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Christine Luff

Can Pickle Juice Cure Muscle Cramps?

By September 20, 2010

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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?

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Comments
September 21, 2010 at 10:58 am
(1) ania says:

Hi Christine,
I havenít tried any home remedy against crams, I only used hot bath with MP3…But thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely try it!

October 13, 2010 at 8:00 am
(2) Andy says:

Hi Christine,
I started running this past summer and a friend told me to try pickle juice after I put myself in the hospital for dehydration and cramps after running during some hot days. Since then I have been using pickle juice. I have had numerous long distance runs end tittering on mild heat exhaustion/cramps and immediately drink pickle juice. After my shower I feel good as new. I don’t need a study to tell me it works.

January 31, 2011 at 10:41 am
(3) Cindy says:

I have severe leg cramps almost every night. I make sure I drink pickle juice before bedtime and I don’t have any. This really works. If I do have one during the night, I’ll drink pickle juice and it goes away immediately.

February 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm
(4) Ann Robins says:

I had severe cramps in my foot last night which woke me up at 11p, 2pm and 4pm. Each time I walked and stretched and thought they were gone for good, but they returned each time.

Finally at 4am I remembered my Mom recommending I drink pickle juice and they were gone for good with about 10 minutes.

Highly recommend pickle juice as the first thing to try!

July 8, 2011 at 8:21 am
(5) Abdullah says:

Bananas bananas bananas!

June 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm
(6) Kickboxer11 says:

Pickle Juice has significantly helped me decrease my chance of having cramps. Typically before I kickbox, I’ll drink approx. 1 cup of pickle juice and eat a nana= Little to NO cramps!

November 25, 2012 at 2:14 am
(7) LR says:

Pickle juice WORKS everytime for me, and it doesn’t take much to resolve the cramp.

January 5, 2013 at 11:05 am
(8) joecool says:

I have kept pickle juice on hand for years. I learned this trick from a football trainer, when I was still a player. Try it, it works!

April 9, 2013 at 11:34 am
(9) Debra says:

Pickle juice works! As previously stated night cramps are the worst, my toes, legs, and thighs all get cramped up during the night. I struggle to get to the frig grab the pickle juice and guzzle a couple of mouth fulls straight from the jar and like magic it gone in a few minutes.

June 9, 2013 at 9:49 am
(10) jim mullin says:

i saw this in a cartoon.a lady was drinking pickle juice for her cramps in her legs.I tried it and it really works.
I’ve been drinking vinager but it doesn’t have the same effect.

June 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm
(11) chasity says:

Pickles or pickle juice does help me with my cramps!!! It is not a myth!

September 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm
(12) mary says:

Is it sweet or dill pickle juice?

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