Are Pickles Helpful as a Natural Muscle Cramp Treatment?

How does the Pickle actually help with muscle cramping?

At first glance, it was assumed that pickle juice helped eliminate muscle cramping because of its high content of sodium and other electrolytes. It does contain those valuable electrolytes that over the longer time frame need to be replaced after extended exercise or exposure to the heat, but the cramping is actually improved so quickly that there is simply no way the sodium or any other nutrient could have possibly been through the digestive process that quickly. So, how does this work?

Sport injuries concept. African sportsman massaging leg, feeling pain after running by park, cropped, empty space[/caption]If you have ever seen an endurance competition of any sort, chances are that you have seen pickle juice at some of the aid stations. According to an article by CBS sports1, “Dozens of [Professional National Hockey League] Teams use it” when speaking about the use of pickle juice. They must be on to something, right? After all, the careers of Professional athletes depend on optimal performance.

The explanation for the success of pickle juice on cramping can be explained by a neurological phenomenon in the mouth that sends a signal to the nervous system to stop the cramp. So, rather than having a chemical effect on the body, the pickle juice actually “tricks” the body into relaxing the cramping muscle. Very handy if you need to relieve muscle cramps in a hurry!

If you have ever subscribed to the theory of working smarter not harder, that is a good way to think of pickle juice… Outsmarting muscle cramps before they become debilitating and create heart-wrenching losses. Just ask Miami Heat’s Lebron James about 2014 when, during game 1 of the NBA playoffs, he had to be carried off the court due to muscle cramping.

Maybe we are not all professional athletes, but we can sure learn lessons from watching them push their bodies to new levels and inspiring us to be the best versions of ourselves. Shouldn’t we look beyond brightly colored, sugar laden drinks containing ingredients we can’t pronounce and tap into the power of nature?


  2. MILLER, KEVIN C.1; MACK, GARY W.2; KNIGHT, KENNETH L.2; HOPKINS, J. TY2; DRAPER, DAVID O.2; FIELDS, PAUL J.3; HUNTER, IAIN2 Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2010 – Volume 42 – Issue 5 – p 953-961 doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c0647e
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