Liquid I.V. Review: A Detailed Look
Being dehydrated puts you at risk for many health problems, and sometimes it feels like you can’t drink water fast enough to get back to normal.
Liquid I.V. is a powdered drink brand that sells three products it claims each utilize its proprietary science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) to hydrate your bloodstream more efficiently than possible from drinking water alone. The company sells one product focused on hydration as well as two others that boost your energy levels and improve sleep quality.
These beverages are categorized as Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), which means that they contain an optimized ratio of electrolytes (sodium and potassium), glucose, and water. The main idea is that ORS act as an active transport mechanism to deliver water and nutrients into your bloodstream quickly and with less waste.
The company’s main product, Hydration Multiplier, purportedly contains three times the electrolytes and half the sugar and calories of traditional sports drinks, and it promises to be as effective for hydration as two to three times the amount of pure water.
Are these claims just marketing hype to get you to spend a premium on a product that works like water? Read through our analysis here to learn whether Liquid I.V. products might make sense for you.
To start, let’s define what the company means by Cellular Transport Technology. This is a term unique to Liquid I.V. that it uses to describe the process that all oral rehydration solutions trigger, which works as follows:
When regular beverages pass through your digestive system, you lose some of their benefits because your body can’t absorb everything in time. Liquid I.V., in contrast, claims that its ratio of electrolytes to sugar (sodium, glucose, and potassium), creates an osmotic force where molecules can pass through one membrane into your body.
In other words, your body absorbs more of the water molecules and nutrients than otherwise possible and does so earlier in the digestive process. This leads to faster absorption of the beneficial ingredients.
Michael Trotter, a board-certified urologist with a private practice in Austin, Texas, shared his insight on the benefits of this supercharged hydration strategy.
“Water needs to have a balanced level of electrolytes to promote hydration,” he told us. “Potassium and sodium provide communication pathways on a molecular level to allow hydration to take place.”
In Dr. Trotter’s view, Liquid I.V. beverages can be valuable for many people. “Drinking more water is not necessarily beneficial to individuals; drinking your water smartly, aka with electrolytes, is highly recommended.”
However, he warned us that not all electrolyte supplements are equal.
“Some are poorly absorbed; others are also not ideal for specific individuals. [For example] sodium is a key electrolyte in hydration but is not suitable in large quantities for individuals who form kidney stones. This subset of the population needs to limit their sodium intake to reduce their risk of stone formation.”
Key Takeaway: “Cellular Transport Technology” is a fancy word for the natural rehydration properties of all oral rehydration solutions. Drinking beverages with similar ratios of electrolytes and sugars should help you hydrate more efficiently than with water alone.
Liquid I.V. currently sells the following three powdered drink mixes:
The Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier is the company’s most popular drink. It’s formulated as a non-GMO electrolyte drink that uses Cellular Transport Technology (CTT)™ to delivers hydrating benefits to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than if you drank water alone.
The company claims a single packet contains three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks and that it will provide your body with the same level of hydration as drinking two to three bottles of water.
Directions: Add one powder packet to your preferred amount of cold water (the company suggests 16 oz) and drink when in need of hydration, especially after a workout, while traveling, or when recovering from illness.*
Flavors: passion fruit, lemon-lime, acai berry
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This powdered drink mix contains a blend of matcha tea, guayusa, and ginger and claims to deliver roughly 100mg of caffeine per serving, which is equivalent to an 8-oz serving of coffee.
According to the company, these ingredients benefit from Cellular Transport Technology and are rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream to give you energy without a crash. The drink is also high in antioxidants and the amino acid L-Theanine, which improves mood and focus.
Directions: Add one stick to your preferred amount of cold water (the company suggests 12-ounces). Drink whenever you need some sustained energy for several hours. The company recommends starting with one serving to see how your body reacts to the caffeine and scaling up from there.
Flavor: Lemon Ginger
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This nighttime drink uses Cellular Transport Technology to deliver its natural Sleep Blend to your bloodstream for better sleep. This blend contains melatonin, L-theanine, and valerian root for a fast-acting sleep aid that doesn’t have any side effects.
Directions: Dissolve one packet in your preferred amount of water (8-oz is suggested), and drink 15-30 minutes before bed.
Flavors: Blueberry pomegranate
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It’s possible to drink all Liquid I.V. beverages chilled, hot, or frozen as a popsicle. If you store a mix in the fridge, make sure you drink it within 48 hours.
Each Liquid I.V. drink powder contains different ingredients, and we’ve highlighted information about the most important ones here.
These minerals in your body have an electrical charge, and they are crucial for balancing your body’s pH levels and the amount of water in your cells. The primary electrolytes found in Liquid I.V. are sodium and potassium, and they ionize when dissolved in liquids like water.
