A little bit of sugar, or a lot of salt - which is best for major hydration?
While there are tons of hydration drink mixes available today, the formulas can vary a great deal. LMNT and LivPur are two examples of this. From the electrolyte range to the inclusion of other nutrients, they aren’t nearly as similar as they look.
We won’t keep you guessing. Read on to get a full breakdown of the basics of hydration drinks, what each of these brands offers, and which one may be best for you.
How do you know you’re dehydrated?
The early signs of dehydration can include darker-colored urine, fatigue, thirst, and lightheadedness. However, some symptoms are so mild that you can be a little dehydrated every single day and never notice.
What is a hydration drink?
Hydration drinks are an efficient way to prevent dehydration or to rehydrate quickly. They contain electrolytes and other nutrients to replace what is lost during strenuous exercise, labor, or illness.
Unlike sports drinks, they are typically powder blends in single-serve packs that can be dissolved in water on the go.
Why hydrate with electrolytes and not just water?
Electrolytes themselves aren’t hydrating, but they are essential to fluid balance. They help direct water where it’s needed and moderate water in and outside of every cell. In short, water couldn’t do its job without some electrically charged minerals to help it along.
We lose electrolytes in everything from sweat to urine. Since they’re necessary for most bodily processes, they need replenishing.
About the Brand: LivPur
LivPur Nutrition was founded with the singular goal of delivering clean, effective nutrition. LivPur strives for, “Transparency in our ingredients, our processes, and through our resources by providing key information on health and wellness to our
consumers. Simplicity, Versatility, and Transparency are our core drivers in creating the cleanest source of everyday wellness products. Our products are effective, made with clean ingredients, and easy to use.”
In addition to the Hydrate hydration drink, LivPur makes an energy blend, a recovery blend, and whey and plant-based protein powders.
About the Brand: LMNT
LMNT’s mission is straightforward: to restore health through hydration.
The company was born after the founder’s firsthand struggle with electrolyte imbalance. “I'd been on a low-carb, whole food diet for years, but something was holding me back,” he states. “While working with my coaches, we unlocked a powerful insight: I needed more salt. Period.”
The electrolyte mix is the only supplement LMNT currently offers.
LivPur Hydrate: A rapid rehydration solution
Hydrate is a rapid rehydration solution with nutrients to help fight fatigue, improve athletic performance, and fuel muscle growth. The key word is “rapid.” What separates Hydrate from some other mixes is that it is intended to work fast.
How is this possible? LivPur includes three grams of glucose to activate something called the sodium-glucose transport system.
When you introduce glucose alongside sodium, the glucose helps push the sodium (and other electrolytes and nutrients) through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. This is why Hydrate can work two to three times faster than other hydration mixes.
Other noteworthy ingredients include cluster dextrin. This is a form of carbohydrate offering sustained release, so it provides energy support without messing with blood glucose levels too much.
There are also an impressive 11 amino acids (including the three branched-chain aminos prized for their performance benefits). The blend rounds out with a handful of B vitamins, and 100% the RDV of vitamin C.
Hydrate is a powder that comes in single-serve stick packs. Simply mix it in 12 to 16 ounces of water and drink.
Product Summary (LivPur)
- 11 amino acids
- Three grams of glucose to activate the sodium-glucose transport system
- Nutrients to improve energy and boost brain function
- Five essential electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, zinc)
- No artificial flavors
- Six flavor options
- NSF Certified for Sport®
LMNT: Zero sugar, heavy on salt
LMNT describes its electrolyte mix as a “Tasty electrolyte drink mix that is formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs and is perfectly suited to folks fasting or following low-carb, whole food diets.”
What immediately stands out about LMNT is that it contains far more sodium than others at 1,000 mg. The current recommended daily allowance of sodium is 2,300 mg. However, many people already get that (and more) from the diet, so it begs the question, “Is that too much?”
LMNT says, absolutely not. The brand insists that “optimal health outcomes” for everything from performance to sleep happen when you double or triple the current recommendation. The company explains that the problem is an ultra-processed diet and lack of exercise, but government organizations are unfairly pinning the blame on sodium.
Whether or not you agree, many sports nutritionists do concede that endurance athletes who sweat a lot of salt need more sodium than others.
Other than lots of sodium, the LMNT formula is shockingly simple. There are two more electrolytes (in much more conservative doses), some natural flavor, and stevia leaf extract.
It’s so simple, in fact, that the founder shares the exact recipe on the website, so people can make it themselves (minus the flavors).
Product Summary (LMNT)
- Three essential electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, potassium)
- High amount of sodium (1,000 mg)
- Zero sugar
- No dodgy ingredients
- Eight flavors plus one unflavored
Is LivPur the Best LMNT alternative? A side-by-side comparison.
Why LivPur Wins the Battle of the Hydration Drinks
The bottom line is that LivPur offers more nutrients, a complete lineup of amino acids, and a more diverse range of electrolytes for optimal balance. The aminos and vitamins in particular offer additional support for muscle maintenance, repair, and growth.
More importantly, it uses that conservative amount of glucose to activate the sodium glucose transport system. This opens the gate to let in all of the electrolytes and nutrients, as well as the water they’re dissolved in.
This can hydrate your body two (or even three) times faster than water alone or sugar free hydration drinks. That’s really important when you find yourself reaching a new peak and need additional hydration ASAP.
Another advantage LivPur carries is that it’s suitable for a wider range of people.
There are sure to be some who can benefit from preloading with the LMNT drink. Specifically, those who notice their sweat is extremely salty or get absolutely drenched regularly.
Higher amounts of sodium may also be appropriate for out-of-shape people working for hours in the heat – as long as they have no history of hypertension or kidney problems.
But many people just don’t need that much sodium. In addition to athletes and fitness enthusiasts, those recovering from illness or who had a few too many drinks are better off using a solution like LivPur’s.
How do I know if I’m a salty sweater?
The most common sign of salty sweat is white streaks on clothing.
Many endurance athletes with exceptionally salty sweat notice it stings when it gets in their eyes. They may feel particularly bad performing in high temperatures.
Post-exercise cramping and dizziness are common in salty sweaters, and they have more difficulty recovering from a very strenuous session. They’re also known to crave salty foods afterward.
Do amino acids help hydration?
Amino acids can enhance the absorption of sodium, the most critical electrolyte for fluid balance. It does the same with water, too, so overall, they’re a great booster for rapid rehydration. Consider the muscle growth a bonus.
Read a bit more about why amino acids are important for hydration.
How to Avoid Getting Dehydrated
If you’re going to be participating in any strenuous activity, especially in warm temperatures, you can prevent dehydration before it starts.
- Two hours before heading out, mix your electrolytes with 16 ounces of water and drink
- A half an hour before, drink 12 more ounces of water
- During activity, sip on 16 more ounces of water mixed with electrolytes, plus more water if the session exceeds one hour
- After, replenish with a minimum of 16 ounces of water, adding a recovery mix if you like
There’s Always Time to Hydrate
People just don’t drink as much water as they should. If you’re an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or just had the flu, this can become risky because you need additional electrolytes as well.
In the end, the best hydration mix offers balance and diversity. With a range of nutrients, five electrolytes, and just a little bit of sugar to get things moving, Hydrate gives every cell in your body what it craves.