Is Pickle Juice Good for Cramps?

will pickle juice fight cramps?

Is pickle juice good for cramps? According to many athletes and health professionals, it can. In fact, many athletes drink pickle juice before exercising to help prevent muscle cramps in the first place.

Drinking an ounce or two of pickle juice can stop cramping within seconds – faster than water alone. It also works faster than the time it would take for the sodium to replenish electrolytes lost via the traditional route of the stomach.

Did you know?

Pickle juice has 20 times more sodium and eight times more potassium than your average sports drink. This means that electrolytes in the juice are quite abundant.

There are multiple causes of muscle cramping. One common culprit is muscle fatigue, which happens when the nerves that prevent muscles from contracting too much begin to malfunction. 

This is where pickle juice comes in. As we consume it, the acetic acid in the juice triggers key nerve receptors that send signals to immediately stop the muscles from malfunctioning.

Concerns with pickle juice arise when looking at how it may raise the blood levels of sodium and potassium to an unhealthy and unsafe extent. But, this is only a problem when you drink too much; a few sips won’t do any harm.

It’s important to note that pickle juice is not the only key to treating cramping; stretching and hydrating are essential, too. You should aim to drink at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces daily, plus an additional 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of sweat lost during exercise. Athletes who sweat heavily should typically aim to incorporate electrolyte-rich fluids, including those containing sodium.

A good source of  probiotics

Naturally fermented pickles — and their juice — contain helpful microorganisms called probiotics. Probiotics are live, microscopic bacteria and yeasts that you can also find in:

  • Kimchi.
  • Miso.
  • Sauerkraut.
  • Yogurt.

“Your gut contains many bacteria species that are beneficial for metabolism, overall health, digestion and fighting sicknesses. They’re also linked to less anxiety, depression and better mood,” explains Skoda.

Probiotics can help keep your good gut bacteria in balance. People eat probiotics for these benefits, especially to aid digestion. You can find probiotics in refrigerated pickles that are not vinegar-based. They should be fermented naturally in water using salt and spices.

The bottom line

Although pickle juice as a solution to preventing and treating muscle cramps, it isn’t a cure-all for everyone. The next time you experience muscle cramping, you may want to give it a try.

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