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Does Water Have Electrolytes Naturally?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/14/2024

Does water have electrolytes naturally? While most bottled and tap water contains some trace amounts of electrolytes, relying on drinking water to replace lost electrolytes can leave you at risk of deficiencies. 

Learn how to maintain electrolyte balance and discover why drinking plain water may not be the best way to stay hydrated. 

Mineral water poured into a glass

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes, such as chloride, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, are a group of minerals that carry a small electric charge when dissolved in a fluid. 

Due to their electrical energy, electrolytes can generate electrical currents, which play a crucial role in regulating and maintaining various physiological functions. 

Here are some critical functions of electrolytes:

  • Regulate fluid balance and blood pressure

  • Conduct nerve signal transmission 

  • Facilitate energy production and energy storage

  • Maintain pH balance of different body parts 

  • Control muscle function 

  • Activate various metabolic and digestive enzymes 

  • Enable cellular nutrient exchange and waste removal

Research published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that electrolytes work in synergy, and maintaining balanced electrolyte levels is associated with a lower risk of muscle cramps, dehydration, and cardiovascular disease.

Electrolyte imbalances can lead to various health issues. For example, elevated sodium levels in combination with low potassium concentrations can lead to high blood pressure. 

In contrast, a high potassium-to-sodium ratio in the body helps decrease blood pressure and is linked to a significantly lower risk of stroke, kidney stones, and insulin resistance. 

Human mitochondria

Benefits of electrolytes 

It’s generally well-known that electrolytes maintain fluid balance and help prevent dehydration. 

Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, regulate fluid absorption into the body and facilitate the movement of water into and out of cells.

Drinking plain water without adequate electrolyte concentrations can cause fluids to pass through the digestive tract without being effectively absorbed. This explains why you can be dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water

However, there are several other health benefits of electrolytes beyond fluid regulation:

  • Support a healthy nervous system and brain function

  • Boost energy levels 

  • Help speed up digestion 

  • Promote a relaxed muscle tone 

  • Support relaxation and restful sleep

  • Enhance skeletal health  

Watch the video below to learn why drinking water isn’t the best way to stay hydrated. 

Does water contain electrolytes naturally?

While pure and distilled water is devoid of electrolytes, natural water that comes into contact with minerals and salts in rocks or soil can be a source of small amounts of electrolytes. 

However, bottled or tap water typically doesn’t contain enough electrolytes to promote optimal electrolyte balance.

Electrolyte-enhanced water products such as alkaline water or electrolyte-enriched mineral waters have become increasingly popular in recent years. 

While these types of water contain significantly higher amounts of electrolytes than tap water, relying only on drinking water to support healthy levels can lead to electrolyte imbalances or deficiencies.

Electrolyte powder

4 ways to replenish electrolytes

Research conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute found that many people don’t consume enough electrolyte minerals, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium, leaving a large proportion of the population at risk of electrolyte imbalances. 

While it may seem convenient to use a sports drink to replenish electrolytes, pre-mixed isotonic electrolyte drinks are often packed with sugar and caffeine, explaining why sports drinks can cause weight gain and dehydration

Here are four ways to replenish electrolytes.

1. Electrolyte powder 

Sugar-free electrolyte powders are an excellent alternative to sports drinks and promote balanced electrolyte levels and optimal fluid balance.

“While endurance athletes may benefit from replacing lost sodium, most individuals obtain enough sodium from table salt,” explains Dr. Berg. “ I generally recommend electrolyte powders that contain at least 1,000 milligrams of potassium and around 40 milligrams of sodium per serving.”   


Electrolyte powders are available in various flavors and can be mixed with water to make an easy electrolyte drink or added to smoothies, shakes, or yogurt. 

2. Electrolyte-rich foods

Contrary to common belief, bananas are not the best source of potassium

Beet tops, lima beans, avocados, Brussels sprouts, and salmon are some of the best dietary potassium sources.

