Liquid IV Review

Liquid I.V. is all the rage, but does it stand up to science? As a registered dietitian, I’m sharing my Liquid IV review. Per usual, my goal is not to tell you what I think you should do. Instead, I’ll share some of the science to help you confidently decide if Liquid IV is a fit for you and your needs.

packets of liquid IV with text overlay that reads "a dietitian reviews liquid iv"

What is Liquid IV?

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier is a powdered electrolyte supplement. They use the “breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT)” to deliver water, electrolytes, and essential nutrients into your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone.

Liquid IV Ingredients

Liquid IV ingredients include dextrose, pure cane sugar, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, mined salt, sodium citrate, potassium citrate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12), citric acid, dipotassium phosphate, silicon dioxide.

The main functional ingredients here are sugar and sodium, which is an electrolyte, along with potassium.

There are also additional ingredients in other Liquid IV varieties:

  • Liquid IV Energy Multiplier: contains guayasa and matcha, both caffeinated teas.
  • Sleep Multiplier: contains valerian root, L-theanine, and melatonin.
  • Immune Support: contains additional vitamin C, zinc, and Wellmune – Liquid IV’s “proprietary, naturally sourced beta glucan.”

Liquid IV Nutrition Facts

Depending on the flavor, most Liquid IV sticks contain 40-50 calories. Most contain 11 grams added sugar and 380 mg sodium (or 17% daily value for sodium, based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet).

an open box of Liquid IV with text overlay that says "Liquid IV Review - Does it Work?"

How Does Liquid IV Work?

All you need is one stick of Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier and 16 ounces of water. Pour the electrolyte powder into the water and shake or stir. 

Liquid IV works as an oral rehydration solution, modeled after the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution, utilizing Liquid IV’s cellular transport technology.

WHO’s Oral Rehydration Solution

The World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) was created to reverse potentially fatal dehydration from diarrhea. In cases of severe or infectious diarrhea, normal sodium absorption can be impaired, so adding glucose (sugar) becomes incredibly helpful to improve absorption and thus rehydration.

Traditional ORT contains specific amounts of glucose, sodium chloride, and potassium, designed to create a liquid with a specific osmolarity, which is what helps faster absorption. This helps increase hydration and replenish electrolytes.

In developing countries, ORT has been very helpful in reducing deaths and helping many children recover from diseases like cholera or dysentery

Also note that there is some research that has suggested a solution with lower osmolarity (compared to the WHO ORT solution) may be more advantageous for severe non-cholera diarrhea.)

Cellular Transport Technology – What is it?

Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) is a delivery system that helps water and other key nutrients absorb into the bloodstream faster and more efficiently than drinking water alone.

Basically, Liquid IV’s CTT is their specific combination of sodium, potassium, glucose, and water, modeled off of WHO’s Oral Rehydration Solution.

Is it Science-Based?

The good news is that Liquid IV is science-based.

Sodium/ glucose cotransporter protein 1 (SGLT1) is the mechanism responsible for glucose reabsorption in the small intestine. With sodium-dependent glucose transporters (SGLTs), sodium and glucose are co-transported by an electromagnetic gradient across the intestinal membrane. Aiding in rehydration, water essentially follows sodium and glucose through SGLT1.

Benefits of Liquid IV

Liquid IV claims multiple health benefits, such as improved performance, optimized travel, burning more calories, enhanced mental clarity, and reduced signs of aging.

But is this true?

Well – yes and no.

These claims are benefits of proper hydration – not explicitly with Liquid IV itself.

Yes, Liquid IV can support adequate hydration, which may support mentioned health benefits. But these benefits are the same even if you hydrate with plain water.

It’s important to note that with most of these individual benefits, adequate hydration alone is always just one small piece of the puzzle. Yes, adequate hydration may support burning more calories – but not a significant amount. And sure, staying hydrated may help reduce signs of aging in your skin, but will also be part of a bigger picture, with rest, stress management, nutrition, genetics, and more.

Does it actually hydrate faster than water alone?

Examining the science of how Liquid IV works, yes, Liquid IV hydrates faster than water alone. Because it’s based off of the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution, it’s literally designed to rehydrate faster and more efficiently.

(Note that this doesn’t mean everyone needs faster rehydrating, just that it can help accomplish that when truly needed.)

boxes of liquid iv with text overlay that reads "liquid iv review side effects and benefits"

Liquid IV Side Effects

Most individuals likely will not experience negative side effects from consuming Liquid IV occasionally.

