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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pickle-Powered Cramps

When making decision it’s wise to obtain relevant materials from reliable sources which allow intelligent well informed choices. The same holds true when answering questions.

During lunch recently the question was asked “I heard pickles relieve leg cramps what do you think about that?  Assuming the affirmative, below are questions that sprang from the table and below that is this diner’s response.  
  1. what’s in pickles that relieves leg cramps
  2. do organs and other internal parts cramp
  3. would pickles work for all cramps/pre-menstrual
  4. Is it the juice after the cucumber pickling process
  5. What is the pickling process
  6. What does the cucumber contribute - would other foods do same
  7. what other foods do same without pickling
  8. butter, dill, sweet pickle [flavors]
  9. exactly how does it work - physical science behind it
  10. What tonic herbs in pickling liquid [onion-garlic etc.] 
The Question: Could pickle juice be key to avoiding debilitating leg cramps and sustaining athletic endurance?

Pickle juice is the liquid substance used to give cucumbers their salty, sour taste. It is usually made of water, salt, calcium chloride and vinegar (acetic acid), and occasionally contains flavorings like dill or “bread and butter”.

The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas heat. Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.” (

The pickle company Golden Pickle’s claims that its Pickle Juice Sport drink has approximately 30 times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade. It is endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten. (

How this works: Exercise induced muscle cramps are caused by dehydration from exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids. When you sweat during exercise you lose a lot of salt from your blood, aka electrolytes. This loss of electrolytes can cause muscle cramping. 

Cells use electrolytes to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells; these impulses are responsible for muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt or electrolyte content. Therefore, drinking pickle juice before exercising could possibly provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.

There is little scientific evidence supporting or refuting the use of pickle juice as a method of preventing muscle cramps.

A Scientific Study compared the pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product. Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage.

The conclusion: Pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study warns of the danger of ingesting large amounts of salt suggests athletes dilute the pickle juice with a sufficient quantity of a hypotonic or isotonic solution.

Medical professionals believe that salt plays the major role in preventing the dehydration that causes muscle cramps.  However more scientific research is needed to determine the effectiveness of pickle juice as a muscle cramp remedy.



153 mg



401 mg




181 mg

18 %


25 mg

Tonic Herbs: Electrolytes facilitate communication [movement] between of the muscles.

Observation: This research highlights athletes only. When sharing this info with a family member they agreed saying that’s why they keep the juice after pickles are gone. Additional salt/sodium intake is known to aggravate high blood pressure. It’s good practice to consult a doctor before relying on this home remedy  exclusively to relieve muscle cramps.

This is not medicine or medical advice. Supplements may react adversely with synthetic drugs. Consult doctor for all health concerns. The TONIC Nutritional Garlic Supplement is made from a centuries-old recipe originally taken seasonally to prevent colds and flu. The unique combination of organic ingredients contains the power of raw garlic and no odorous residue.

1 comment:

  1. Ingredients:
    Found this info in a ad on this post. Seems sto validate the garlic thing:
    A carefully balanced mixture of certified organic unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar, juice from the ginger plant and just the right amount of all natural garlic juice in special combination so as to achieve almost instant relief from leg, foot and hand cramps. Salt and gluten free.