Homemade Hydration: DIY Nuun Electrolyte Replacement

You know you are supposed to hydrate.  You know sweat is salty and you should probably put some of that back in your body after a good run.  But how much?  And how?

Fortunately, there is no shortage of companies ready to sell you something that does the trick.  Traditional sports drinks like Gatorade will not only replace lost electrolytes, but they are also filled with sugar and artificial unpronounceables.  Nuun is a cool product that dissolves like an Alka Seltzer in water and skips the added sugar, but the original formula was sweetened with acesulfame potassium which might be cancer-causing.  Newer versions of Nuun include monk fruit as a sweetener, which is natural, but its safety is poorly tested.  Even if it is completely safe and natural, it’s really expensive if you use it regularly!

I received a stash of Nuun tablets at a runners’ white elephant Christmas party (along with some mini bottles to create my own Nuun cocktails!) last year and I have really enjoyed them.  But when I went to replenish my supply, I got a little sticker shock and decided to figure out how to make them on my own.

The key ingredients in Nuun or any electrolyte replacement is sodium, potassium, and magnesium.  (Calcium is added too, but in a tiny amount.)  The hands-down most important ingredient is sodium.  Researchers have found that during endurance exercise like a marathon, sodium is the only one you need.  The rest can wait for later and come from real food.

Here’s how most of the flavors of Nuun break down: 360g sodium, 100g potassium, 25g magnesium, 13g calcium.

The formula I came up with is 372.5g sodium, 87.5g potassium, and 30g magnesium.  (For now, I’m skipping the calcium.  I take a calcium pill most nights before I go to bed and that’s probably sufficient.  I suppose if I really wanted to, I could crush up a calcium pill, but I’m not too worried about it.)

It’s so simple and cheap!!  Did I mention cheap?

Get out your tiny measuring scoops and prepare to be amazed at the simplicity of this!


Add the mix to a pint of cold water and you have a refreshing, slightly salty thirst quencher.  If you need a little more flavor, add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice, or mix with an herbal tea instead.  If you need even more flavor and carbohydrates, try mixing with apple, orange, grape, or cherry juice.  Another idea is to try a squirt of some of the water enhancers that are on the market.  Usually after a run, I am so thirsty that I don’t need any flavorings.

I make a batch for the week and store them in a pill container.  You could use contact lens cases or any other small container you can think of.  I find it easier to do this once a week rather than measure after every run.

Three cheap, cheap ingredients:  baking soda, epsom salt, and Morton’s Lite Salt.  That’s it!!

So why do I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) instead of salt (sodium chloride)?  Well there is a little salt in the Lite Salt, but the main reason is that baking soda is a base and serves to neutralize acid in the body (remember those baking soda and vinegar volcanoes you made in grade school?).  Chloride is important too, but bicarbonate is “the star of the show” when it comes to restoring electrolyte balance.  And, if taken in the right dose before a race, baking soda is a proven performance enhancer.  Cool, right?

One word of warning, if you go overboard with baking soda or magnesium, your GI system will be upset with you, so try to stick to using electrolyte solutions (mine and any others) in the measured doses until you know how it effects your unique body.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Homemade Hydration: DIY Nuun Electrolyte Replacement

A simple homemade electrolyte replacement for pennies!

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  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (307mg sodium)
  • 1/16 teaspoon Morton's Lite Salt (87.5mg potassium and 72.5mg sodium)
  • 1/16 teaspoon epsom salt (30mg magnesium)
  • optional flavor such as juice, tea, stevia, or water enhancer


