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Pickle Juice for Cramps: Does It Work?

Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD, specialty in nutrition, on September 12, 2019m| Written by Adrian White

What does pickle juice have to do with cramps?

Pickle juice has become a popular remedy for leg cramps over the years — specifically for the cramps runners and athletes get after a workout.

Some athletes swear by it, attesting that pickle juice really works. Still, the science behind it is unclear.

On the one hand, skeptics have doubted that pickle juice works for leg cramps at all. There’s no solid scientific reason yet proving how it works, so some write it off as a placebo effect.

On the other hand, some research suggests that pickle juice is way more effective than a placebo. However, it’s still unclear why.

One long-standing theory for how pickle juice works is its sodium content. The juice contains salt and vinegar, which may help replenish electrolytes. But is this actually true?

Keep reading to learn more.

Does it actually work?

Because pickle juice is such a widely used remedy for leg cramps in the sports world, there’s been some research and studies investigating its effects — though not much.

Very few studies fully explain or prove how it works. Nor do they explain how it doesn’t work, or how it’s just a placebo effect. To date, the efficacy of pickle juice is still uncertain.

Some have theorized that pickle juice’s electrolytes prevent leg cramps after exercise — but one study in 2014 debunked this.

After checking blood plasma levels of nine healthy men for signs of increased electrolytes following consumption of pickle juice after exercise, researchers found that electrolyte levels remained the same.

They also stayed level no matter what the study participants drank: water, sports drinks, or pickle juice. This is because it takes a lot longer for electrolytes to be fully absorbed into the body, and long after a muscle cramp would come and go.

The same set of researchers also did a test on pickle juice for cramps earlier in 2010. They found that it did work to shorten cramp duration. On average, it relieved cramps in about 1.5 minutes, and 45 percent faster than when nothing was taken after exercise.

Cramp relief also had nothing to do with placebo effect. This led to the more intense exploration of pickle juice’s effects on electrolyte levels later in 2014.

How to use pickle juice for cramps

In studies where pickle juice was effective for muscular cramps, researchers used about 1 milliliter per kilogram of body weight. For the average study participant, this was somewhere between 2 to 3 fluid ounces.

To use pickle juice for muscular cramps, measure out the pickle juice and drink it quickly. Taking a rough “shot” is also acceptable.

You can use pickle juice from store-bought cucumber pickles or safely fermented homemade pickles, if you desire. Make sure the natural vinegar acids and salts are present. It also doesn’t matter if the pickle juice was pasteurized or not.

Because it’s thought that cramp relief comes from the vinegar specifically, avoid watering the juice down. Drink it raw and experience the taste. However, this may be difficult for some people who don’t enjoy the taste so much.

The science behind why it works

While it hasn’t been proven yet, researchers posit that pickle juice may help cramps by triggering muscular reflexes when the liquid contacts the back of the throat.

This reflex shuts down the misfiring of neurons in muscle all over the body, and “turns off” the cramping feeling. It’s thought that it’s specifically the vinegar content in pickle juice that does this.

Still, more research is needed to prove if this is exactly how pickle juice works to prevent cramps. While there are no studies proving that pickle juice doesn’t work, or that it’s a placebo, more research supports that it does indeed work by this mechanism.

Does it have to be pickle juice?

Over time, pickle juice has been unique and popular in the way it helps with muscle cramps. Thus far, there haven’t been many other natural foods or remedies to rival it.

Foods of a similar vein haven’t been studied as much as pickle juice for cramps. But they could be just as good.

Could you eat a pickle and have the same effect? Scientifically speaking, maybe.

As researchers supposed in 2010, the cramp relief may have more to do with the vinegar content. If you eat a pickle brined with vinegar, it might also work.

However, eating a pickle isn’t as well-studied as pickle juice.

What about other similar fermented products? Liquids like sauerkraut juice, kimchi juice, apple cider vinegar, and even kombucha are similar to pickle juice. Some have both vinegar and salt content, while others have just vinegar content.

Following the vinegar theory, these may also work. They just haven’t been studied or tested like pickle juice has.

There’s no harm in giving them a try if you consider any of the possible side effects beforehand.

What should I know before using pickle juice?

Some doctors and health professionals warn that pickle juice could possibly worsen dehydration. They say it curbs thirst when you drink it, but doesn’t rehydrate like water.

According to both the 2010 and 2014 studies, this isn’t true. Pickle juice won’t dehydrate you, and it doesn’t curb thirst. It’ll also rehydrate you just as much as water, another similar study in 2013 suggests.

If small amounts are taken — such as 2 to 3 fluid ounces occasionally — there should be little to no health or dehydration concerns.

