If you’ve ever dealt with muscle cramps, then you would know how awful they can be. Most of us have dealt with a sudden and uncontrolled contraction of muscles sometime in our life. Cramps can occur after an intense workout, in the middle of a night, or even while exercising. They happen because of the overuse of muscles, muscle strain, holding a position for too long, or an underlying medical condition.
The general population, specifically those who do not exercise regularly and live a relatively sedentary lifestyle are subject to excess production of lactic acid which can lead to the cramping of the muscle. Therefore, pickle juice is not recommended for them as majority of our daily diet today is acidic or is based on acid forming foods. Pickle juice is high on sodium and is acidic, and thus will do more harm.
Most athletes, unlike the general population, live a healthy lifestyle with right nutritional intake which is mostly based on alkaline foods. However, they are highly prone to cramps due to the intense and rigorous exercise sessions. Athletes should focus on stretching exercises as it reduces the chances of lactic acid build up. A build-up of lactic acid may also lead to micro-tears that can cause trauma in the muscles and leave you in pain for days. So, be sure to increase the weight and repetitions gradually to keep healthy levels of lactic acid in the body.
According to a very small study from Brigham Young University, it was found that pickle brine helped 10 healthy young men’s cramps dissipate within 85 seconds. This was 45% faster than drinking no liquid and 37% faster than drinking plain water. Researchers concluded that the pickle juice helped because the acidic juice triggers a signal in the brain that tells muscles to relax. The theory is that the vinegar component of pickle juice activates the nerve receptors in the throat or stomach, and sends out nerve signals that help the malfunctioning muscle. However, more research is needed to figure out exactly how pickle juice works – and what are the best ways to incorporate it.