Suffering From Muscle Cramps? Pick Pickle Juice
Ben Muessig Contributor
(June 14 2010) -- Gatorade isn't the only greenish drink that athletes crave. A new study indicates that pickle brine could help athletes when they need it most.
Researchers say the juice at the bottom of a pickle jar is more effective at staving off crippling muscle cramps than water.
To prove the salty premise long believed by some trainers and serious athletes, scientists induced toe cramps in male college students after forcing the subjects to bike to the point of mild dehydration. The average cramp lasted about two minutes and 30 seconds.
The Pickle Juice Company
A new study has revealed that pickle brine might be more effective than sports drinks at treating muscle cramps, confirming a longstanding assumption in the sports world. Football players, cyclists and triathletes have been sipping dill-flavored drinks, including bottles of The Pickle Juice Company, for years.
Those who downed the brine stopped complaining of cramping within 85 seconds -- about 37 percent faster than the water drinkers and 45 percent faster than when they didn't drink anything at all.
Dr. Kevin Miller, the lead author of the study, told the Times he thinks pickle brine helps cure cramps because it triggers a nerve reaction.
In fact, pickle brine seemed to ease cramp pains so quickly that he doubts it even had time to leave athletes' stomaches before it started to work.
Instead, Miller and the other researchers argued that pickle juice might spark some kind of "neurally mediated reflex" that helps give the right cues to misfiring muscles, which are thought to cause cramps.
Though the study offers some concrete proof that pickle juice can quickly treat muscle cramps, the salty drink is still just a drop in the ocean at major sporting events compared to water and other sports drinks.