Pickle juice tends to have a lot of salt, and is thus high in sodium. People with high blood pressure and those who are watching dietary sodium may want to be careful not to take too much pickle juice and use it only occasionally.

Pickles, especially homemade, have high levels of probiotics for gut health and immune system function.

Be careful taking it if you have digestive ailments or disorders. Some pickle juices are high in acetic acids, which can worsen certain symptoms. There are also some other possible side effects, too.

The bottom line

The verdict thus far is that pickle juice can work for leg cramps after exercise. Though there isn’t a whole lot of research on it, the studies so far are quite supportive.

Use of pickle juice to occasionally get rid of cramps post-exercise should also generally be quite safe. If you have any concerns, talk to your healthcare provider before using it.

Originally Published: https://www.healthline.com/health/pickle-juice-for-cramps

Drinking Pickle Juice for Cramps—Harvard Approved, Salty Solution

By Dr. Victor Marchione, MD – March 28, 2016

Drinking pickle juice for cramps might sound like a dirty trick someone’s playing on you. After all, how could sour pickle juice possibly help cramps? Well it might come as a surprise, but it’s a remedy that top-tier and recreational athletes use regularly to alleviate painful leg cramps quickly and effectively.

If you suffer from leg cramps, or experience any form of cramping for that matter, pickle juice might help you. Its unique formula of cramp-fighting compounds can ease your pain faster than water, sports drinks, and other measures you might have used to battle cramps in the past*.

Does Dehydration Cause Cramps?

Cramps are extremely frustrating to experience, and they’re also a source of confusion regarding where they come from. Traditional wisdom points to dehydration as the origin of most cramps. The theory goes that when your body is low on water, it can’t supply valuable nutrients to your muscles, and in the absence of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, muscles can seize up and cramp. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are the most important in this theory of dehydration, as they help to conduct nerve impulses throughout your body. When they can’t be carried where they need to be, the reaction ceases and cramping occurs.

The other theory regarding cramping has to do with muscles being overworked and fatiguing prematurely. Neurotransmitter communication becomes skewed and muscles keep firing, causing rapid contractions that create cramps. This is why cramping tends to occur in concentrated areas and not throughout the entire body at once.

Recently, the dehydration theory has lost a little bit of steam, and pickle juice has a lot to do with this. While dehydration can cause cramping, it might not be the reason you experience cramps during certain activities such as running, playing sports, or cycling. In any event, drinking pickle juice for cramps is a good treatment regardless of why they occur.

Other Causes of Muscle Cramps

You can experience cramps in a number of ways; thankfully, pickle juice can help you deal with all of them. These other causes include:

  • Lying in bed with your toes pointed down
  • Exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • PMS
  • Cold temperatures (especially cold water)
  • Medical conditions that cause blood flow problems, including:
    • Peripheral arterial disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Thyroid disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
  • Standing on a hard surface for an extended period
  • Sitting for a long time
  • Having legs in an awkward position during sleep
  • A lack of calcium, potassium, sodium, or other important minerals in your blood
  • Certain medications, such as:
    • Antipsychotics
    • Diuretics
    • Birth control
    • Statins
    • Steroids

Does Drinking Pickle Juice Help Prevent Muscle Cramps?

Is pickle juice good for leg cramps? Pickle juice can help battle and prevent cramps for a couple of reasons, but the main reason might surprise you. Although it’s rich in water and electrolytes—it has more sodium than top sports drinks—it’s also acidic, which is where its real power lies.

Research shows that pickle juice for leg cramps at night or during the day works better and faster than water by a rather large margin. But what’s so interesting is that it takes less time for pickle juice to relieve leg cramps than it does to be absorbed in the stomach—meaning it’s not the water content or electrolytes that are responsible for its cramp-fighting prestige, as it doesn’t have time to be absorbed into the bloodstream by the time the effects are felt.

A team of researchers from Brigham Young University and North Dakota State University electrically induced leg cramps in 12 subjects and treated them with either pickle juice or water. The participants who drank pickle juice for the leg cramps saw the symptoms diminish in less than a minute a half, while the water group had to wait two minutes for their symptoms to disappear.

Because of the time difference, it appears hydration levels had little to do with the cramping. If it did, it’s likely the response time would have been much closer. Furthermore, it didn’t appear that electrolyte levels were altered to the degree that would impact muscle function. So what is it about pickle juice that makes it ideal for leg cramps?

What’s in Pickle Juice that Helps Prevent Leg Cramps?

