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Pickle Juice For Electrolyte Replacement

Concerned About Cramps? Pickle Juice Might Be the Answer

Think twice the next time you go to toss your empty pickle jar! If you're in the market for a low-sugar, all-natural electrolyte replacement, you should not let that juice go down the drain. Pickle juice could be your new go-to sports drink.

Source: Shutterstock

Sodium helps the body retain fluids, which is essential for long endurance workouts, marathons, or any other endurance activity; not having enough fluids in your muscles when you sweat intensely can result in serious dehydration, cramping, and plain old post-workout discomfort. Since pickle brine is very high in sodium, experts wanted to see if drinking this pungent stuff could help after a tough workout.

Brigham Young University conducted a small study to determine whether pickle juice could alleviate exercise-induced muscle cramps. Male participants exercised on a semirecumbant bike for 30-minute sessions (with five minutes of rest between) until each lost three percent of his body weight through perspiration and was mildly dehydrated. Then, each man had the tibial nerve in his ankle electrically stimulated so that his toe cramped. Researchers concluded that pickle juice relieved the muscle cramping about 37 percent faster than the men who just drank water. Since the study was so small, this evidence alone isn't enough to canonize pickle juice as the best sports drink out there. However, many athletes and coaches have sworn by pickle juice's ability to improve athletic performance. One Philadelphia Eagles trainer went as far as to credit his team's pickle juice habit for players' improved stamina and endurance in hot temperatures (even though he doesn't know why it works.)


Others say that pickle juice's electrolytes can come in handy after a different type of "endurance" activity: a long night of drinking. Dr. Oz suggests tossing back 1/4 cup of pickle juice when you first wake up to replenish electrolytes and alleviate hangover symptoms.

Source: IFC

I'll admit it: pickle brine is an acquired taste. But if you suffer from cramps or would love an all-natural alternative to Gatorade after a long workout or night on the town, taking a big swig from that jar might be worth your while.

Join The Conversation
karenfarber2710 karenfarber2710 2 years

Oh no! I hate pickles :(

David-Millar David-Millar 7 years
Nice article, i just posted a tweet on twitter. We are delighted more people are coming out of the closet and telling the world about the benefits of pickle juice. Our pickle juice pops lower blood sugar levels up to 42% after a meal. You can find us on google easily.
nancita nancita 7 years
My ex-boyfriend and his ultimate frisbee team used to drink a lot of pickle juice. I thought it was a great idea because I love the taste.
aburlock aburlock 7 years
I used to drink a cup of pickle juice before races to prevent cramps. I didn't mind.
yoggingwild yoggingwild 7 years
sunsmuckers - awwww, my boxer pup looked so much like your profile picture. mine's a year old now and i miss that puppy phase. my husband works outside daily and he swears by pickle juice for rehydrating. we started canning our own this summer, and the homemade juice is so much better! but i could be biased.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
i always drink some of the juice, yay!
miss_glitterati miss_glitterati 7 years
I had never heard about this until now, but I actually secretly like drinking the leftover liquid in a pickle/gherkin jar... It's tangy, vinegary, salty, and yum! Never knew it was good for me...
runningesq runningesq 7 years
chloe, why an all natural alternative?
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I personally would throw up if I tried to drink this during or after a hard workout. But it sounds like a great idea for pickle fans! I would love to find an all-natural alternative to gatorade, but alas, I don't think this will be it for me.
kimsy kimsy 7 years
I used to work in a nutritional science department, and while training for a half marathon I had some late night charlie horse issues. My boss told me that eating a pickle was more likely to reduce leg cramps than eating a banana. He was definitely right!
onthebus onthebus 7 years
Oh my gosh I always buy Claussen pickels and drink the juice it's delicious!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
mmmmm :smacks lips: pickle juice. yum!
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
Pickles are great for hangovers.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Ugh, I love pickles but I would never drink the pickle juice! Wouldn't you get just as much of a benefit by eating an actual pickle?
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Ewww (I hate pickles!)
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Ewwwwwwwww, and I love pickles.
1apple 1apple 7 years
*Shudder* Not happening.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
pickle juice is good to add to marinades for meat.
PhillyEagles1 PhillyEagles1 7 years
The Eagles started this trend/made it popular
sunsmuckers sunsmuckers 7 years
It's funny b/c I used to do this when I was little just because I loved pickles so much! I play sand vball regularly and was shocked when I discovered a bunch of players drinking pickle juice or carrying it around with them. It made me smile!
fauxcat fauxcat 7 years
Few love pickles more than I, but this idea nevertheless makes me go yarrrgh. Like a pirate. Is this better than, say, drinking saltwater? I guess it's vinegar-y too, but I'm not sure how great that'll be on the stomach after a lot of cardio...
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