What is the “correct” sodium:potassium ratio for electrolytes?

There is no one “correct” ratio for everyone because what a person needs depends on many factors and every person’s individual needs are different.

We’ve received a lot of questions lately related to the sodium:potassium ratio in Re-Lyte and whether it “should” have more sodium or a lot more potassium. Electrolyte drinks and powders on the market vary widely. We’re aware of formulas that range from 5:1 sodium to potassium to 100:1 potassium to sodium. 

The various reasons can be really confusing and what is best for a particular person depends on many factors. You and your doctor are in the best position to know what is right for you and sometimes it takes a little trial and error to figure that out. That said, here’s a summary of our take:  

  • A lot of unprocessed foods have potassium. You can get much of the potassium you need from eating a natural diet, but many if not most people do need a little more. 
  • If you’re not eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), you likely need more sodium because you’re not eating high-salt, processed foods.  
  • On average, about 93% of sodium intake is excreted in urine (this can be higher or lower, based on various factors). 
  • The sodium:potassium ratio in sweat varies based on the person, fitness level, environment, exercise intensity, activity level, and other factors. Articles, research, and studies suggest that the ratio of sodium to potassium in sweat can be anywhere from 3:1 to 15:1 (sodium to potassium).  
  • HOWEVER, electrolytes aren’t just for athletes. Our bodies constantly process and need to replenish, whether we’re intentionally exercising or living a busy life of work, errands, kids, yardwork, etc.  
  • Re-Lyte’s mix of 800 mg sodium to 400 mg potassium is ideal (yes, we’re biased!) for both exercise and everyday hydration because it has enough sodium to replace what you’re naturally losing, whether from an intense workout or daily activities, and extra potassium to supplement your already healthy diet. 
  • Every body is different and sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find what feels best for you. We wish it were easier, but we’re glad there are lots of options for everyone to find what’s best for their situation.