Pickle juice appears to treat leg cramps because of its acidity, which seems to trigger a reflex when it hits the throat, sending a signal to relax the muscle. The over-stimulated neurons, which are malfunctioning and reacting from overuse, are then reset so that regular communication with your nervous system is resumed. When this happens, the contraction stops, the muscle relaxes, and the cramping subsides.

The results show that leg cramping might not have anything to do with dehydration at all, but rather with some confusion in the central nervous system. Researchers still aren’t sure why the acid seems to be the perfect remedy for cramps; they just know that it works. There are also reports that drinking vinegar offers the same results—however, your taste buds might be a little more in tune with shot of pickle juice compared to some straight vinegar!

If you need to handle a leg cramp in a hurry, pickle juice is a highly effective remedy. It can help you get back on the playing field, continue your jog, ride your bike, or work out, and it can even help you during those random times when you’re hit with a cramp and don’t want to withstand the pain.

How Much Pickle Juice Should You Drink for Cramps?

One of the best parts about pickle juice is that you don’t have to carry around a big bottle of it; all you need is about three ounces, or a little under half glass, to handle leg cramps. If you pour a little out of a full pickle jar, just top it back up with vinegar—you don’t want to waste your pickles! On that note, you might be wondering what kind of pickle juice for leg cramps is best. The answer is simple: common dill pickles are the ones you’re looking for.

Why Every Athlete Should Have Pickle Juice for Leg Cramps

Pickle juice is essential for athletes because it allows them to both prevent cramps and quickly deal with them should they arrive. It lets them train, compete, and perform at their highest level. Because it only takes such a small serving and acts so quickly, it’s very easy to consume on the go when symptoms arise. Pickle juice before exercise can also help give you what you need to perform your best.

But it’s not just its ability to kill cramps that makes pickle juice so beneficial to athletes—there are also valuable nutrients to keep your body running at a high level and aid in the recovery process. Research has indicated it works virtually the same as sports drinks in supplying important electrolytes such as sodium and magnesium, as well as nutrients such as calcium, all of which are very important for athletic performance. The sodium content in two ounces of pickle juice, for example, offers 400 milligrams of sodium, while sports drinks have 225 milligrams in the same serving.

Another component of pickle juice that might beneficial to athletes is that it may help replenish glycogen stores during and after workouts. The acetic acid can help metabolize carbohydrates and fats.

Other Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice

Drinking pickle juice for cramps can offer quick relief, but it can also be used for several other conditions.

  • Hangover cure: It helps to replenish sodium levels that have been lost through dehydration. Although dehydration might not cause cramps, it does make a hangover worse.
  • Exercise: You need lots of nutrients during intense exercise, and drinking pickle juice before a workout gives you what you need.
  • Pickle juice for menstrual cramps: PMS can result in plenty of lost fluids and nutrients, so drinking pickle juice can help to keep you hydrated and alleviate cramping. It can also help tame salt cravings.

How to Reduce Muscle Cramps Naturally

Of course, there are other leg cramp remedies; pickle juice isn’t the only one. Here are a few more ideas to relive the pain!

  • Stretch (this works for most cramps, especially in the calves).
  • Apply some pressure in the center of the cramp for a few minutes; it hurts, but it works! (This works very well for foot cramps. Put your foot flat on the floor and put all your weight on it like you were trying to press it through the floor.)
  • Apply heat to the area (using water or a heating pad).
  • Sleep with your toes pointed up or to the side.
  • Use Epsom salts.
  • Ensure you have an adequate calcium intake.

Tips to Prevent Muscle Cramps

You can also limit your chances of cramping, whether you’re an athlete or not, by:

  • Staying hydrated;
  • Eating a nutritious diet;
  • Warming up before activity;
  • Stretching after workouts;
  • Eating carbohydrates around workouts; and
  • Making sure you eat salt, but not from processed foods; table salt and sports drinks are fine.

So, does pickle juice help cramps? It may seem odd, but the answer is yes. So don’t throw out the juice when you’re done with that jar of dill pickles—it could save you some discomfort in the future!

Originally Published: https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/drinking-pickle-juice-for-cramps-harvard-approved-salty-solution/

from: menstrual-cycle-calculator

Can Pickle Juice Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?

By: Ana Jasko | December 9, 2016 | Medically Reviewed by Dr Anique Ali

The cold season is here and pickles are among the foods that are so appreciated in cold weather. Because we tend to eat more consistent when the weather outside is cold, pickles are a great way to cut the taste of fatty foods. Also, they are a great way to preserve various veggies throughout the winter.

The reason people have pickles around is that veggies are cheaper during autumn, so buying them and preserving them through pickling is a great way to cut some costs, and because they are healthy. Yes, pickles are fermented foods that are incredible for our health, due to the great content of minerals and good bacteria that help our body.

