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Why Pickle Juice Relieves Muscle Cramps Faster Than Water

June 15, 2010: 01:42 PM EST
Participants in a U.S. study who were dehydrated and experiencing muscle cramps from exercising relieved the cramps about 45 percent faster by drinking pickle juice than by drinking no fluids and about 37 percent faster than by drinking only water. The researchers were perplexed by the findings, however, because no significant changes in the blood were detected after drinking either water or pickle juice, neither of which had enough time to replenish lost fluids and salt. Researchers surmised that muscle exhaustion rather than dehydration probably caused the cramping. The pickle juice may impact nervous system receptors that send out signals that then disrupt the muscle cramping. “The relief of cramping by pickle juice likely represents a neurological phenomenon rather than a metabolic one,” one of the researchers said.
Miller, Kevin C., Mack, Gary W., et al., "Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans", Journal of Athletic Training, June 15, 2010, © The American College of Sports Medicine
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