Electrolyte elixir

Electrolyte elixir

Need a pick-me-up? Then mix up this salty elixir. With luscious lemon for potassium and flavor, plus magnesium and salt, it restores your electrolytes, gives you a lift, and helps keep headaches and muscle cramps at bay.

Electrolyte elixir

Need a pick-me-up? Then mix up this salty elixir. With luscious lemon for potassium and flavor, plus magnesium and salt, it restores your electrolytes, gives you a lift, and helps keep headaches and muscle cramps at bay.
USMetric
4 servingservings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups 2 liters water
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ½ tsp magnesium
  • ½ cup 125 ml fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

Instructions are for 4 servings. Please modify as needed.

  1. Mix in a 2-quart pitcher. Stir well before pouring each serving.

Servings

This original recipe makes 2 quarts or 4 servings (4 days for 1 person). Each serving is 2 cups. You probably don’t need more than 1 serving (2 cups) per day. The rest of the time, drink plain water or an unsweetened beverage of your choice.

More details

Salt (to replace sodium)

How much is right for you? More if you sweat a lot; less if you don’t.
½ teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg of sodium, or 288 mg per serving
1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg of sodium, or 575 mg per serving
2 teaspoons of salt = 4,600 mg of sodium, or 1,150 mg per serving

Magnesium

Magnesium (to replace magnesium and prevent muscle cramps)

Options: Powdered magnesium citrate (if constipated) or magnesium glycinate (also called bisglycinate)
How much? Start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase by 1/8 teaspoon per 2 quarts of water – up to 1 teaspoon per 2 quarts — until you reach the amount that resolves symptoms.

Check product labels for magnesium content. For powdered magnesium citrate:
¼ teaspoon = 832 mg magnesium, or 208 mg per serving
1 teaspoon = 3,328 mg magnesium, or 832 mg per serving

Lemon juice (to replace potassium)

Lemon juice is a natural way to get potassium. It is easy to overdo potassium in supplement form; lemon juice provides just enough to replenish potassium.
½ cup lemon juice = 128 mg potassium, or 32 mg per serving

Optional

If you find the taste of the rehydration drink unpleasant on its own, add enough no-calorie sweetener or natural flavoring to make it palatable. You won’t drink it if you don’t like the way it tastes! Natural flavorings include lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange crystal packets with no sweetener, such as those made by True Citrus, or stevia-sweetened flavor packets made by Sweet Leaf. You can learn more about sweeteners in our evidence-based guide.

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17 comments

  1. Venencia
    When I drink this drink my muscle aches and back pain disappear. I guess I was lacking some of the minerals. Thank you so much for the recipe.
  2. Shirley Devlin
    What is the difference between magnesium citrate and magnesium malate?
    Reply: #3
  3. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    What is the difference between magnesium citrate and magnesium malate?

    Different forms of magnesium are absorbed differently and have different reactions in the body. Mag citrate is good to alleviate constipation and mag glycinate is good to alleviate cramps. Mag malate may not be absorbed as well in the body.

  4. carriesurprenant
    I'm a little confused by this. Can it be taken during a fast or does it break the fast?
    Reply: #5
  5. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I'm a little confused by this. Can it be taken during a fast or does it break the fast?

    The lemon and any sweetener may break a fast but you can drink this with a meal if you feel the need for additional electrolytes.

  6. LeRoy
    What is a good brand of mag glycinate?
    Reply: #7
  7. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    What is a good brand of mag glycinate?

    There is a brand called KAL that is available through Amazon.

  8. Paula
    I don't understand how there are 2g net carbs in a mineral drink, presume it's the citrus juice? I have stalled weight loss since starting electrolyte supplements 4 weeks ago and wondering now if this is the reason?
  9. derrick.farnell
    Does the 0.5 tsp magnesium apply to powdered magnesium carbonate:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-Calm-Superior-Magnesium-Powder/dp/B0...

    ?

    The above only refers to magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate.

    Reply: #10
  10. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Does the 0.5 tsp magnesium apply to powdered magnesium carbonate:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-Calm-Superior-Magnesium-Powder/dp/B0...
    ?
    The above only refers to magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate.

    This product includes citric acid which when combined with the magnesium carbonate yields magnesium citrate.

  11. melyod57
    This is strangely addictive. Can it be used as a substitute for so called sports drinks for endurance exercise such as 3 hours plus bike rides?
    Reply: #12
  12. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    This is strangely addictive. Can it be used as a substitute for so called sports drinks for endurance exercise such as 3 hours plus bike rides?

    Yes, it sure can! Most sports drinks contain artificial colors and sweeteners that we recommend avoiding.

  13. jennifer.wyborn
    Can I drink this all day instead of water or is there a point where you have too much?
    Reply: #14
  14. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    Can I drink this all day instead of water or is there a point where you have too much?

    At 2 carbs per serving, it would be best to drink this mixture as needed.

  15. Heidi
    Be careful with drinking lemon water frequently, especially if sipping it over a period of time. The prolonged contact of the diluted lemon juice with teeth, especially when it's not consumed as a part of a meal, can erode the tooth surface -- and this cannot be recovered. Fifteen years ago, when I lived outside of the US, a dentist I went to for a routine cleaning/checkup said that she couldn't believe the American "health" craze for sipping lemon water all day long, since it was so destructive for the tooth enamel. I had already lost a lot of my enamel for my age, and she told me to fiercely protect the enamel that I had remaining. Her clinic had a printed handout with tips for protecting the enamel, and it was one of the instructions to limit sipping on this sort of real-citrus-juice (lemon/lime/orange) beverage. Please speak to your dentist if you have any questions about the risk to your tooth enamel of frequently drinking water (or any other beverage) that is liberally flavored with real lemon juice, especially when it's not drunk as a part of a meal.

    Also, at 32 mg per serving, it does not sound as if the lemon juice in this would really do a whole lot to boost one's daily potassium intake, since the RDA/Adequate Intake for potassium is around 3,000 mg for an adult:
    from wikipedia: "The U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM), on behalf of both the U.S. and Canada, sets Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), or Adequate Intakes (AIs) for when there is not sufficient information to set EARs and RDAs. Collectively the EARs, RDAs, AIs and ULs are referred to as Dietary Reference Intakes. [...] In 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine revised the AI for potassium to 2,600 mg/day for females 19 years and older and 3,400 mg/day for males 19 years and older."

    As lovely as lemon water is, I don't think the 1% gain of the potassium RDA (32 mg) is worth the risk to one's irreplaceable tooth enamel.

    (I am not totally against lemon water -- about once a month, I will have a slice of lemon in 8 ounces of sparkling water along with a meal, and I savor it!)

    Reply: #16
  16. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor
    Thanks for the feedback, Heidi!
  17. Mandy Hemmingsen
    What if you get both, constipation and cramps.
    Is there a mag powder for both?

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