Taking in enough electrolytes ensures you stay hydrated. Dr. Trotter shared the results of a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that drinks containing some form of nutrition promoted a higher level of hydration than water alone.
Considered a critical component in Liquid I.V.’s Cellular Transport Technology, glucose pairs with electrolytes to help your cells absorb more water. The company states that all sugar in its drinks is there for function, not for taste.
Made from powdered green tea leaves, matcha is high in antioxidants and caffeine. Thanks to its l-theanine content, the beverage is renowned for providing users with sustained energy that doesn’t lead to a jittery feeling or a caffeine crash, as is common with coffee.
This holly tree is native to the Amazon Rainforest and it is naturally caffeinated. The leaves are often used in teas for their stimulating effects and ability to boost concentration.
Often called “nature’s Valium,” valerian root is frequently added to natural sleep aids to create a state of relaxation and improve sleep quality. It works as a sedative and by regulating nerve impulses in your brain so that you get a break from anxious thoughts.
Research shows that valerian root can improve sleep for people with insomnia as effectively as benzodiazepines and other sleeping medications. For the best benefits, you need to take between 400-900mg 30 minutes before sleeping. (One serving of Sleep Multiplier contains 175mg).
Your brain’s pineal gland makes this natural hormone, and it tells your body when it’s time to retire for the night. By taking supplements with melatonin, you can make yourself tired before bed so you sleep better.
Research shows that between 0.2 to 5mgs is an optimal dose of melatonin for adults. By comparison, Sleep Multiplier contains 3mg per serving.
The primary ingredients in Liquid I.V. powdered drinks show promise for boosting hydration, increasing your energy, and helping you fall asleep. However, most of these ingredients are commonly used in similar products, and nothing stands out for offering exceptional benefits, despite the company’s claims of utilizing innovative technology to deliver them to your cells.
We couldn’t find any negative side effects associated with Liquid I.V. products. The company claims that each product is safe for daily use, even during pregnancy.
Though it’s possible to over-hydrate, those who don’t have a history with kidney or liver disease and aren’t extreme athletes aren’t putting themselves at any serious risk.
Taking too much melatonin can also pose risks, but you’ll need to ingest more than 30-mg at a time qualify. That’s equivalent to ten packets of Sleep Multiplier in one night.
Liquid I.V. powdered drink mixes are currently sold on the company website and through different retailers like Amazon and Costco.
You can take advantage of a Subscribe and Save program if you purchase directly from the company. This gives you a cost savings of up to 25% off each serving, and you can choose whether you want deliveries monthly or every other month.
Once you sign up, you can change, pause, or cancel your subscription at any time without question through your online account.
Shipping is free for all orders, subscription or otherwise.
The company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee for all orders.
There are more than 3,000 reviews for Liquid I.V. products on Amazon and Costco, and together they average around 4.4 stars. Here’s a summary of some of the main comments.
Note: We weren’t able to find many verified reviews for Energy Multiplier, so this section doesn’t represent that product.
- Hydration Multiplier Can Fight Off Extreme Dehydration
- Reduced Headaches
- Didn’t Like the Stevia/ Sugar Content
- Sleep Formula Works as Promised
- Works to Reduce Leg Cramps
- Great Hangover Cure
- Bad Taste, Expensive for Benefits
Liquid I.V. drinks earn high reviews from users, and they seem to be most beneficial for those in situations where they are sleep deprived or chronically dehydrated. If you already drink lots of water, you might not experience enough benefit to justify the cost.
Liquid I.V. powdered drink mixes earn excellent reviews online, and are an effective way to stay hydrated and help your body absorb more nutrients per serving.
While the Hydration Maximizer is likely overkill for most people on a regular day, it may be a useful aid for anyone dealing with extreme dehydration due to medical issues, athletic pursuits, excessive drinking, or travel.
Board Certified Urologist Dr. Trotter believes that Liquid I.V. Hydration Maximizer makes sense for many individuals.
“I am very familiar with Liquid I.V. products, and believe it is an excellent product depending on an individual's health profile,” he concluded. “I would encourage readers to explore all of the great hydration products in the marketplace and find the one that fits their health profile.”
You will experience similar, but more indirect hydration benefits from taking Energy Maximizer. We couldn’t find much evidence of benefits with this product beyond a caffeine boost, so you might be happier sticking with a regular tea or coffee.
Finally, if you decide to try Liquid I.V products, keep in mind that they won’t act as a substitute for water. You will still need to drink between 11.5-15.5 cups per day to ensure you’re staying hydrated.