The best magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, almonds, Swiss chard, avocados, spinach, leafy greens, and dark chocolate. 

The top calcium food sources are leafy green vegetables, cheese, tahini, sesame seeds, and sardines, especially if consumed with their bones.  

3. Homemade electrolyte drinks

You can make a homemade electrolyte drink by blending berries, avocado, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, pink Himalayan salt, and water.

Making your own homemade electrolyte drink is an excellent way to promote optimal electrolyte balance without added sugars, excessive sodium, or artificial ingredients often found in conventional sports drinks. 

4. Bone broth 

Bone broth is highly nutritious and a good source of electrolytes, including potassium, chloride, and magnesium.

Bone broth may be especially beneficial to replenish lost electrolytes after gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or vomiting and for individuals with malabsorption issues. 

Woman with a leg cramp

Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance

Maintaining proper electrolyte balance plays a crucial role in the normal functioning of almost every cell in the human body. Unsurprisingly, electrolyte imbalance or electrolyte depletion can result in a wide range of health issues. 

Here are common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance:

  • Muscle cramps and tension

  • High blood pressure 

  • Fatigue

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Nausea

  • Digestive issues  

  • Dizziness

  • Sleep issues

  • Confusion and brain fog

While mild electrolyte imbalances can be managed at home with electrolyte powders or oral rehydration solution, severe electrolyte depletion can be life-threatening and typically is associated with kidney problems, liver disease, or prolonged intense exercise, especially in hot weather.

If you suddenly develop symptoms of acute electrolyte depletion, such as muscle weakness, paralysis, extreme thirst, dry mucous membranes, elevated body temperature, or very dark urine, it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately.

Woman drinking electrolyte water

Key takeaways

Does water have electrolytes naturally? No, plain water doesn’t contain electrolytes, and most types of bottled water won’t provide enough electrolytes to maintain optimal levels.

Electrolytes play a critical role in various physiological functions, and using a sugar-free electrolyte powder to replenish lost electrolytes is an excellent strategy to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance.  


1. Does water have electrolytes naturally?

No, plain water doesn’t have electrolytes naturally. While some types of mineral or tap water contain small amounts of electrolytes, drinking water won’t be enough to promote optimal electrolyte levels.   

2. Is it better to hydrate with plain water or electrolyte water?

Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, are needed to absorb water into the body and facilitate the movement of fluids into and out of cells.

Drinking plain water without adequate electrolyte concentrations can result in fluids simply passing through the digestive tract without being effectively absorbed, which explains why you can be dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water. 

3. What is the best drink to replace electrolytes?

The best drink to replace electrolytes is an electrolyte drink prepared with a sugar-free electrolyte powder that contains at least 1,000 milligrams of potassium and around 40 milligrams of sodium per serving. 

4. Does bottled water contain electrolytes?

Yes, some types of bottled water contain electrolytes. However, the electrolyte content of bottled and mineral water can vary greatly, and most types don’t deliver adequate amounts of electrolytes to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance. 

5. How do I know if I need more electrolytes?

Symptoms such as muscle cramps, high blood pressure, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, poor blood sugar control, sleep issues, and restlessness can indicate electrolyte imbalances. 

In addition, individuals with diabetes or gastrointestinal conditions and those who consume a high-carb diet are at increased risk of electrolyte imbalances and generally benefit from taking electrolytes. 

6. How often should you drink electrolyte water?

It’s recommended to incorporate electrolytes into your daily routine to maintain optimal electrolyte balance and counteract electrolyte loss through urine and sweat.

7. Are electrolyte drinks good for you?

Yes, electrolyte drinks are an excellent way to promote balanced electrolyte levels and prevent deficiencies. 

However, it’s best to avoid pre-mixed sports drinks, which have been linked to excessive body weight due to their high sugar content. Instead, use a sugar-free electrolyte powder, homemade electrolyte drinks, or bone broth to replenish electrolytes. 


  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/12/20/6677 

  2. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview 

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