That said, side effect risks increase especially with regular, frequent consumption. Liquid IV is a high sodium supplement, and it is possible to have too much sodium in your body.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Muscle twitching
  • Restlessness
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

Before starting any new dietary supplement, including Liquid IV, it’s always a good idea to discuss with your doctor.

I especially recommend doing so if you have any medical conditions where you may be sensitive to sodium, potassium, or blood sugar concerns, such as blood pressure concerns, kidney disorders, diabetes, gestational diabetes, and insulin resistance, among others.

How Does it Stack Up to Its Competition?

Liquid IV claims to have 3x the electrolytes of sports drinks – but does it really? While this will depend on the sports drink or electrolyte beverage you’re comparing it to, Liquid IV does have more electrolytes than some major sports drinks brands.

Check out how they stack up against their competition:

Liquid IV vs Gatorade

Compared to Gatorade, Liquid IV has less calories and sugar, but higher amounts of the electrolytes sodium and potassium. Liquid IV also contains B vitamins, too.

Liquid IV vs Pedialyte

Pedialyte and Liquid IV are both based on the World Health Organization’s oral rehydration solution, so they’re nearly identical in terms of electrolytes, minerals, salts, and sugars. Liquid IV additionally contains B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin C that Pedialyte does not have.

Drip Drop vs Liquid IV

Looking at each stick (to mix with 16 ounces of water), Drip Drop contains more sodium, potassium, and sugar than Liquid IV.

Waterboy vs Liquid IV

Compared to Liquid IV, Waterboy has more electrolytes, more vitamin B12 and vitamin C, but less calories and no sugar.

LMNT vs Liquid IV

LMNT contains more sodium, but less potassium than Liquid IV. Additionally, LMNT contains no sugar or any sort of flavoring.

What Does Liquid IV Taste Like?

Liquid IV tastes sweet, but noticeably salty, due to the high sodium (an electrolyte) content. It also comes in a variety of flavors, like lemon lime, acai berry, passion fruit, strawberry, concord grape, and (my personal favorites!) golden cherry and the tangerine immune support.

How Many Liquid IVs Can You Drink in a Day?

Liquid IV says on their website that it’s a “daily” beverage, but as a registered dietitian I have to say that’s not likely necessary.

One packet of Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier provides 510 mg of sodium, or 22% of the daily value. Most folks are already not lacking sodium in their diets, so this can really add up. And if you’re someone who is sensitive to sodium or has health concerns with sodium, this is something to be especially aware of.

The sugar content is something else that can also quickly add up from one packet of Liquid IV. One packet has 11 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily added sugar to 36 grams daily for men and 25 grams daily for women. For an adult woman, one packet of Liquid IV already contains 44% of the recommended daily limit for sugar. This is something that can also really add up to be aware of.

Speak with your doctor and/ or dietitian if you need further help deciding if and how much Liquid IV is appropriate for you.

Where to Buy Liquid IV

You can buy Liquid IV through their store, on Amazon, or at many retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, and other various grocery and nutrition stores.

How Much Does it Cost?

On the Liquid IV website, a 16-pack bundle starts at $24.47 ($1.53 per stick). Pricing varies at other retailers, but at the type of publishing this post, Amazon starts at $23.95 for a 16-pack ($1.50 per stick) and Walmart is at $8.98 for a 6-pack ($1.50 per stick).

Note that you can find additional deals – on the Liquid IV website you can sign up for their email list and get 20% off your first order. And on Amazon, sometimes the price can vary, and there may also be additional coupons to clip and you can do the subscribe and save option if you use it regularly.

Can You Drink Liquid IV While Pregnant?

On their Facebook page, Liquid IV did respond to a question stating that, “Our Hydration Multiplier is safe for mommies and moms-to-be! If you have any medical concerns, we recommend that you reach out to your doctor.”

Potential medical concerns I would absolutely address with your doctor before consuming include insulin resistance, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia, among others.

Liquid IV for Hangovers

One popular reason some love Liquid IV is because anecdotally they swear it helps hangovers. 

While we don’t have clinical studies looking at Liquid IV as a hangover cure, we can look at the science of hangovers and the science of Liquid IV and compare the two.

