Picture it: You just finished a nine-kilometre run and are letting all those feel-good endorphins wash over you. Just as you bend down to stretch, you feel it happening….
Just reading those two words can make even the strongest of people cry.
Whether you’re a weekend exercise warrior or an avid athlete, you know all too well how painful muscle cramps can be.
So, as you reach for your calf and try to massage the pain away, you tell yourself that you’ll devote the rest of your life to finding a way to prevent your cramps…as soon as the pain subsides.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, then this article is for you. Read on to learn more about the benefits of pickle juice and which athletes swear by its healing powers.
Let’s get started!
As exercise enthusiasts, we’ve dug deep and researched the causes of exercise-induced cramping; painful spasms that affect everyone from gym-goers to AFL superstars.
Through our research, we learned that muscle cramps are not really caused by a loss of electrolytes, but failure of neuromuscular fibers that keep firing even when they’re inactive. Instead of relaxing, the muscles remain in a state of contraction, which in turn, leads to painful cramps.
And just like any type of muscular pain, most athletes, professional or not, have a tried-and-true arsenal of remedies that they swear helps reduce and subsequently alleviate cramping.
Now, it’s safe to say that while some of these remedies are backed by science, others may still raise an eyebrow or two….
Unless it was recommended by a star athlete.
But before we get into that, let’s start with the most common remedy for all kinds of muscle cramps, including abdominal muscle cramps. The easiest way to get the kinks out is to gently stretch the affected limb. It works so well that it gives insight into the actual mechanism behind muscle cramps.
But in addition to manual manipulation, cramp spray or popping salt tablets prior to exercise, there’s now another remedy.
It’s pickle juice.
Can pickle juice shots prevent and treat muscle cramps?
Yes, we said it. Although it may be hard to believe, coaches and quite a few all-star athletes attest that drinking pickle juice can cure painful cramps. The idea behind this theory is that the pickle juice is salty, similar to what you find in Saltstick, and also choked full of much-needed electrolytes.
However, there’s the thing: exercise-induced cramps can be tricky when trying to determine the exact cause, particularly when everyone has a different pain threshold.
To prove this to be fact from fiction, a 2010 study, performed by Kevin Miller from North Dakota State University, used an electrical current to invoke cramping in the feet of 12 participants. During the course of the study, participants reported two separate cramping events over 30 minutes.
While the first cramp was considered to be the baseline of what a so-called normal muscle cramp looks like on EMG, the second cramping episode was different. All subjects had consumed two to three ounces of pickle juice or water.
One week later, the test was again repeated using a cross-over testing mechanism, where participants who initially drank water switched to pickle juice and vice versa. The results proved that the muscle cramping was more severe in those who only drank water.
Pretty interesting, wouldn’t you say?
Should I try pickle juice for muscle cramps?
Deciding to drink pickle juice for cramps is personal, however, we don’t want to sway your decision. We like to present the facts, and what better way to do that than look to athletes who put pickle juice to the test.
Athletes who know the real dill
The biggest recovery secret for your favourite athletes might lie in your pantry. It’s so prominent that it caught the media’s attention during the Australian open after photographers snapped a shot of American tennis player Frances Tiafoe downing a bottle of the salty brine.
At the same event, John Millman said that pickle juice tasted “terrible” but that it helped with muscle cramps thanks to its high salt concentration.
According to sports nutrition lecturer Dr. Mayur Ranchoradas, one of the greatest benefits of pickle juice is its ability to stop muscle cramps 40% faster than water. Its high volume of sodium, potassium, and vinegar help, but what really kicks cramps out the door is a reflex pickle juice triggers in the mouth – and not just from its taste.
This reflex affects an area in the mouth called the oropharyngeal region, which reduces neural activity and can stop muscle cramps in as little as 35 seconds, according to researchers.
Russian athlete Daniil Medvedev’s use of pickle juice garnered an entire article about its benefits for treating muscle cramps in the Sydney Herald. Though the muscle cramps pickle juice substance Medvedev was chugging wasn’t taken out of someone’s fridge. It’s a specially designed formula that replicates the traditional pickle juice brine.
That’s the same kind of magic we’ve worked up here at Fixx Nutrition.
Our founders got their hands on some pickle juice from a leading sports scientist, which laid the groundwork for what would become one of our bestselling products: CrampFix.
Where to buy pickle juice for muscle cramps in Australia
At Fixx Nutrition, we ship throughout Australia, so you can get your CrampFix delivered right to your doorstep. If you’re wondering how it works, the science is simple:
- Overstimulated nerves and fatigue lead to muscle cramps.
- CrampFix’s vinegar-based formula triggers the same response as pickle juice in the mouth and throat.
- The signal from your mouth hits your spinal cord, which then triggers your other over-active nerves to stop firing.
- Muscles unclench, cramping stops, and you get sweet relief.
CrampFix is available in both QuixFix shots and squeezable bottles that you can drink every 20 to 60 minutes to keep cramps at bay while you work out or perform sports. We even have a compact mouth spray that delivers fast relief for muscle cramps not related to exercise.
So, whether you’re running the 100-metre dash or jogging around the block, remember to take your pickle juice with you.