Nuun vs. Liquid IV: Which is Healthier?

Nuun vs. Liquid IV: Which is Healthier?


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Nuun and Liquid IV are two of the most popular electrolyte supplements in the US. Both brands market their products as an opportunity to enhance athletic performance and overall health.

But what's actually in Nuun and Liquid IV? Which brand contains more electrolytes per serving? Which brand is healthier? And how do real users compare their effects?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Nuun and Liquid IV to give our take on which electrolyte product is healthier.

We'll also feature real customer comparisons of both brands.

Ingredient Analysis — Nuun

Nuun Sport Strawberry Lemonade flavor ingredients

The ingredients in the Strawberry Lemonade flavor of Nuun Sport are shown above.

Stevia leaf extract is used as a natural sweetener, and is clinically shown to have anti-hypertensive and anti-obesity effects.

Beet juice is used as a natural, nutritious colorant.

There are three ingredients in this formulation we consider to be unhealthy.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that causes whole-body inflammatory reactions in some individuals.

Dextrose is a type of refined, added sugar, and consumption of added sugar in excess is shown in research studies to be associated with increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Natural flavor is a broad categorical descriptor that may include preservatives, according to a medical review published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal.

The electrolytes in one serving of Nuun are as follows: 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium for 13% of the Daily Value (DV), 150 mg potassium (4% DV), 25 mg magnesium (6% DV), 13 mg calcium (2% DV).

It's notable that magnesium is included in the form of magnesium oxide, which is the least-absorbable format, as we documented in our article on the best magnesium supplement.

Ingredient Analysis — Liquid IV

Liquid IV Lemon Lime flavor ingredients

The ingredients in the Lemon Lime flavor of Liquid IV are shown above.

This formulation is quite similar to that of Nuun Sport.

Stevia leaf extract is used as a natural sweetener, and natural flavors and citric acid are also included.

There are two main reasons we consider Liquid IV's formulation to be inferior:

        1. Use of synthetic vitamin additives

As we documented in our Liquid IV review article, we haven't come across any clinical evidence that B-vitamin supplementation enhances athletic performance or hydration status, nor does the brand currently cite any on their product page, so we don't understand these ingredient inclusions.

        2. Use of phosphate additives

Dipotassium phosphate is one of the ingredients in this formulation, and a 2012 medical review described phosphate additives in food as "a health risk" due to potential harm to kidneys.

The electrolytes in one serving of Liquid IV are as follows: 560 mg sodium (24% DV), 370 mg potassium (8% DV).

Overall, although we don't currently recommend either brand, we consider Nuun to be a significantly healthier and significantly superior formulation to Liquid IV due to its broader electrolyte content and lack of added phosphates and synthetic vitamin additives.

Real People Compare Nuun and Liquid IV

A YouTube creator with a running-focused channel called "I Run Things" shared her experience taking Nuun and Liquid IV:

A TikTok creator named "mileswithem44" explained why she prefers Nuun to Liquid IV:

@mileswithem44 Replying to @jorgee.runs love Nuun tablets! Liquid IV is good, but I find it a little too sugary/ sweet sometimes @nuunhydration #runtok #tiktokrunclub #runnertips #longrun #nuun #runnerthings #hydrationtips #runningfuel #runnersofitiktok #foryou ♬ original sound - Em

Our Clean Electrolyte Pick

Promix Electrolyte Drink Mix is our top electrolyte pick.

This product contains the electrolytes sodium (from Himalayan pink salt), potassium, and magnesium.

Most importantly, there are no unhealthy additives or flavorings at all.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We consider Nuun to be both healthier and more effective than Liquid IV as an electrolyte product.

Nuun Sport provides a wider range of electrolytes than Liquid IV (including magnesium and calcium), and is free of added phosphates and synthetic vitamin additives.

We don't currently recommend either product due to some inactive ingredients in both that we consider to be unhealthy.

Liquid IV may be better for intense athletic exercise due to the higher sugar content, and this sentiment was reflected in one of the user reviews that we featured in this article.