  1. Measure directly into 16 ounces of cold still or sparkling water or other beverage.


372.5 mg sodium 87.5 mg potassium 30 mg magnesium



29 Replies to “Homemade Hydration: DIY Nuun Electrolyte Replacement”

  1. Hi Claire, thanks for the recipe but I think you mean "mg" instead of "g" :)
    1. Oops! Thank you. I fixed it.
  2. What about potassium?
    1. Morton's Lite Salt has potassium, sodium, and small amounts of magnesium and calcium. This recipe has 87.5mg of potassium.
      1. Hi! Are you using a food grade epsom salt? Thanks 😀
        1. The kind I use does not specifically have the words "food grade," but it's approved for ingestion. Here's a great explanation of the different kinds: https://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/faq/
      2. Hey Clare, thanks for that! Have you done your calcs in grams? For a bit more precision, (as these settle, etc) could you please provide in grams? Thanks! Lizzi
  3. Can you use himalyan pink salt instead of Epsom salt?
    1. Pink salt does not have the same mineral content as epsom salt, so no, it's not a replacement. You can use it instead of table salt.
  4. […] I found a super simple recipe for making your own electrolyte drink here:  https://theplantedrunner.com/homemade-hydration-diy-nuun-electrolyte-replacement/ […]
    1. Shouldn't water be on the list of ingredients or dont you need it as you can use the juice as the liquid?
  5. This is really interesting and I'm willing to give it a shot! I wonder how they get it into a brick tablet form? Probably either bake it, or add some ingredient that binds it all together? I wonder if adding something like honey or food glue then lightly baking it would stick them into cubes, haha.
    1. Interesting ideas! Try it and let me know how it goes, Emily!
  6. Arthur Raynolds says: Reply
    Very interesting concept of making your own electrolyte. I would think using a half spoonful of honey would add the sweetness we crave plus all of the ingredients that honey contains. Off the topic, I am a firm believer of using honey both topically and internally. I was in the hospital with a bad case of cellulitus. My wife brought in a jar of Raw Manuka Honey. I slobbered all over my leg placing a plastic garbage bag under and around the leg so I would not stick to the bedding, and in two days the raw redness and swelling of the leg was shrinking and returning to normal. That seriously impressed the doctor. It was after that visit, I was tested for MRSA. They now treat me as tho I have the plague.
  7. I'm trying it this week! I rode the yearly bike ride across Iowa this year and the Nuun folks were out filling up water bottles for free. The marketing worked and I got hooked on it. Now I can make my own. The great thing is that I was wishing there was an option which was not flavored as I prefer to just have water instead of flavored things while riding. Boom...thanks much!
    1. Thanks, John! Let me know how it goes!
  8. I mixed some up today and I think it tasted pretty good by itself, not overly salty and still refreshing like good old water. I know that the intent of this is to have a DIY with regular household ingredients and I love it, but I was doing some research on Nuun and hydration in general. They use Sodium Bicarbonate along with Sodium Carbonate and Citric Acid which creates Sodium Citrate when it touches water (and gives it bubbles like Alka-Seltzer). The research I have found said that Sodium Citrate is the easiest/most efficient to digest and metabolize. Have you tried to use Sodium Citrate instead of baking powder? I'm thinking of getting some pure Magnesium Oxide, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Bicarbonate, and Calcium Carbonate through bulksupliments.com and dong some mixing.
    1. I have not tried sodium citrate, but I'd love to hear about your results! Sounds very interesting!
    2. or you could add citric acid, it is cheap too https://www.amazon.com/Food-Grade-Citric-Acid-Powder/dp/B00D50XHPC
  9. Hey Claire, have you ever thought about making these into capsules?..... Removing the need for flavouring. Im out there looking for a capsule recipe to replace buying them for extortionate prices!
    1. I hadn't thought of that, Ben, but I bet it would work. Try it and let me know!
  10. Claire, I’ve been an MD and a high school Chemistry teacher. Found your site intriguing and cost-conscious, not to mention efficient. I struggled with muscular cramps after 3-4 hours cycling or 10+ miles running. Have had tremendous improvements in decreased cramps & longer sustainability in exercise with your well-thought out concoction. I usually take a double dose before working out, then a single dose after. I have told all my friends in the the community and they think you’re incredible. Appreciate immensely your post and the feedback!!!!
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Matt! I'm so glad that my recipes have worked for you and I sincerely appreciate the feedback.
  11. […] I found a super simple recipe for making your own electrolyte drink here:  http://theplantedrunner.com/homemade-hydration-diy-nuun-electrolyte-replacement/ […]
  12. Arismely Duverge says: Reply
    Thank you for putting out this information. I feel I need more electrolytes but not willing to go broke with more supplement so this idea is just right. Do you think I can mix this with a bcaa supplement I already take or would that affect the efficiency of any of the two?
  13. Question: My wife and I are on a keto-type diet and are experiencing the leg cramps. Love the inexpensive, home-made recipe!! We fill our gallon jug for the day and was wondering if we were to add this to our gallon, would that be sufficient for the day or would it dilute it down to far to be effective. Additionally, if we still experience cramps should we "up the dose". Thank you!!
    1. Cramps are sometimes caused by an electrolyte imbalance but not always. Try it out and see!
  14. Amy L Wressell says: Reply
    Thanks so much for posting, I can no longer tolerate acidic food or drinks and all electrolyte drinks have citric acid. Electrolyte replacement is so important cycling in Az, so this will be really useful and cost effective. Can't wait to try it!
    1. Glad you found this, Amy! Let me know what you think after you try it.

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