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Pickle Juice for Muscle Cramps? Bizarre or Beneficial?
Whether you first came across it in a magazine or read it in an article online, you probably came across the idea of pickle juice being used for muscle cramps, and while it may have sounded weird, you were probably, just a teeny bit interested too.
So what’s the deal about this bizarre remedy? Does it really work? How often can you use it? Does it have any side effects? Keep reading to get answers to all of that and a lot more.
Does Pickle Juice for Muscle Cramps Really Work?
A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has found evidence to support the use of pickle juice when it comes to providing relief from muscle cramps.
The study subjects who consumed pickle juice were found to have up to 37% faster relief in cramps as opposed to the consumption of water.
The Science Behind Pickle Juice for Muscle Cramps
While the idea that pickle juice is indeed, quite effective when it comes to relieving muscle cramps is well known, the actual science behind how it works is yet to be understood.
Not many studies clearly reveal how pickle juice actually works. This is why a lot of people believe it is actually nothing more than the placebo effect.
There are, however, some theories revolving around how pickle juice could work.
Firstly, it is believed that this juice could help give the body a good dose of electrolytes, which are usually lost during physical activity.
As you may know, electrolytes are basically calcium, magnesium potassium, and salt. If you want to know more about the actual function of electrolytes you can watch this quick little video by "What's Up Dude"
The loss of electrolytes could be linked to muscle cramping. Since pickle juice gives the body a good amount of electrolytes, it makes sense. However, this is just a theory and studies are yet to be done to confirm these ideas.
As you see in the video, the conclusion is to skip the sports drinks and eat foods that contain the electrolytes.
In addition, there’s another theory that states that the acidic nature of pickle juice helps trigger a reflex which causes the nervous system to shut down the neurons that are responsible for causing the cramps.
Doing it Right
So, how much pickle juice should you drink when you experience muscle cramps? Perhaps you get one in the night or after an hour of intensive workout at the gym. How much should you take?
Well, around 1ml per kg of body weight is usually recommended that. However, to keep things simple, a rough shot of between 2-3 fluid ounces is usually fine and acceptable too.
While everyone may not enjoy the intense taste of pickle juice, it is highly recommended to avoid watering the juice down. It may make it more palatable but it may decrease the effectiveness.
This is because pickle juice, on its own, tends to contain a good amount of acidity and salts.
The lactic acid fermentation is what gives them the familiar sour taste. (and you thought it was vinegar?) I did too because those store bought pickles is what we grew up eating.
Anyway lo and behold, the body could use these things to help tackle those cramps.
It is, however, important to note that the juice is high in salt. This could be a concern for people who are advised to be on a low sodium diet.
On the plus side though, it can turn out to be an excellent probiotic.
When drinking a shot of pickle juice for muscle cramps, you will also be getting the benefit of some great probiotics if they have been fermented naturally in a saltwater brine.
Probiotics can help boost your immunity, since immune system functioning is so closely related to gut health. Probiotics contain the good bacteria that help balance out our bodies.
The Bottom Line
It seems to make sense, but the jury is still out on whether or not pickle juice for muscle cramps is effective. Some people may find that it really helps them and others may not.
As with many things, eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods and drinking enough water may be all that you need.
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What are your thoughts on this?