You’ve seen others doing it and cringed—but there are good reasons this salty beverage it make its rounds

By Fara Rosenzweig | 01/07/2016

Move over coconut water, there’s a new beverage taking center stage: pickle juice.

Yes, pickle lover’s rejoice! You may have had to defend your love for the stuff in the past, but you may be ahead of the curve.

A number of studies have confirmed that pickle brine might be more effective than sports drinks at treating muscle cramps. One study from the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science at North Dakota State University found that athletes who drank the brine noticed the cramps were gone within 85 seconds—about 37 percent faster than water drinkers and 45 percent faster than those who didn’t drink anything at all.

“Pickle Juice Sport is an effective, all-natural recipe made with key ingredients that are scientifically proven to block the neurological signal that triggers muscle cramps,” says Filip Keuppens, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Pickle Juice Company.

The secret? Vinegar. Researchers believe that pickle juice relieves cramps because the acetic acid (vinegar) triggers a reflex shortly after ingestion, which reduces alpha motor neuron activity to cramping muscles. In other words, vinegar sends a signal to the brain to tell the muscles to stop contracting and relax.

Beyond cramping, pickle juice provides a number of other benefits for athletes.

Hydration: Runners sweat out a lot of salt. When sodium levels drop, so does your thirst, which leads to dehydration—bad news. Sipping on 2 ounces of pickle juice can provide 200 mg of sodium, which can replenish the body’s lost fluids and prevent dehydration. Those who run for more than two hours should consider sipping on pickle juice mid-run to keep hydrated.

Hangover cure: We all indulge every now and then. And we certainly regret it the next day with the pounding headache. Hangovers are a result of dehydration. As mentioned above, pickle juice provides sodium that can replenish the body, quenching our thirst. Downing pickle juice after a night of vino can help rid the dreaded headache. Combine it with water to speed up the recover.

Restore energy: After an intense workout your mind and body are depleted. Your energy levels are at a low. To give yourself a re-boost you need to restore exhausted glycogen levels (low carbohydrates). Pickle juice is rich in acetic acid, or vinegar, which can help metabolize carbohydrates to restore energy.

Originally Published: https://www.womensrunning.com/2016/01/nutrition/the-cure-youve-never-heard-of-for-muscle-cramps_52423

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