Obviously drinking alcohol in excess can lead to a hangover, but why exactly? Well, we know there are a lot of effects that could lead to hangover symptoms:

  • Dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic, which means you pee more and you may dehydrate easier while drinking alcohol)
  • Electrolyte imbalances (alcohol consumption can lead to electrolyte imbalances)
  • Low blood sugar (the production of glucose – or sugar – is limited while you’re drinking alcohol)

Looking at the science, Liquid IV can help with all three of these effects.

Is Liquid IV Safe?

Generally speaking, Liquid IV is safe for most healthy individuals to consume in moderation. As with any dietary supplement, it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor before using (especially if you have any health conditions).

Does Liquid IV Really Work?

The science doesn’t lie – Liquid IV does work to aid in faster hydration! As it’s based on the World Health Organization’s oral health solution, it’s designed to reverse severe dehydration (when normal sodium absorption is impaired). Adding sugar to the electrolyte beverage leads to faster absorption and rehydration.

That said – is it necessary?

Not really, unless you’re severely dehydrated.

the back of a woman working out drinking from a pink shaker cup

Is Liquid IV Worth it?

You need to decide for yourself if Liquid IV is worth it to you – but after this Liquid IV review, I hope you feel more confident in doing so! It does work! But it’s marketed to health-conscious wellness enthusiasts looking to optimize performance. And while it likely won’t hinder or harm, most significant benefits are really observed in cases of severe dehydration.

Final Thoughts: Liquid IV Review Recap

As a registered dietitian who’s reviewed the evidence, my final thoughts on Liquid IV are these:

  • It’s science-based.
  • It’s based on the World Health Organization’s oral rehydration solution.
  • Liquid IV can aid in faster rehydration
  • They have an excellent marketing team that markets it heavily in the wellness world.
  • It is not not necessary for the vast majority of people.
  • Plain water hydrates fine for even the average active individual.
  • If you’re sweat heavily when active, nursing a hangover, or in another particularly dehydrated situation, Liquid IV likely won’t hurt, and may even help.

Enjoy this Liquid IV review? Check out a couple of my other popular reviews on Ka’Chava, Athletic Greens/ AG1 and collagen.

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  1. Quite possibly the most unbiased review I have had the pleasure to read. Stuck to the science. Thank you for that.

    1. Thank you Blake, I appreciate that! It’s impossible to be completely unbiased as we’re all human, but I do try to make a big effort to stick to science and remain as unbiased as possible!

      1. Thank you for the review. I have Sjogren’s syndrome in people and some of the Facebook group said this is as helpful drink to have. I’m experiencing severe eye dryness in trachea windpipe dry nose which is very uncomfortable. Is this something that is actually really going to help me or am I better off making my own oral hydration solution with half a teaspoon of salt, 6 teaspoons of sugar in 1 L of water? Or are none of these things going to help with the dryness of my trachea and eyes?

        1. I also dictate and have a lot of typos above sorry about that. I would just like something to help with my dry eyes and see dry trachea windpipe. I literally can feel my cartilage rings and when that happens I feel like I can’t breathe and it normally happens at night and it happens a lot which is messing up my sleep.

          1. Hi Tara. That sounds like a really uncomfortable and tough experience. Unfortunately, even though I’m a registered dietitian, it’s not ethical for me to provide individualized advice in comments like these. I strongly recommend consulting with your healthcare team.

  2. I use Liquid IV when camping for effective hydration. I fill a 1/2 gal plastic insulated jug and add Liquid IV at 1/2 strength (1/2 of the recommended “dose”). What I notice after a couple of days camping is a build up of something black resembling mildew on the inside of the jug. I can’t imagine that its’ mildew, but it’s definitely the Liquid IV causing it, because if I fill the jug w/ plain water, the black build up does not happen.

    Can you explain this? Is there some reaction that could be happening that causes the black build up? If so, what is it?

    1. Hey Scott! My best guess would be it may be some mold spores accumulating. Liquid IV has some sugar in it, so it can mold, especially if being re-made and used in the same container for a few days camping (where I’m presuming you may not have the best access to hot water/ soap to thoroughly clean it between uses). I can’t say for sure, but that was my first thought! If you’re not able to clean after each use with hot water/ soap, I would try bringing a little bit of distilled vinegar with you to rinse between uses – the vinegar can kill off most (not all) of the mold spores, and may be able to help you keep your jug clear and safer until you get home again to more thoroughly clean it.

