LMNT Review: Healthier Than Liquid IV?

LMNT Review: Healthier Than Liquid IV?


| |
| |

LMNT is an electrolyte drink mix which claims to provide electrolytes in a "science-backed ratio." The brand is positioned as a healthier alternative to commercial electrolyte blends.

But is LMNT actually healthier than popular electrolyte drinks like Liquid IV? What ingredients does it contain and are they safe? Is there really an optimal ratio of electrolyte intake? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of LMNT?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in LMNT based on medical research to give our take on whether the product is healthy or not.

We'll also compare it to Liquid IV, share our concerns with some of the health claims on the LMNT website, and highlight real, unsponsored user reviews of LMNT.

Ingredient Analysis

LMNT ingredients

The ingredients list above is from the Citrus Salt flavor of LMNT.

Magnesium, potassium and sodium are electrolytes, and a medical review published in the Nutrients journal found that electrolyte supplementation can enhance athletic performance, because it replenishes nutrients lost through sweat.

In our opinion, the need for electrolyte products is greater in elite athletes. For the average gym-goer who spends 30 minutes on a bike, it seems like a waste of money in our opinion.

This formulation contains two questionable additives that health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavoring agent shown in a 2018 medical review to cause inflammatory reactions in some people. This ingredient can be derived from citrus fruits, but the majority of it used in food manufacturing is derived from a fungus called Aspergillus niger.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical term that fails to describe the chemical compounds used as flavoring agents. As we documented in our Vitapod reviews article, some clinical research suggests that there are toxicity concerns regarding natural flavors.

We don't recommend any of the flavored versions of LMNT due to the additive ingredients referenced above, but the brand does sell a "Raw Unflavored" version free of citric acid and natural flavors. This is the product we'd recommend to consumers interested in trying LMNT.

Is There an "Optimal" Electrolyte Ratio?

LMNT electrolyte ratio

All flavors of LMNT provide 1,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium, 200 mg of potassium and 60 mg of magnesium.

As we referenced in the intro to this article, LMNT describes this as a science-backed ratio but doesn't provide any citations proving that this ratio is superior to any other ratio of electrolytes.

Electrolyte needs vary drastically individual-to-individual, so we consider the idea that there is any one dose or ratio that's optimal to be unscientific. An Olympic athlete training for six hours daily and losing significant amounts of electrolytes through sweat will need more supplemental electrolytes than someone who goes to the gym a few times a week to lift weights and barely breaks a sweat (this person may need none).

Someone on a keto diet may need more supplemental sodium than the average person, and someone on a carnivore diet may need more supplemental magnesium than the average person.

LMNT also makes strange health claims in regard to salt intake, shown below, that we consider to be potentially dangerous.

LMNT health claims about salt

The brand claims that the "optimal" intake of salt is around 300% of the FDA recommendation.

While we agree that governmental recommendations on salt intake are questionable and the approach should be individualized, it's medically documented that some individuals are sensitive to salt intake, meaning salt can cause significant increases in blood pressure in those people.

Salt intake as high as 7 grams (g) per day may be fine for an elite athlete with blood pressure in a healthy range, but it may not be fine for a sedentary and hypertensive patient.

We consider LMNT's broad recommendation for such a high salt intake in general to be highly misguided and dangerous, and we hope that the brand removes it or at least advises patients to speak with their doctor prior to adopting such a radical dietary change.

We don't have a recommendation for salt intake, because such population-level recommendations are illogical in our opinion. The optimal salt intake will vary significantly person-to-person based on factors like hydration, diet, exercise and genetics, and this should be discussed with a doctor or dietitian.

We Tried LMNT – Our Take

LMNT UGC

As one of the authors of this article (Calloway), I wanted to try LMNT myself to give my take on its taste and effects.

I recently started playing tennis outdoors, and typically play for hours at a time and sweat a lot.

I mixed an unflavored LMNT into my water bottle prior to playing, and the interesting thing is that I disliked the taste at first (because it tasted like lukewarm saltwater), but as I began to sweat significantly the mix just tasted like regular water (probably because my body was depleted of sodium).

I've also tried some of the flavored versions and I liked the taste better, but if I were to purchase this product again I'd go with the unflavored version for health reasons.

I feel like I experienced greater athletic endurance every time I used this product.

I would consider purchasing the unflavored version again, for use during cardio sessions outdoors that are more than an hour long.

LMNT vs. Liquid IV

Liquid IV is arguably the most popular electrolyte powder on the market, so consumers are often curious about whether LMNT or Liquid IV is a better option.

As we documented in our Liquid IV reviews article, Liquid IV contains a significant amount of added sugar, and also contains citric acid and natural flavors (like the flavored versions of LMNT).

The prices of both products are comparable ($1.33 per stick pack for Liquid IV and $1.45 per stick pack for LMNT).

We would recommend the unflavored version of LMNT over any Liquid IV products, because we consider it to be a healthier option as it's free of questionable additive ingredients.

A YouTube creator named Lydia Walker did a taste test between the two brands:

Real, Unsponsored LMNT User Reviews

The most-reviewed LMNT product on Amazon is the 12-pack which has been reviewed over 9,000 times with an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review comes from a user named "Michael Strahl Jr." who claims the product has functional benefits and is fairly priced:

"I will say I do notice I seem to feel a little more energy and have had less time where I feel dehydrated. If you subscribe to a plan you can pick these up for just under a dollar a packet. I feel like that’s pretty decent and competitive with any other drink you would pick up in a store. I’m a fan"

The top negative review is written by a user named "Kindle Customer" who dislikes the taste:

"This product tastes disgusting and I have to believe is not in the least bit good for you. The primary ingredient is salt (nearly 50% of daily recommended). I did not realize this is simply a flavored salt drink or would never have ordered it. It does contain 200 mg Potassium and 60 mg Magnesium; both of which are standard in your multi-vitamin without 1000 mg of sodium."

A runner named Colleen Mulhern reviewed some LMNT flavors in a TikTok video:

@colleen_mulhern #run #runnergirl #review ♬ original sound - Colleen Mulhern

Where to Buy LMNT for the Best Price

LMNT is sold at a wide variety of online retailers. Here's the price breakdown for the Raw Unflavored version (which is the only one we recommend):

Brand website: $45 (link)

Walmart: $44.99 (third-party seller, link)

Amazon: $40.50 (link to official Amazon listing)

LMNT is currently 10% cheaper on Amazon than on the brand's website.

For those planning to purchase from the brand's website, a discount code is currently available at this link to the brand's website, which offers a free sample pack with any purchase.

Pros and Cons of LMNT

Here are the pros and cons of LMNT in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Unflavored version is healthy
  • Good user reviews
  • May benefit elite athletes

Cons:

  • Flavored versions contain questionable additives
  • Relatively expensive
  • Questionable health claims on website
  • Unclear value for regular people
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

LMNT is a better electrolyte brand than Liquid IV in our opinion, and we recommend the brand's unflavored electrolyte packets because they're entirely free of questionable additive ingredients.

That being said, we're not sure that the average consumer needs supplemental electrolytes. The value for elite athletes who lose significant quantities of electrolytes through sweat, and for people on restricted diets like keto is more clear. The value for the average consumer, even for the average consumer who exercises, is unclear to us.

LMNT suggests that the optimal range of salt intake is drastically higher than the FDA's recommendation, and we feel this may put the health of certain individuals (like those with high blood pressure) at risk. We hope the brand either changes this wording or adds a disclaimer that patients should speak to their doctor before significantly increasing salt intake.

For consumers who are interested in trying LMNT, Amazon currently has the best prices.