That said, can the juice of pickles have anything to do with the way the period manifests? If it does, in what way will this juice affect it?

Pickle Juice and the Menstrual Cycle

If you are wondering what the connection between pickle juice and the menstrual cycle is, there seems to be more than one connection. First of all, it is known that pickle juice can help in the case of cramps. You can have muscular cramps, or just cramps because of your period, pickle juice will help you soothe cramps of any kind.

The Menstrual Cycle

It is not 100% sure that it will help you, but it won’t hurt to try. Because pickle juice is rich in sodium, it will help your body hydrate, which will calm down cramps. You should know that people who do sports drink pickle juice or eat pickles to restore their electrolyte balance after a hard workout.

Since pickles can’t do you any harm, you can try this method, as many say it helped them on this matter. Of course, be careful if you have serious stomach issues, such as ulcers, because pickle juice is quite acidic and you should be careful about consuming it. Your doctor is the best to advise you in such cases.

Can Pickles slow down your period

Also, it is said that pickle juice can slow your period down. Because of the high content in salt, both pickles and pickle juice can help you slow your period during the day. You will have to eat plenty of pickles if you want to enjoy such an effect, though.

Whether you have an event coming up and you don’t want to deal with heavy blood flow or you would like to enjoy a day at the pool with minimum worries, pickle juice can help you with that. Just keep in mind that it will not stop your period for good, as it just slows the blood flow down.

You will still need to wear protection so you don’t make any messes. After the pickles and pickle juice have been digested and they are out of your system, your period will go back to normal.

So yes, it is just a temporary effect of making your menstrual cycle lighter. Again, the way a pickle juice acts on the period depends on each person’s body, but if you enjoy eating pickles, you could try this and see how it works.

So, other than the previously mentioned effects, pickle juice will not affect your menstrual cycle in a negative way. However, because it is rather salty, this juice can make you want to drink more water, so be prepared to hit the restroom more often than usual. Still, this is not a bad thing because you will get the sodium, magnesium, and other minerals your body needs, plus an adequate hydration. Spread the love.

Originally Published: https://menstrual-cycle-calculator.com/can-pickle-juice-affect-your-menstrual-cycle/

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice

By Coti Howell | 2 years

Pickle juice is usually just what we throw away when we’re done with our prepackaged pickles. It keeps our pickled treats moist and fresh in the jar, but we usually don’t think to drink it. (OK, well sometimes we drink it after a shot of whiskey but that’s a completely different story.) The juice has electrolytes, antioxidants and some other very surprising health benefits.

Here are six stellar reasons why you should start drinking pickle juice.

1. Workout Rebuilder

Pickles can be used both before and after a workout. Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat told Smart Cooky that it’s a healthy workout treat because it gets nutrients straight to the body. “Pickle juice is really popular with athletes when it comes to pre or post workout meals,” Jaibharat says. “The body loses both sodium and potassium while sweating during a workout, and needs to maintain the electrolyte balance. The calcium chloride and vinegar present in pickle juice makes the sodium and potassium more readily absorbed by the body.” This post-workout drink can help you avoid muscle cramps and encourage weight loss.

2. Hangover Remedy

Who doesn’t love a good hangover cure? Pickle juice may be the answer you need after a long night of drinking. Much like sports drinks, the juice contains electrolytes and high sodium content which will help you rehydrate, so you’ll be feeling better in no time. Another added bonus? Dill pickle juice hides the strong smell of alcohol on your breath the morning after, so your co-workers will never know. Cheers!

3. Relieves Cramps

The same benefits that help you before and after a workout also help to prevent cramps. Pickle juice is a great option for women dealing with PMS, as it can help to prevent menstrual cramps, bloating and curbs cravings for salty foods.

4. Aids in Digestion

The vinegar in pickle juice may not be all that tasty, but it’ll help your digestive tract. Doctors believe that the juice helps to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your stomach. So you may want to add some pickle juice to your annual Thanksgiving spread. A small serving is also a great cure for an upset stomach.

5. Provides Antioxidants

Who knew pickles are a health food? Pickle juice is also chock full of antioxidants, which “protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.” Antioxidants are thought to prevent some cancers, arthritis and possibly Alzheimer’s.

6. Relieves Heartburn

Pesky heartburn pains could no longer be a problem thanks to pickle juice! Medical Daily says the vinegar actually helps some people ward off heartburn. This isn’t a tried and true remedy, though, because vinegar can actually cause heartburn for some people.

Did you know pickle juice now even comes in cans? Just crack one open and reap the health benefits.