    1. There is not, but I’m actually working on a homemade electrolyte drink recipe now, where you can just add a couple ingredients to some juice to create your own oral rehydration solution and electrolyte beverage. I’ll try to get it perfected and posted soon! 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this info! I’m an RN, and am pretty dehydrated right now (long story) and really don’t want to go to er for a bag of fluids – LOL! Drinking one of these now and hoping it helps.

    My fav flavors are tangerine and golden cherry, also!

    1. I hope the Liquid IV helps and that you’re more hydrated and better ASAP (but please don’t be afraid to get help/ some fluids if not).

      And yay! Have you tried the pina colada flavor yet? I haven’t, but with these brutal summer temps and the time I spend outside gardening and with my kids, it’s currently sitting in my Amazon cart 😂

  4. Thank you for the thorough review. I’m an endurance athlete. During these hot summer months, I can lose upwards of 2L, and sometimes more, of sweat on a single run. So, naturally, I have to take hydration seriously if I want to continue to train in these conditions. I’m curious if this solution works as efficiently when diluted. I find Liquid IV to be really salty, so I like to use more water than the recommended 16 oz. to dilute it a bit. Would dilution negatively effect the efficacy of the designed specific osmolarity? Does it really even matter in the long run as long as I’m replacing the water I’m losing?

    1. I’m glad you’re taking your hydration seriously, it’s important, especially with summer heat waves! It should still be helpful even diluted, as long as you’re overall replacing the water you’re losing. (I’m sure you’re aware of this, but you can step on the scale before and after a long run and the amount of weight loss is fluid – that can be helpful with re-hydrating adequately!)

  5. I’m 70 and a cyclist. I also like to read in hot tubs and enjoy a good sweat. Consequently, leg cramps can have me hooting and hollering out of bed at night, much to the chagrin of my better half. I’ve also experienced hand cramps after working around the house.

    Despairing over my usual fix – a good dose of sea-salt in a glass of water – I discovered Liquid I.V. at my pharmacy and started using it episodically. It works! Thanks for affirming review. I have also experienced the performance benefits and pantothentic acid and appreciate that boost too. Thanks again.

  6. Very helpful. Thank you. I struggle with very low blood pressure, especially after eating or if I am in hot weather. My doctor’s PA suggested l try Liquid IV since increasing water and salt wasn’t helping. I am on day 3 of a daily serving of Liquid IV and actually noticing a difference. So far my BP is elevated to a more satisfactory level throughout the day. Triggers (eating and hot weather) still lower BP but not as significantly.

  7. I took Liquid IV hydration multiplier before and during my 2 months in the mountains this summer. I have an enlarged prostrate and I didn’t put two and two together until I came home but I think it made my frequent urination and difficulty urinating much worse while taking it.

  8. In poor countries where cholera has been very prevalent, a combination of table salt, and sugar has been used for decades to save lives of severely dehydrated children. It virtually eliminated the need of intravenous rehydration.
    The proportions are very straightforward and somewhat flexible: 0.5-0.9% table salt, 1-4% glucose and in the absence of glucose, table sugar can be used. [Intestinal cells cleave the sugar molecules (a disaccharide) into two constituent monomers, glucose and fructose.]
    An important piece of information is absent in this review which is related to the need of neutral pH for increased water absorption. This is achieved by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
    Under the conditions of severe dehydration, an osmotically balanced (or nearly balanced) solution of salt and sugar at neutral pH absorbs through intestine into the blood stream at 10-100 times faster than water alone. At pH 5-5.5 (the pH of water) addition of salt and water do not help help nearly as much as with a pinch of soda which brings the pH up to 7-7.5.
    If you are not interested in throwing your money away, all you need to do is to take a standard water bottle (they hold 1/2 liter), add half a teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/10 teaspoon of baking soda, fill the bottle with water, shake to dissolve and enjoy the savings!
    But remember that it will only be more useful than water alone if you are getting fairly dehydrated.

    1. In regards to the initial part of your comment, yes, and that’s why I discussed in the article that Liquid I.V. models their formula off the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution and how it’s been long used in cases of severe/ infectious diarrhea and to reverse potentially fatal dehydration from such severe diarrhea.

