If you're one of those unfortunate runners whose legs frequently cramp up during your runs, you may be willing to try anything to solve the problem. Anything? Are you sure? How about some pickle juice? Yes, pickle juice has long been touted as a fix for cramping muscles by some runners and coaches, and now a recent study lends even more credibility to this home remedy.
Researchers had 10 male college students exercise to the point of mild dehydration and then electrically induced toe cramps. Their average cramp lasted 153 seconds. They then repeated the experiment and gave the subjects either water or pickle juice. For those who drank pickle juice, the cramp was gone in 85 seconds. For subjects who drank water, their cramps lasted 134 seconds.
Fans of pickle juice have said it's the electrolytes in the juice that help get rid of the muscle cramps but, in this study, blood and urine tests found no change in the subjects' sodium, potassium, magnesium or other levels. Something else in the juice (researchers suspect vinegar) must have triggered a neurological response in the mouth, which then signaled the brain to stop the cramping.
Muscle cramps have never been much of an issue for me, but -- even if they were -- I don't think I'll be packing pickle juice in my Fuel Belt. I think I'd rather just deal with the cramps. What about you? Have you ever tried pickle juice for cramps?† What was your experience?† Do you swear by any other home remedies for muscle cramps or other running maladies?