7. Cures Headaches

Many people with chronic diseases, migraines and other health problems can benefit from drinking pickle juice. By raising your sodium levels, your body will retain more water, which increases your blood pressure. So make sure your sodium intake is monitored by a professional.

Originally Published: https://www.wideopencountry.com/pickle-juice-health-benefits/

Is Pickle Juice Good for You? The idea of a sugar-free sports drink sounds great—but first, let’s look at the science.

By: Sam Silverman | May 17, 2019

Pickles are a household staple and can be found in the depths of many refrigerators. The juicy spears typically accompany your burger and fries to add some salty zest to your meal. But you may have never wondered about the nutritional benefits of this crunchy snack—or the salty juice it’s cured in.

Recently, though, pickle juice has been touted as a nutritional superfood and a low-calorie sports drink. You can even buy it by the bottle—sans pickles. Nutritional information varies by brand and recipe, but most pickle juice contains less than 20 calories (and zero grams of fat) per 3.5-ounce serving.

However, pickle juice is also high in sodium: A 3.5-ounce serving can contain roughly 500 mg of sodium, if not more. That’s a large slice of the recommended daily intake (2300 mg) for the mineral.

Sodium can be a benefit to some people and in some circumstances, but it can also contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems. For that reason, it should be consumed in moderation, Megan Roosevelt, RDN and founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com, tells Health. “You may want skip pickle juice if you’re following a low sodium diet, have a history of gout, or previous negative experience drinking pickle juice,” she says.

Besides being a salty and savory treat, pickle juice may also have health benefits. Here are five reasons it just might be good for you.

Athletic performance

Pickle juice has been called a natural Gatorade, and it’s been utilized by athletes looking to cut down on sugary sports drinks. It is true that athletes might benefit from pickle juice because of its high sodium content, Cynthia Sass, RD, Health contributing nutrition editor, tells Health.

When you sweat, you lose fluid and electrolytes—including sodium. “Pickle juice can be a very good source of sodium, and some athletes like the taste,” Sass says. But the flavor can be intense, she adds, and since people will probably drink a small amount of pickle juice at a time, it should not be your only method of hydration to replace electrolytes.

Muscle cramps

A 2010 study from North Dakota State University found that muscle cramps could be resolved in a minute and a half with 1.5 oz of pickle juice for every 100 pounds of body weight. The researchers couldn’t say for sure why pickle juice had this effect on cramping, but they hypothesized that it triggered a reflex in the mouth that sent a signal to the nerves.

It’s also not clear what component of pickle juice is responsible for this potential benefit. “Some research supports the idea that the vinegar in pickle juice may help with cramping, rather than its sodium content,” Sass says, “but it hasn’t been well studied.”

Hydration

Pickles are very high in sodium, which can be great for increasing hydration before and after a workout. According to Sass, water is attracted to sodium—so when you replace the sodium lost via sweat, you retain more water as a result.

Relief from stomach aches

Pickle juice could be a natural remedy for stomach pain. “The vinegar in pickle juice may be beneficial for reducing bloating and boosting levels of good bacteria in the digestive tract,” Sass says. This is because some stomach pain is caused by low acidity, which the addition of vinegar can restore.

Hangover helper

Pickle juice might also be the answer to your hangover needs. “The main component of pickle juice that may support a hangover is the water and sodium, which help restore electrolytes and bring your body back to balance,” says Roosevelt.

Of course, not over-indulging in the first place is always the best way to avoid feeling sick the next morning. But if you do find yourself under the weather after a night of too many drinks, a sip from the pickle jar may help you feel better faster.

Originally Published: https://www.health.com/food/pickle-juice-good-for-you

Science be damned, football players are drinking pickle juice to try to ward off cramps

Washington Post | Sports | High School Sports
By: Jacob Bogage September 22, 2016

That bottle doesn’t have water in it. Or Ga­tor­ade. Or anything you might want to chug down.

There is, instead, pickle juice: briny and sour with seeds floating to the top, acidic enough to sting the back of your throat and make you reevaluate the decision to drink it.

Thirsty? Not anymore.

And yet football teams nationwide — from high schools into the college and professional ranks — are keeping pickle juice on their benches and in their cafeterias to ward off cramps and fight dehydration, regardless of the lack of science demonstrating its efficacy.

Lackey High School running back Malik Burns couldn’t get enough of the stuff after a broiling night game earlier this season.

“It was very hot outside, so when [my coach] said something about the pickle juice, I went for it,” he said. “It tasted pretty good, and it helped out a lot. That was one of the first games where I didn’t cramp.”

Coaches and athletes alike have sworn by it for decades, pointing to its sodium content as a way to help retain moisture and electrolytes.