      The WHO’s ORS does not include sodium bicarbonate, and neither do the majority of ORS-inspired recipes. I did not discuss adding sodium bicarbonate in my article because I have yet to find enough quality research studies to support the claim that a more alkaline water helps with water absorption. In fact, here’s one article I had looked at that specifically says that the presence of bicarbonate in oral rehydration solution does not influence fluid absorption in cholera.

      I’ve seen a couple small studies that have suggested there may be small improvements to things like recovery, performance, and blood viscosity when athletes consume alkaline water, but again – they’re small studies and not the best quality, and provide nowhere close to enough evidence to change existing recommendations, such as the decades-old WHO ORS. (Off the top of my head, I recall one such study being paid for by an alkaline water company).

      If you have other quality studies, I would truly love to see them. I am very open to science and research, which is always evolving, and it’s always influencing my work!

      Thank you!

      (Oh yeah, and I agree – you totally can make an ORS at home for WAY cheaper than Liquid IV!)

  9. Liquid IV is probably fine for most people, but I would caution against using more than one a day. I had 2 on 2 consecutive days (working 10+ hours catering in the Texas heat). I also had plain water, but I was sick the entire following day.
    Nausea. Diarrhea. Vomiting. Fatigue. Fever.

    I think the company needs to be more forthcoming with the potential hazards. If you treat it like other sports drinks, you can make yourself very sick.

    1. Wow, Jillian, that sounds terrible! I hope you’re feeling better now! Are you positive Liquid IV was to blame? I’m not a doctor (and strongly encourage you to reach out to yours if you’re still experiencing symptoms) but especially with the fever, are you sure you weren’t experiencing heat stroke/ sickness? I’ve never heard of a fever as a side effect from something like Liquid IV before, and 10+ hours a day in the TX heat is a VERY long time! That said, the high sodium content (especially from using multiple times a day) may lead to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting for some folks (which is why I said I don’t consider it a daily beverage, despite Liquid IV’s claims). I really hope you’re feeling better now, please reach out to your doctor if you’re still unwell!

  10. Very unbiased. A respectable read. And I have read a few articles trying to figure out if it’s ok to give to kids. According to the science would you say it’s ok for kids to drink occasionally?

    1. Thanks, AB. It depends on the age of the kids. Very young kids are going to have lower sodium needs than this supplement provides. But older teenagers, especially student athletes, may find more benefit. Run it by your kids’ physician to see if it may be appropriate for them. (On an anecdotal, personal note, I’ll add that I have a 6 and almost 4 year old and I’ve never given them Liquid IV.) Oh, and I apologize for the delayed response!

  11. It’s non gmo and worked great for a colonoscopy prep instead of using Gatorade. Follow package and Dr directions.

    1. Absolutely not. If I ever share a sponsored post, I will always disclose it at the very beginning of the post, per FTC regulations, and because I personally highly value transparency and integrity. Also, I literally say Liquid IV is not a necessary supplement and most benefits won’t be seen unless you’re severely dehydrated. I doubt they’d pay anyone to say that, especially with the way they try to market it as a necessary and daily supplement.🤣


  13. I just got my Liquid I.V hydration & energy multiplier. How many can I have per day? My doctor has recommended it.
    Thank you

  14. I drank to water bottles back to back that contained the liquid iv and I was 2 seconds from calling 911. This product gave me diarrhea, fast heartbeat, had me shaking, I felt lightheaded, and dizzy. Only use this product if your cramping or something, not for anything else it’s very powerful.

  15. I have been drinking one dose of liquid IV daily due to being severely dehydrated to the point that doctors not being able to find a vein to put me on IV fluids and it’s worked beautifully I’m no longer having symptoms of dehydration and no side effects love this product

  16. I’d like to make a comment that I haven’t seen mentioned AT ALL anywhere. The awful TASTE!

    I’m sensitive to fake sugars. Not only do they give me headaches, I just HATE the nasty aftertaste. When I read the label prior to purchasing from Costco, I was encouraged by the listing of the first ingredient: cane sugar. Okay! I thought! I should have read down the list further. I missed the stevia listing. My brain told me that if REAL sugar is listed in a product, then FAKE sugar will not be present as well. Not so! Regardless of good-or-bad-for-you ingredients, I just choked on the headache and the horrible aftertaste of nasty stevia after I consumed one packet.

    I’m returning my two big bags to Costco tomorrow.

    Thank you for your great reviews. You’re a fair and honest dietician. Linda Petersen
    Cedar Hills, Utah

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