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Liquid IV vs NUUN: How These Electrolytes Stack Up (+Where They Fall Short)

If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of Liquid IV vs NUUN, you’ve come to the right place. Roughly 85% of Americans get their sodium from less than ideal sources, like refined salts in food and the “mined table salt” used in most hydration supplements (1).

So the question is, are NUUN and Liquid IV up to snuff? In this article, we show you how they stack up, mono-y-mono, and call out some areas where they both missed the mark... Let the hydration games begin!

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Liquid IV vs NUUN: How These Electrolytes Stack Up (+Where They Fall Short)

Liquid IV vs NUUN Pros & Cons

Liquid IV

Pros:

  • Effective hydration blend
  • Meets the World Health Organization’s “Oral Rehydration Solution” guidelines
  • Uses high-quality cane sugar to support electrolyte absorption
  • Non-GMO, Soy-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Only works in water
  • Powder can be messy and easy to spill
  • Excessive plastic waste, including single-serving plastics
  • Does not use environmentally-friendly packaging
  • Contains highly-processed ingredients, like dextrose, silicon dioxide, stevia, bleaching compounds, and mined salt

NUUN

Pros:

  • Dozens of flavors
  • Broad range of products, including pre-workout and special formulations for rest & recovery
  • Less plastic waste than Liquid IV
  • Contains 10-20 servings per package, depending on the product
  • Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Kosher, Vegan

Cons:

  • Only works in water
  • Tablets take 2+ minutes to fully dissolve
  • Excessive plastic waste, including single-serving plastics
  • Does not use environmentally-friendly packaging
  • Contains highly-processed ingredients, like dextrose, Stevia and sodium carbonate

Liquid IV In-Depth Review

Liquid IV claims to use a breakthrough “Cellular Transport Technology (CTT).” Is that just a fancy marketing slogan? Maybe.

Apparently, their formula is based on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution guidelines (2). In other words, Liquid IV is supposed to be a drinkable version of the same stuff that’s in your IV bag at the hospital. How does it work? In the body, sodium, potassium, and glucose need to be present in the right ratios in order to allow water to enter the cells, otherwise, the water you drink will just pass right through you.

Liquid IV’s formula for better hydration is: SODIUM + POTASSIUM + GLUCOSE = HYDRATION

The cane sugar (glucose) in Liquid IV triggers a special mechanism in the intestinal lining called a “glucose transporter.” This mechanism allows water and electrolytes to enter the cell more quickly. However, sugar isn’t all rainbows and puppy dogs...it also acts as fuel for bad gut bacteria, weakens the gut lining, promotes inflammation, and increases the risk of diabetes, cancer, and a host of other illnesses (3). In other words, the added hydration boost comes at a cost.

All Liquid IV products contain essential vitamins for energy and immune support, including Vitamin C, B3, B5, B6, and B12. Now let’s take a closer look at their full line of products and see how they stack up:

1. Hydration Multiplier

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier is their original formula. Like all of their products, it contains 3x the electrolytes as traditional sports drinks, including potassium citrate, the mineral that’s responsible for maintaining fluid balance in the body. Each serving contains 11 g of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 16-count individual serving sticks per package
  • Flavors: Lemon Lime, Passionfruit, Acai Berry

2. Energy Multiplier

Liquid IV Energy Multiplier contains 100 mg of caffeine per serving --- made from organic green tea extract and guayusa, a type of caffeinated holly tree from the Amazon. Green tea and guayusa are packed with antioxidants to protect the cells against oxidation. Liquid IV Energy Multiplier also contains ginger to reduce inflammation and support digestion (4). Each serving contains 8 g of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Caffeinated
  • 14-count individual serving sticks per package
  • Flavors: Lemon Ginger

3. Sleep Multiplier

Liquid IV Sleep Multiplier contains relaxing ingredients like melatonin, valerian root, and L-theanine. Surprisingly, though, it does not contain magnesium, one of the most important electrolytes for relaxation and anxiety reduction (5). Each serving contains 3.5 g of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 10-count individual serving sticks per package
  • Flavors: Blueberry Lavender

NUUN In-Depth Review

NUUN markets itself as an electrolyte brand that’s designed for athletes but made for everyone. One thing is for sure: NUUN has a more extensive product line, including formulations for recovery, immunity, rest, pre-workout, and endurance. Several products, including NUUN Endurance and NUUN Sport, have caffeinated versions made with organic green tea extract.

Some formulas use a plant-based sweetener, called Stevia, and others use cane sugar (although not necessarily in the ideal ratio like Liquid IV). However, all of their formulas contain dextrose, a highly-processed sweetener that’s bad for the gut.

Products come in dissolvable tablets or loose powder. The tablets take roughly 2-3 minutes to dissolve, so if you’re in a hurry, it’s best to go with NUUN Instant or one of the other powdered varieties.