“Most athletes walk around in a dehydrated state,” said Randy Bird, director of sports nutrition at the University of Virginia. “It’s not an acute problem; it’s a gradual problem throughout the week. So Monday they practice and don’t properly hydrate, and Tuesday they do it again. And then, bam, it’s Saturday, and they’re very dehydrated.”

Coaches and nutrition specialists have turned to all kinds of remedies to keep athletes hydrated and stocked up on electrolytes.

The University of Maryland football team passes out pickle juice to players as a post-practice refreshment.

A manager on the Lackey team is in charge of a three-gallon jug of kosher dills and keeps a squirt bottle full of the juice. Trainers keep mustard packets on the sideline for players to gulp down during stoppages.

Bullis Coach Pat Cilento switched two years ago from pickle juice to apple cider vinegar. Players get a shot of it in a Dixie cup on Thursdays and two more on Fridays. During Cilento’s one-year stint at Sherwood, in 2009, the Warriors kept a bottle of pickle juice on the sideline during games. Upperclassmen would toss the bottle to underclassmen as a prank during timeouts.

“Normally we would put tape around it so everyone would know, but then they would rip the tape off,” Cilento says now with a laugh. “They knew what they were doing.”

But the actual impact of pickle juice — or any kind of salty fluid — is less well known.

“It’s definitely been something that’s been around for a while,” said Colleen Davis, director of sports nutrition at Maryland. “But the biggest thing as a dietitian is thinking about more than one thing. I don’t think pickle juice is a sole factor in preventing or alleviating cramps.”

And there isn’t any science that says pickle juice or vinegar or mustard packets prevent cramps, Bird said.

Cramps are caused by a lot of things, such as dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance or a lack of carbohydrate fuel. Some cramps are even caused by hiccups in the nervous system that cause muscles to get stuck in the “on” position, Bird said.

But a 2010 study conducted by researchers at North Dakota State and Brigham Young universities found that ingesting pickle juice right before or during a game doesn’t have much of an effect. The extra sodium that might ward off a cramp doesn’t reach the blood stream in time to be preventative. And athletes drink such a small amount of the stuff that it’s not enough sodium to really make a difference regardless.

In other words, those shots of apple cider vinegar and the mustard packets may be more torture than they are helpful.

But the acid found in the pickle juice, vinegar and mustard does help alleviate cramps, the study concluded. A cramp induced by researchers lasted two minutes on average. Those cramps lasted 30 seconds shorter when test subjects drank pickle juice during the experiment. When subjects drank water, there was no change.

Researchers argue that the acid in the liquid reacts with nerves in your throat that somehow calm your cramping muscle in less than a minute.

Science aside, though, coaches across the area still turn to the liquid to keep their players on the field — and figure to continue to.

Friendship Collegiate linebacker-fullback Hassan Terry felt a cramp in his right calf earlier this month during a game against Carroll. As the Knights’ trainer tended to Terry on the sideline, the trainer shouted to the bench: “Get the pickle juice!”

Originally Published: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/highschools/science-be-damned-football-players-are-drinking-pickle-juice-to-try-to-ward-off-cramps/2016/09/22/fe60fa50-7b65-11e6-bd86-b7bbd53d2b5d_story.html

Is Pickle Juice Good for You?

The idea of a sugar-free sports drink sounds great—but first, let’s look at the science.

By Sam Silverman May 17, 2019

Pickles are a household staple and can be found in the depths of many refrigerators. The juicy spears typically accompany your burger and fries to add some salty zest to your meal. But you may have never wondered about the nutritional benefits of this crunchy snack—or the salty juice it’s cured in.

Recently, though, pickle juice has been touted as a nutritional superfood and a low-calorie sports drink. You can even buy it by the bottle—sans pickles. Nutritional information varies by brand and recipe, but most pickle juice contains less than 20 calories (and zero grams of fat) per 3.5-ounce serving.

However, pickle juice is also high in sodium: A 3.5-ounce serving can contain roughly 500 mg of sodium, if not more. That’s a large slice of the recommended daily intake (2300 mg) for the mineral.

Sodium can be a benefit to some people and in some circumstances, but it can also contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems. For that reason, it should be consumed in moderation, Megan Roosevelt, RDN and founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com, tells Health. “You may want skip pickle juice if you’re following a low sodium diet, have a history of gout, or previous negative experience drinking pickle juice,” she says.

Besides being a salty and savory treat, pickle juice may also have health benefits. Here are five reasons it just might be good for you.

Athletic performance

Pickle juice has been called a natural Gatorade, and it’s been utilized by athletes looking to cut down on sugary sports drinks. It is true that athletes might benefit from pickle juice because of its high sodium content, Cynthia Sass, RD, Health contributing nutrition editor, tells Health.

