Make Your Own Pedialyte 2.0 – Full Electrolyte Replacement
Topics: DIY, Health

This ORS (oral rehydration solution) is 10 times cheaper than Pedialyte and contains a wider array of electrolytes.  Gatorade, in comparison, is a low electrolyte, high sugar mix and has nothing on this ORS besides marketing.

I wanted something to mute hangovers or to drink after a long day of sweating.  But I don’t want to spend $4 on Pedialyte or drink a gallon of sugary Gatorade.  This ORS closely follows the nutritional profile of Pedialyte.  The ingredients are similar too, excluding Pedialyte’s additives to improve solubility and shelf life.  As a powder, it is more convenient.  Compared to a $4 bottle of Pedialyte, 1 liter of this ORS costs about 41 cents!

I’m not a doctor and don’t know much about anything.  So be careful.  Nonetheless, all these ingredients are commonly used in food and safe to ingest, so I feel comfortable with these mixes.

There Are More Electrolytes Than Sodium

Almost every recipe for an ORS starts with “you need to replenish your electrolytes.”  Then, they follow the same recipe – salt, sugar, and water.  Example recipes here, here, and here.

Yet there are more electrolytes than Sodium and Chloride.  Some important electrolytes:

In my recipe, I included Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Magnesium, and Zinc.  Pedialyte includes zinc.  Zinc is lost in sweat and a deficiency is found in alcoholics.  Exercise and hangover recovery are my main uses of this ORS so adding zinc makes sense.  You can skip this and instead occasionally take a multivitamin.

(Side note – some recipes use baking soda to include sodium and bicarbonate – two important electrolytes.  Bicarbonate is secreted by the stomach but additional bicarbonate can regulate water and calcium absorption.  This is often used as a replacement [page 350] when Sodium Citrate is not available)

Electrolytes By Mass Per Compound

PowderCompoundMass of PowderElectrolytePercent by massMass of ElectrolyteRecommended Daily Allowance / AIContents of 1L PedialyteRef
Sodium ChlorideNaCl1.6gNa0.4640mg (total of 1010mg)1500mg1035mg[ref]
Sodium ChlorideNaCl1.6gCl0.6960mg2300mg1225mg[ref]
Trisodium CitrateNa3C6H5O71.38gNa0.267370mg (total of 1010mg)1500mg1035mg[ref]
Potassium CitrateC6H5K3O72gK0.383750mg4700mg780mg[ref]
Magnesium GlycinateC4H8MgN2O41.77gMg0.141250mg420mgNA[ref]
Zinc GluconateC12H22O14Zn55mgZn0.1437.8mg11mg7.8mg[ref]

This table contains the electrolytes for our ORS.  These electrolytes and minerals come in many forms.  For example, you can buy 9 different types of magnesium supplements.  I tried to mimic Pedialyte’s list of ingredients as closely as possible (using Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, and Zinc Gluconate).

 

The Recipe

IngredientQuantityLinkCost per L
Total - 20gTotal - $0.41
Sodium Chloride (Table Salt)1.6g$0.004
Trisodium Citrate1.4g[buy]$0.033
Potassium Citrate2g[buy]$0.112
Sucrose (White Sugar)10g$0.010
Flavoring (Lemonade Kool-Aid Powder)3g (half packet)[buy]$0.160
Magnesium Glycinate1.8g[buy]$0.092
Zinc Gluconate55mg[buy]$0.003

 

 

Breakdown

Sodium Chloride – Cheap source of both Sodium and Chloride.  Used in both Gatorade and Pedialyte.

Trisodium Citrate – Source of Sodium that enhances the flavor.  Found in Gatorade and Pedialyte.

Potassium Citrate – Source of Potassium found in Pedialyte.  Gatorade uses Monopotassium Phosphate which provides the electrolyte Phosphorus.

Sucrose – Table sugar.  Glucose helps with Sodium and water absorption across the intestines [ref] [ref].  You can find many differing opinions on the ratio of glucose to Sodium.  The WHO ORS [page 350] has a ratio of 7.5:1.  Rehydrate.org recommends an 8:1 mass ratio (derived from 1:1 molar ratio).  Pedialyte uses dextrose (D-glucose) and has a ratio of 24:1.  I use 10g of table sugar (sucrose) which contains 5g of glucose.  Thus my ORS’s ratio is 5:1.  Substitute sucrose for glucose to eliminate unnecessary fructose.

Flavoring – I used Kool-Aid lemonade packets for flavoring.  One packet is enough for 2 liters of ORS.  If you’re venturing enough, buy powered lemon juice.

Magnesium Glycinate – A popular and easily obtainable salt of Magnesium.

Zinc Gluconate – A popular and easily obtainable salt of Zinc.

 

Results

This ORS has a similar taste, nutritional profile, and ingredient list to Pedialyte.  It provides Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Magnesium, and Zinc.  It is powdered instead of prebottled.  It is 10x cheaper too.

Good luck and leave any thoughts or corrections in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Make Your Own Pedialyte 2.0 – Full Electrolyte Replacement

Leave a Reply