Electrolytes Help Me With Long COVID

Drinking electrolytes helps me with my long COVID symptoms.

Sometimes my brain feels loose in my skull. I call this long COVID symptom “bobblehead.” It’s not painful.

If I drink a glass of Hydralyte, the bobblehead will go away almost immediately. In fact, a couple of times immediately after drinking it, I could feel the space between my brain and skull filling in. Of course, this might all be my imagination, but I feel significantly better.

If I feel a crash coming, I drink a glass of electrolytes and lie in bed with no sensory input for about 20 minutes. I often fall asleep. I almost always feel significantly better when I get up and several times that has prevented larger crashes.

If I remember to drink the electrolytes before I exert myself, then I often feel better.

My experience is that the electrolytes help relieve symptoms more than plain water, but I still mostly drink plain water because I consider electrolytes a “sometimes drink.”

Oral Rehydration Solution

UNICEF and the WHO developed a solution to help children remain hydrated when they have diarrhea. The solution is a mixture of water, salts, and sugar. I was surprised that it contains sugar, but a small amount of sugar (much less than Gatorade) helps the body absorb water. If you want to read more about this, Wikipedia is the most readable resource I have found: Oral rehydration therapy

Electrolyte Drink Choices

Comparing electrolyte drinks, especially with a foggy brain, is really hard.

I started with Hydralyte, but I’m moving toward Trioral.

Below are the few I have tried.

For all these drinks I dilute the powder with more water than the manufacturer recommends, so the real price is lower.


Hydralyte is available at my local grocery store in both packets and tablets. It follows the WHO formula.

I dump a packet in 12 oz of water. The “Improved Flavor” no longer dissolves immediately and requires a little stirring.

I drink the orange flavor. I found the berry flavor terrible.

I tried the dissolving tablets several months ago. They are fine, I just don’t like waiting for them to dissolve.

Ingredients: Dextrose (Anhydrous), Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavors, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Malic Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract (Rebaudioside A) and Natural Colors (Beta Carotene, Beet Color)

Cost: $9.89 for a box of 12 sticks, each for 8 oz. $0.82 for 8 oz


Unflavored Trioral appears to be the WHO formula with nothing else added to it.

It tastes like salt water. I could tolerate the taste after three or four glasses. Chilling and adding more water helps. You of course can add whatever flavoring you want.

Each packet is for 1 liter of water and once you mix the packet, you have to consume it in 24 hours. I mix it in a glass pitcher with about 1.25 liters of water. I stir until it dissolves, which doesn’t take that long, and then store the pitcher in the refrigerator.

I was able to dissolve one packet in a 32 oz Nalgene bottle by filling the bottle all the way to the top.

I bought Trioral directly form the manufacturer, Trifecta Pharmaceuticals, via Amazon.

Ingredients: Glucose (Dextrose) Anhydrous, Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride

Cost: $9.99 for 15 packets, each for 1 liter. $0.16 for 8 oz. If you want even cheaper you can buy 100 packets for $37.99 ($0.09 for 8 oz).

Normalyte PURE

Normalyte is marketed for dysautonomia. It also follows the WHO formula.

I was interested in Normalyte PURE, because it has no artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, colors, dyes, or preservatives. I ordered a free sample (plus shipping) from their website.

The Normalyte stick is designed to be dissolved in 500 ml (16.9 oz) of water, so it needs to be mixed in a bottle or pitcher like Trioral. It has to be consumed within 24 hours of mixing.

It tastes the same as Trioral to me.

I could not find the ingredients on a standard nutrition label, but the box says it contains: Dextrose (Anhydrous), Sodium Citrate (Dihydrate), Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Citric Acid. There is an additional sentence that says “contains natural flavors.”

Cost: $39.99 for a bag of 30 sticks, each for 500ml. $0.63 for 8 oz

I see no reason to use Normalyte PURE when Trioral has fewer ingredients and is dramatically cheaper.


Pedialyte is readily available at my grocery store. During the hot summer (before long COVID), the premixed version really helped me feel better after working outside. The premixed version has to be consumed within 48 hours of opening, which is a pain.

There is a powdered version, but I haven’t tried that.

Pedialyte has about 50% more sugar than Hydralyte and many of the flavors have artificial colors, which I don’t like.

Unflavored, premixed Pedialyte Ingredients: Water, Dextrose. Less than 2% of: Potassium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, and Zinc Gluconate.

Grape, premixed Pedialyte Ingredients: Water, Dextrose. Less than 0.5% of: Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Gluconate, Red 40, and Blue 1.

Cost: $5.66 for 1 liter. $1.34 for 8 oz

Liquid IV

A doctor suggested Liquid IV to me when I said electrolytes help me, but I’m very skeptical.

It contains 38% more sugar than Hyralyte and also includes a bunch of vitamins, many at over 100% of the daily value. I have read an account online of vitamin B6 overdose.

Strawberry ingredients: Pure Cane Sugar, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide, Rebaudioside-A (Stevia Leaf Extract), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Natural Flavor, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Vitamin B5 (D-Calcium Pantothenate), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin).

Cost: $15.58 for a box of 10 sticks, each for 16 oz. $0.78 per 8 oz


The Gatorade powder sticks in my cabinet have 32g of sugar per 16.9 oz of water.

Hydralyte has 4g of sugar per 8 oz of water, so Gatorade has nearly four times as much sugar.

I drink Gatorade if I need electrolytes and its the only thing left in the cabinet, but I don’t like to consume that much sugar.

Just Pick One

The number of electrolyte choices is really overwhelming, especially for someone with brain fog. Just pick one and see if it helps. You can work on optimizing later.

Talk to Your Doctor

My blood pressure is pretty low, so extra salt in my diet is no problem.

Most of these drinks contain citric acid, which can sometimes upset my stomach.

I do not consider any of these an all day, every day drink.

Talk to your doctor before drinking any of these. Remember that I’m just a random guy on the internet with no medical training.