When you sweat, you lose fluid and electrolytes—including sodium. “Pickle juice can be a very good source of sodium, and some athletes like the taste,” Sass says. But the flavor can be intense, she adds, and since people will probably drink a small amount of pickle juice at a time, it should not be your only method of hydration to replace electrolytes.

Muscle cramps

A 2010 study from North Dakota State University found that muscle cramps could be resolved in a minute and a half with 1.5 oz of pickle juice for every 100 pounds of body weight. The researchers couldn’t say for sure why pickle juice had this effect on cramping, but they hypothesized that it triggered a reflex in the mouth that sent a signal to the nerves.

It’s also not clear what component of pickle juice is responsible for this potential benefit. “Some research supports the idea that the vinegar in pickle juice may help with cramping, rather than its sodium content,” Sass says, “but it hasn’t been well studied.”

Hydration

Pickles are very high in sodium, which can be great for increasing hydration before and after a workout. According to Sass, water is attracted to sodium—so when you replace the sodium lost via sweat, you retain more water as a result.

Relief from stomach aches

Pickle juice could be a natural remedy for stomach pain. “The vinegar in pickle juice may be beneficial for reducing bloating and boosting levels of good bacteria in the digestive tract,” Sass says. This is because some stomach pain is caused by low acidity, which the addition of vinegar can restore.

Hangover helper

Pickle juice might also be the answer to your hangover needs. “The main component of pickle juice that may support a hangover is the water and sodium, which help restore electrolytes and bring your body back to balance,” says Roosevelt.

Of course, not over-indulging in the first place is always the best way to avoid feeling sick the next morning. But if you do find yourself under the weather after a night of too many drinks, a sip from the pickle jar may help you feel better faster.

Originally Published: https://www.health.com/food/pickle-juice-good-for-you

Why Every Athlete Should Have Pickle Juice

By Kelli Jennings For Active.com

Muscle cramps can bring even the strongest athlete to his or her knees. And while, there are a number of theories as to what causes cramps—including hydration, bike fit, form and electrolytes—they seem to happen more in races than in training.

Despite the lack of answers as to why cramps occur, a number of remedies have cropped up in recent years. Some of them are probably already in your pantry.

The Research

Research, as far back as several decades ago and as recently as 2013, suggests pickle juice relieves cramps. In the 2013 study, cramps lasted about 49 seconds less when participants drank pickle juice rather than water.

The first assumption is that fluids and sodium are anti-cramping agents.  However, other studies have concluded that the plasma volume and plasma concentrations of sodium remain unchanged after pickle juice consumption, leading researchers to believe something else is causing the cessation of the cramps.

Most experts think it’s the vinegar.

It’s believed that the vinegar triggers a reflex that alerts our brains to tell our muscles to stop contracting and relax, and the muscle cramping is reduced as soon as the vinegar touches receptors in the mouth.

Bring a small amount of pickle juice with you on your next training session (2 ounces is usually enough) or try the Pickle Juice Sports Drink.

Mustard contains vinegar in smaller, but potentially effective amounts as well. However, it has not been as well studied as pickle juice. Packets of yellow and honey mustard are portable on the trail or road, and often easier to consume than pickle juice. Mustard has up to 100 milligrams of sodium per packet and also contains turmeric, which is helpful for muscle soreness and inflammation.

Beyond the cramps, pickle juice and mustard provide other benefits for athletes:

Sodium: Adequate intake can improve hydration and reduce cramping, at least in practice. Just 1 tablespoon of mustard has 200 milligrams sodium and 2 ounces pickle juice has more than 400 milligrams sodium. Just 2 ounces of the pickle juice sports drink has about 225 milligrams sodium.

Glycogen Replenishment: Vinegar, which is chemically known as acetic acid, can provide the acetyl group. This is a fundamental building block for the Krebs Cycle and helps to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy and ATP for cells. 

If you’re prone to cramps bring a bottle of pickle juice or packet of mustard to your next training session or race. Consume them at the first sign of cramps and you might be able to keep training or racing and full speed.

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC.

Originally Published: https://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/why-every-athlete-should-have-pickle-juice

The Science Behind Everyone’s New Obsession With Pickle Juice

By Lana Bandoim | Forbes Contributor | Sep 21, 2018

From deep-fried pickles to dill pickle chips, pickles in different varieties are showing up on more menus and grocery store shelves. At the Natural Products Expo East, the trend continued this year with the Pickle Juice Company featuring pickle juice sports drinks. There are many reasons why this salty trend is not going away soon.

