Will Drinking Liquid I.V. Hurt Your Kidneys? The Risks of Electrolyte Supplements

Eva Hagan - Author

Nov. 27 2023, Published 11:09 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Liquid I.V. is a popular drink mix powder used to boost electrolytes in the body.

  • Although electrolytes are necessary, too many can cause hormonal imbalances and kidney issues.

  • However, if you do not suffer from kidney issues and take no more than the recommended daily amount of Liquid I.V., it is unlikely that you will have kidney problems from the supplement.

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Liquid I.V. is an electrolyte powder used by many athletes to help with hydration. After combining a packet with water, the company boasts that one packet of Liquid I.V. is able to supply the bloodstream with nutrients much faster than water on its own. At a recommended one stick a day, Liquid I.V. is said to help with energy boosts, anxiety, concentration, and even hangover relief.

However, when adding something artificial like this to your diet, it’s always a good idea to exercise some caution. Although electrolytes are necessary for proper bodily functions, too many could be a bad thing, especially for the kidneys. So, is Liquid I.V. bad for your kidneys? Let’s find out.

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A woman wearing a black sports bra sits on the couch and looks out the window while stirring a drink mix with a spoon.
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Is Liquid I.V. bad for the kidneys?

Liquid I.V. itself is not bad for the kidneys. According to research on kidney disease, recurrent dehydration can actually lead to kidney damage, and most electrolyte powders like Liquid I.V. were made to keep your body hydrated. In fact, a study conducted in 2020 found that daily electrolyte beverages helped kidney function in Guatemalan agricultural workers working in the heat. Some of those who did not drink enough electrolytes had lower sodium levels, which put them at risk for hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in the blood.

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However, although electrolyte drinks are helpful for those with normal kidney function, for those with underlying kidney conditions it could pose a risk, per Medical News Today.

According to Healthline, although Liquid I.V. is likely not harmful to someone with average kidneys, the high sodium content, which is 22 percent of the daily value, could make it unsafe for someone with kidney disease.

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A female doctor points at a kidney sculpture while talking to a male patient in an examination room with kidney diagrams on the wall.
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Can Liquid I.V. cause kidney stones?

Kidney stones are minerals and salts that form into hard deposits, like stones, in your kidneys. Dehydration, along with some dietary supplements are some of the factors that could increase the risk of kidney stones, per Mayo Clinic.

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Although there is no report or linkage directly between taking Liquid I.V. and getting kidney stones, according to the Mayo Clinic News Network, sports drinks with added sodium can result in increased risk. A lot of it comes down to the amount of salt in your body, where an excess of salt could cause more calcium excretion, which can lead to kidney stones.

All in all, if you know you have a normal kidney and don’t drink Liquid I.V. in excess, you likely will be fine when it comes to your kidneys. However, if you are unsure about electrolyte supplements or have a history of kidney issues, it may be best to talk to a doctor first about whether or not they are safe for you.

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