If your social media feeds are anything like mine, you’ve probably been bombarded with ads for products like Hydrant, Liquid I.V., Cure, and countless other “hydration sticks.”
I’ve never been a big fan of traditional electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, but I’m also super picky, so I tend to not like other water additives like Propel or Mio, either. While I’m okay with just drinking plain, unflavored water, I often feel like I’m not getting as hydrated as I should be with the amount of liquid I consume in a day.
Since you all know by now that I’ll do pretty much anything in the name of science, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I scoured the Internet for free samples of these so-called hydration supplements to find out if they were actually worth the hype.
First Things First: Hydration 101
Our bodies are finicky. If they don’t get exactly the amount of hydration they need, everything can be thrown out of kilter. Cramps, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, and a list of other problems can be caused (or worsened) by dehydration. Of course, there can be other reasons that you feel crappy, but grabbing a drink is always an easy place to start, right?
Our bodies need a particular group of minerals and ions called electrolytes to function well. They’re important for regulating our nervous system, heartbeat, blood pressure, and fluid levels, among other things.
While it’s true that most of us can get all of the salts and electrolytes that our body needs through water and a healthy diet, it’s also true that things like an unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, illness, stress, and just flat-out forgetting to drink enough water are all common occurrences.
In addition to electrolytes, we need a lot of water to keep our bodies running smoothly. Without it, our bodies can’t properly metabolize food, utilize oxygen, or do many of the other vital functions necessary for life.
You can think of hydration as the combination of enough electrolytes and enough water to support healthy bodily functions. This is why you might not feel satisfied after downing a hefty glass of water! If you’re still missing electrolytes, then you’re likely not going to feel hydrated.
Skip the Sports Drinks
Gatorade, Powerade, VitaminWater, and other “recovery” drinks are the ones that most of us are familiar with, but they’re not the best choice for daily consumption. This is because they tend to have very high levels of added sugar, which isn’t necessary for the average person. The extra sugar can cause blood glucose spikes and potentially hinder weight loss goals, so it’s usually better to reach for a hydration supplement instead.
Which hydration supplement you’ll want will depend on taste preferences and your exact goals, but there are plenty to choose from!
Are Hydration Supplements Worth the Hype?
This is the real question! Since they tend to be more expensive than sports drinks or plain water, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder if it’s worth shelling out the extra cash.
Personally, I’m okay with paying a bit extra to have some hydration supplements on hand. I drink a lot of coffee, and I’m not always good at remembering to drink enough water, so having these around to boost my hydration levels is nice. This is especially true since I’m admittedly picky about my drinks.
If you’re just a regular person who tries to be active as much as possible, I think you could benefit from trying a few of the most popular brands like Nuun, Liquid I.V., Hydrant, and Cure. Each one offers a variety of flavors, and you can also get varieties that are specifically formulated to boost immunity, help with sleep, and kick up your energy levels.
One thing that I think is noteworthy is that many of these supplements taste salty due to the electrolytes and minerals in them. However, I’ve found that if you dilute them with more water than is recommended, the taste is much better! So, if you see complaints about the salt taste, don’t let that turn you off of trying a brand that you think sounds great otherwise!
I love the Liquid I.V. apple pie and watermelon flavors, but I find that they taste best when I either use half a packet in a 16-oz. bottle or a full packet in a 30-oz. bottle. The same is true for Hydrant. I also like that the caffeinated versions of Hydrant combine caffeine with L-theanine. L-theanine can help to eliminate the nervous jitters that sometimes come with caffeination, so you end up with more “calm alertness” and less “heart-palpitating energy.”
We All Need to Hydrate
Overall, I think that hydration supplements are a nice bonus addition for anyone looking to take their beauty and wellness regimen to the next level. If you’re not totally sold on the idea, or it’s not in your budget, I think it’s perfectly okay to skip these in favor of just drinking plenty of water and supplementing your diet with more fresh fruits and veggies.
I’m still new to all of the different varieties of hydration supplements out there, so tell me about your favorites in the comments below!