Walk through the aisles of today’s grocery store, and you will probably see pickles featured in several places, in addition to the canned goods section. You can pick up a bag of pickle popcorn, grab some dill pickle chips and maybe try the frozen pickle pops. Now, pickle juice is growing in popularity, and even Sonic released a pickle juice slush. You no longer have to purchase a jar of pickles to get the juice since it is sold on its own in a variety of forms. You can find pickle juice sports drinks, shots and alcohol.

By 2020, Statista’s prediction, based on U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), is that 245.56 million Americans will eat pickles. Likewise, Technavio’s report shows that the global pickles market will continue to grow and will have a value of $12.74 billion by 2020. In the United States, it is expected to have a value of $6.70 billion by 2020.

The reasons why you crave salty foods, like pickles, can vary. Similar to sugar, salt can be addictive, and researchers at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health found the brain pathway responsible for the craving. They discovered that a specific circuit, which is part of the brain’s opioid system, can also make you want salt. In addition, you can build a tolerance to salty foods, so you need more of them to activate the reward center of the brain.

Some other common reasons for craving pickles include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or Addison’s disease. Pregnant women often want pickles because nausea and morning sickness can also make them dehydrated. All of these medical conditions can make you turn to salty foods or pickle juice as a way to restore the electrolyte imbalance in the body.

There is a positive side to the current pickle juice obsession. For years, athletes have been drinking pickle juice to relieve muscle cramps after exercising, and it is one of the multiple health benefits. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that pickle juice works better than water at reducing muscle cramps. Another study showed that pickle juice could lower blood sugar spikes in healthy adults. In addition, pickle juice has a variety of antioxidants, including vitamin C and E.

Here is another reason why you may have a hard time resisting pickle juice: Your digestive system benefits from it, so you feel better after drinking it. The juice contains vinegar, which is fermented, and good for your gut. Researchers also found that pickle juice can slow down gastric emptying.

If you do not have any health problems and can tolerate salt, then do not feel guilty about drinking pickle juice in moderation.

Originally Published: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanabandoim/2018/09/21/the-science-behind-everyones-new-obsession-with-pickle-juice/

Gastric emptying after pickle-juice ingestion in rested, euhydrated humans.

More research for our science buffs!

J Athl Train. 2010 Nov-Dec;45(6):601-8. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-45.6.601.
Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108- 6050, USA. kevin.c.miller@ndsu.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Small volumes of pickle juice (PJ) relieve muscle cramps within 85 seconds of ingestion without significantly affecting plasma variables. This effect may be neurologic rather than metabolic. Understanding PJ’s gastric emptying would help to strengthen this theory.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare gastric emptying and plasma variables after PJ and deionized water (DIW) ingestion.

DESIGN:

Crossover study.

SETTING:

Laboratory.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Ten men (age  =  25.4 ± 0.7 years, height  =  177.1 ± 1.6 cm, mass  =  78.1 ± 3.6 kg).

INTERVENTION(S):

Rested, euhydrated, and eunatremic participants ingested 7 mL·kg⁻¹ body mass of PJ or DIW on separate days.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Gastric volume was measured at 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes postingestion (using the phenol red dilution technique). Percentage changes in plasma volume and plasma sodium concentration were measured preingestion (-45 minutes) and at 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes postingestion.

RESULTS:

Initial gastric volume was 624.5 ± 27.4 mL for PJ and 659.5 ± 43.8 mL for DIW (P > .05). Both fluids began to empty within the first 5 minutes (volume emptied: PJ  =  219.2 ± 39.1 mL, DIW  =  305.0 ± 40.5 mL, P < .05). Participants who ingested PJ did not empty further after the first 5 minutes (P > .05), whereas in those who ingested DIW, gastric volume decreased to 111.6 ± 39.9 mL by 30 minutes (P < .05). The DIW group emptied faster than the PJ group between 20 and 30 minutes postingestion (P < .05). Within 5 minutes of PJ ingestion, plasma volume decreased 4.8% ± 1.6%, whereas plasma sodium concentration increased 1.6 ± 0.5 mmol·L⁻¹ (P < .05). Similar changes occurred after DIW ingestion. Calculated plasma sodium content was unchanged for both fluids (P > .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The initial decrease in gastric volume with both fluids is likely attributable to gastric distension. Failure of the PJ group to empty afterward is likely due to PJ’s osmolality and acidity. Cardiovascular reflexes resulting from gastric distension are likely responsible for the plasma volume shift and rise in plasma sodium concentration despite nonsignificant changes in plasma sodium content. These data support our theory that PJ does not relieve cramps via a metabolic mechanism.