Deal

Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder is available in two sizes. The 306g (45 serving) container costs approximately $34.15 on Amazon and is available with free Prime Shipping. This equates to approximately $0.76 per serving. This same product costs approximately $33.00 on Dr. Berg’s website and shipping is calculated at checkout.

The larger 612g (90 serving) container costs approximately $47.95 on Amazon, plus $9.02 shipping (may vary) which equates to $56.97 or $0.63 per serving. On Dr. Berg’s website the larger container costs approximately $44.95 and shipping is calculated at checkout. Shipping to my location was calculated to be $11.02.

Ultimately, the larger container is the better deal, even with the added shipping, and you can save a little more if you subscribe or wait for sales, which occur quite often.

New Sports Version Now Available

Sodium is generally lost at a greater rate than potassium during exercise, and for that reason Dr. Berg has also created a sports version of his electrolyte powder. It has nearly identical ingredients as his original formula, just a little more sodium. 

Dr. Berg’s electrolyte sports drink is available directly from his website or on Amazon. It does not appear to be available in the larger more economically sized container, or with free prime shipping yet.

If you are concerned that the original formula doesn’t contain enough sodium to support exercise, you could always just add a pinch of Pink Himalayan sea salt to your electrolyte drink  before, during, or after an intense workout.

How do you ensure that you are consuming enough electrolytes? Do you have a favorite electrolyte powder or supplement? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below to help support others navigating a keto lifestyle. You do not need to provide your email address to leave a comment.

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