Electrolyte Tablets


Drop it. Dissolve it. Drink it. Those are the quick instructions Chicago-based BE Innovations Inc. gives for the use of its quarter-size ZYM electrolyte tablets. The small effervescent drops — which fizz and dissolve in water like Alka-Seltzer tablets — are made to ease the process of converting plain water into a vitamin-fortified, electrolyte-rich sports drink.

ZYM Catapult.jpg

ZYM electrolyte tablets

ZYM is one of three similar drop-and-dissolve options for exercisers and outdoors types. The originator of the category, nuun & co. of Seattle, as well as hydration-products behemoth CamelBak Inc., offer essentially the same thing.

The products from all three companies come packaged in small plastic tubes with 10 to 12 tablets inside. Prices range from about $6.50 (nuun) to $10 (CamelBak). Over the past four years, I have used these products extensively, and each one is good. The differences come in the flavors each company offers as well as the amount and type of vitamins, electrolytes, caffeine or other constitutes added into the fizzing mix.

In 2004, nuun & co. changed the category of sports drinks by introducing the original fizzing tablet. It took sugar out of the sports-drink equation and created a “fast-acting, optimally-balanced electrolyte hydration drink in a tab,” as the company puts it.

nuun hydration.jpg


I have used nuun since 2006 on dozens of trips and training days. The company’s flavors, from lemon-lime to cola, are the most subtle in the category. Add a nuun tablet to your bike water bottle and in about two minutes you get a drink that tastes refreshing and light. There is only a hint of flavor, and it does not overpower water’s thirst-quenching natural state.

The nuun tabs have 360mg of sodium apiece as well as three other electrolytes, potassium, magnesium and calcium. There is no sugar, no caffeine, and little else in nuun, which takes the most minimalist approach to its product in the fizz-and-drink category.

ZYM sets itself apart from nuun by adding B vitamins and, for its ZYM Catapult product, 100mg of caffeine. I get a bigger immediate boost from ZYM than nuun. Its taste in either of the company’s two flavors (berry and lemon-lime), is stronger, too.

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Posted by James - 03/26/2010 01:37 PM

Another sugarfree electrolyte product that I use and have found to be both inexpensive and very effective is Emergen-C ElectroMix. Cost is about $10 for 30 packets, each packet is mixed with one liter of water. It also fizzes when added.

Posted by Chris - 03/26/2010 09:08 PM

Good idea James. I use Elete Electrolyte and MRI Concentrated Mineral Drops in the first water I drink for the day. Lots of applications and no sugar. I’d like the Eureka Spitfire 1 tent reviewed and compared to the Tarptent products.

Posted by Marianna - 03/27/2010 09:12 AM

I don’t use too many of these because of the actifical sweetners which are toxic. I look for sugar or stevia before buying.I also like emergen c and have tried Nunn.

Posted by Joe - 03/29/2010 02:26 PM

MOTOR TABS has been a good product and has even sponsored a local cycling race team.

Posted by TP - 03/29/2010 03:00 PM

I have been using Motor Tabs for the past 4 years and am very happy. The small about of carbs, great flavors and ease of portability (individually wrapped) make it the perfect sports drink! My wife loves Motor Tabs because they leave no residue!

Posted by Alan Lee - 03/30/2010 07:31 PM

I have used several tubes of nuun tablets. I swear by them.

Posted by Extreme Tolerance - 03/31/2010 05:28 PM

Both my wife and I love nuun. They are especially handy when cramps sneak up on you. This is kinda weird but both my wife and I use nuun as hangover recovery.

Posted by ben - 05/22/2010 07:14 AM

I just noticed that Camelbak has started to offer a caffeinated version of their tablets as well – something additional to consider.

Posted by tsuga - 07/23/2010 08:07 AM

I’ve had hundreds of tablets of nuun, and loved them all. Zym, I have never seen , nor tried. Camelbak elixir, was okay, but they use (or used) artificial sweetener which kills me on the aftertaste. I won’t buy elixir again, but not bad if you are into the “fake” sweetener.

Posted by tiffany - 05/15/2013 09:47 PM

I. haven’t tried any of the others but I use nuun anytime I’m dehydrated. as a prior comment suggested it’s great for hangovers and after a stomach bug to help you feel better faster. the reason you feel so bad after you stop puking from a stomach bug is that you’re dehydrated.

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