Most "electrolyte waters" sold in the stores use two or more of the following ingredients: sodium (from salt), potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These are the four main electrolytes in the body (plus chloride), so it stands to reason that they are included. However, in my formulation, I exclude calcium because most Americans already consume twice the amount recommended by the WHO (i.e. World Health Organization). Also, I add Vitamin C to the mix.
- One gallon distilled water. Equal to 128 fluid ounces. There are 16 cups (i.e. 8 oz per cup) in a gallon of water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt. I use Morton Canning and Pickling Salt because it has no additives. One teaspoon of salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium.
- Add 1 teaspoon of magnesium. I use Magnesium Chloride, Hexahydrate, Pharmaceutical Grade (on Amazon) which completely dissolves in water in seconds as compared to magnesium citrate which takes several hours. One teaspoon of Magnesium Chloride contains 501 mg of magnesium.
- Add 1 teaspoon of potassium. I use Potassium Chloride Powder (food grade) purchased wherever I can find it the cheapest. I typically will order a 1 kg (2.2 lb) quantity from Amazon.com, but Walmart.com will occasionally have it on sale. One teaspoon of Potassium Chloride is equivalent to 2,920 mg of potassium.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of Vitamin C. I use Sodium Ascorbate Powder (food grade) purchased wherever I can find it the cheapest. I have purchased from Amazon.com, eBay.com, and Walmart.com on different occasions. I usually buy a 1 kg (2.2 lb) quantity. One Tablespoon of Sodium Ascorbate is equivalent to 13,200 mg of vitamin C. An 8 oz glass of this one gallon formulation would therefore contain 825 mg of vitamin C--i.e. 13,200 divided by 16 cups.
- Suggestion: Pour into smaller, more convenient containers (i.e. 16, 24, or 32 oz. water bottles) to use throughout the day.
- Distilled water. You can purchase distilled water from any grocery store for very cheap. However, to save money in the long run, you can make your own distilled water using a water distiller. Search for "water distillers" on the Walmart.com site and you will get a list of distillers for sale. The one we purchased was the VEVOR Countertop Water Distiller for under a $100. It's been working for us for over two years (as of January, 2021) without a flaw. I transfer the distilled water to one gallon glass jugs purchased on Amazon.com. If you consume a lot of distilled water, then consider purchasing two machines.
- Distiller - cost per gallon of water. The VEVOR Countertop Water Distiller consumes 3,000 watts to produce one gallon of distilled water--i.e. it takes 4 hours at 750 watts per hour to produce one gallon. Assuming your electricity costs 12 cents per kWh, then the cost to produce one gallon of distilled water is 36 cents (see Electricity Bill Calculator to compute the cost). Typically, distilled water sold in the stores is more than double that price.
- Whole house distiller. No experience with these, but might consider iSpring RCS5T 500 GPD Commercial Grade Tankless Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System at some point in the future.
- Sodium. One teaspoon of salt (NaCl) is approximately 4.2 grams which equates to 2,325 mg of sodium (Na). In a gallon of water, one teaspoon of salt is a mild saline solution which should not be a problem for those on a low-sodium diet. A normal saline solution (found in blood, tears and other body fluids) has 9 grams of salt (NaCl) in a liter of water and is six times as salty as the electrolyte formulation I use. For reference see under "Isotonicity" in Tonicity and under "Normal" in Saline (medicine). Keep in mind that if you sweat a lot (due to hot weather or intense exercise), you can lose as much as 1,000 mg of sodium per hour. If you lose too much sodium, you can experience a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, and poor balance. When this condition is severe it can include confusion, seizures, and coma. "Hyponatremia occurs in about 20% of those admitted to a hospital and 10% of people during or after an endurance sporting event." The average daily consumption of sodium (Na) in the U.S. is 4,300 mg for men and 2,900 mg for women.
- Salt. Morton Canning and Pickling Salt is a pure granulated salt which does not contain potassium iodide, dextrose or any anti-caking agent. In other words, it does not contain any additives. Please note that since there is no anti-caking agent added, it may form lumps in humid weather or if exposed to moisture. In other words, keep it in an airtight glass container to prevent lumping.
- Salt additives. Salts (table or cooking) with the fewest additives lists the ingredients of most common salts. For example, Morton Iodized Salt contains calcium silicate (<0.5%), dextrose (0.04% or 40 mg per 100 grams of salt), and potassium iodide. Calcium silicate is a white, odorless, tasteless, anti-caking agent with no nutritional characteristics. Anti-caking agents absorb moisture inside the package that would otherwise be absorbed by the salt. In this manner, it allows salt to keep its free-flowing characteristics. Dextrose is added to prevent iodide from being oxidized and escaping as a purple-pink gas. Iodine is added to the salt to prevent goiter. Potassium iodide makes up 0.006% to 0.01% of table salt by weight which is equivalent to 0.0046% to 0.0077% iodine.
- Sufficient iodine intake. Iodized salt in the U.S. contains 45 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt. The recommended daily intake for adults is 150 micrograms, which can be obtained from about one-half to three-quarters of a teaspoon of table salt. However, the Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans, due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, without harm. See also: Iodine Supplements and Dosages.
- Amount of magnesium in a teaspoon. If you use Magnesium Chloride, Hexahydrate, Pharmaceutical Grade (on Amazon), then you get 501 mg of magnesium per teaspoon. If you use Magnesium Citrate Powder (on Amazon), then you get 840 mg of magnesium per teaspoon. If you use ReMag (on Amazon), then you get 300 mg of magnesium per teaspoon.
- Percentage of magnesium in supplements. The amount of magnesium in magnesium sulfate (MgSO4 or Epsom salt) is 19.8%, of magnesium citrate (C6H6MgO7) 11.2%, and of magnesium chloride hexahydrate (MgCl2 6H20) 11.8%. Magnesium chloride is the better supplement of the ones listed, per this commentary: Magnesium Chloride - The Master Magnesium Compound.
- Amount of potassium in a teaspoon. If you use Potassium Chloride Powder, then you get 2,920 mg of potassium per teaspoon. There is no RDA for potassium other than an AI (Adequate Intake) suggestion of 4,700 mg for both men and women. Most Americans consume only half that amount per day (see Potassium - Dietary recommendations).