NUUN is one of the biggest brands in the hydration game. Let’s see if they live up to the hype:

1. NUUN Sport

NUUN Sport is their original formula. It contains sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, and calcium carbonate, with a total of 300mg of sodium, 150 mg of potassium, 25 mg of magnesium, and 13 mg of calcium, plus 1 gram of sugar per serving.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated or caffeinated
  • 10 dissolvable tablets per tube
  • Flavors: Cherry-Limeade + Caffeine, Fresh Lime + Caffeine, Lemon Lime, Grape, Fruit Punch, Citrus Fruit

2. NUUN Endurance

NUUN Endurance contains more electrolytes than NUUN Sport, including 200mg of potassium to prevent muscle cramps (that’s 33% more than NUUN Sport). It also contains 6x the calories as NUUN Sport along with 15 grams of sugar per serving.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated or caffeinated
  • Small sachets: 12 servings per package
  • Large canisters: 20 servings per canister
  • Flavors: Lemon Lime (canisters & sachets), Citrus Mango (canisters & sachets), Strawberry Lemonade + Caffeine (canisters & sachets)

3. NUUN Prime

NUUN Prime is a pre-workout mix designed to get you pumped and nutritionally-prepped for the gym. In addition to electrolytes, it contains BCAAs to fuel your muscles and ginseng for energy. Each serving contains 4 grams of sugar (6).

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated or caffeinated
  • Small sachets: 12 servings per package
  • Large canisters: 20 servings per canister
  • Flavors: Fresh Berry (canisters & sachets), Orange + Caffeine (canisters & sachets)

4. NUUN Recover

NUUN Recover is a post-workout mix designed to replenish the body’s electrolytes after you’ve sweated them all out, including a massive 500 mg of potassium. To support muscle recovery, there are 5 grams of vegan BCAAs and 6 grams of protein. Each serving contains 4 grams of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated or caffeinated
  • Small sachets: 12 servings per package
  • Large canisters: 20 servings per canister
  • Flavors: Blackberry Lemon (canisters & sachets), Lemonade (canisters & sachets)

5. NUUN Rest

NUUN Rest has less sodium than NUUN Sport, but contains a whopping 6x the magnesium! Research shows that magnesium can speed recovery and may even boost exercise performance by enhancing glucose availability in the brain. (7) NUUN Rest also contains tart cherry powder for reducing inflammation and supporting cellular recovery. Each serving has 1 gram of sugar (vs 3.5 g in Liquid IV Sleep Multiplier).

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 10 dissolvable tablets per tube
  • Flavors: Blackberry Vanilla, Lemon Chamomile

6. NUUN Vitamin

NUUN Vitamin is exactly what it sounds like...a dissolvable multivitamin tablet for your fizzy drinking pleasure. It contains vitamins A, C, D, and E. Each serving has 2 grams of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 12 dissolvable tablets per tube
  • Flavors: Blackberry Vanilla, Lemon Chamomile

7. NUUN Immunity

NUUN Immunity is loaded with key immune-boosters, including 200 mg of vitamin C, 5 mg of zinc, and 20 mcg of the antioxidant selenium. It also contains an herbal blend of elderberry extract, organic turmeric, organic ginger, and echinacea purpurea, all of which are proven to support a stronger immune system. Each serving contains 2 g of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 10 dissolvable tablets per tube
  • Flavors: Blueberry Tangerine, Orange Citrus

8. NUUN Instant

NUUN Instant is designed for maximum hydration, with 520 mg of sodium and 365 mg of potassium. It also contains 100% daily value of vitamin C and B12, a nutrient that’s known for its fast-acting energy (8). Each serving contains 5 g of sugar.

Product Specs:

  • Non-caffeinated
  • 8-count individual serving packets
  • 4-sachet instant sampler pack
  • Flavors: Lemon Lime, Watermelon

Other Hydration Alternatives?

These options seem okay...but what if you wanted to:

  • Add your electrolytes to something other than water?
  • Avoid processed ingredients and artificial flavorings?
  • Put only the highest-quality minerals into your body?

The problem is, both NUUN and Liquid IV fall short here. So are you stuck up dehydration-creek without a paddle? Nope, not today...

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Buoy Hydration uses the cleanest ingredients you can source, all in a flavorless liquid supplement that you can add to any drink. They vet their suppliers to make sure they aren’t sneaking unhealthy fillers into their products. Believe it or not, vitamin and mineral suppliers don’t have to disclose it if they’re using maltodextrin, an artificial food additive that ends up in a lot of “healthy” and “clean” ingredients.

Buoy uses all-natural sea salt that contains 87 micronutrients and trace minerals. It also contains a colossal 40 servings per bottle, all with zero sugar and zero calories.

Buoy is also carbon neutral and uses 100% Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials in their packaging. Plus, they hook-up the community by donating more per serving than any other electrolyte brand.

Buoy is also proven to make you look sexier, run faster, grow wings and fly...okay, maybe that last part wasn’t true, but the rest is keeping it 100. Learn more about easy-squeezy, flavorless hydration that you can add to any drink.

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Keywords:

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References:

  1. https://justaddbuoy.com/
  2. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-FCH-CAH-06.1
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379072/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102849/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622706/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
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