No, I'm not Pregnant: My Obsession with Pickle Juice.
My husband looked at me like I was insane but I did it anyways. I poured myself a glass full of pickle juice. It wasn't until after I drank the whole thing that I began to think about why my body was craving pickle juice.
With respect to my training life, I would still consider myself to be pretty new in the game. I have been a runner for years but in the last three I have put my efforts into training for short distance triathlons. So I wasn't surprised to learn that "real athletes" have known about the benefits of pickle juice for some time now. I was in pickle heaven when I read about the pickle popsicles some athletes make themselves; there are even pickle based "sport drinks".
So why would, nay, SHOULD, anyone drink pickle juice??
Firstly, pickle juice can improve your performance recovery. When you sweat you lose electrolytes (salts like sodium and potassium). Calcium chloride and vinegar can assist the body in absorbing the elements you lost during your training. Surprise- both are found in abundance in run of the mill pickle juice!! Your electrolyte balance will actually return to normal faster with a shot of the good stuff. Even the National Institute of Health agrees that pickle juice can help regulate body temperature and boost performance based on the balancing of your body salts.
Recently a journal entry in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise explored the idea that pickle juice can stop muscle cramps. Guess what? It does that too! Almost 40% faster than water and 50% faster than nothing at all (that part kind of makes sense).
Pickle juice can boost your immune system due to the fermentation process and the high concentrations of vitamin C and E. Diabetes research looked into pickle juice and discovered that ingesting vinegar after eating can help regulate blood sugar levels. The end result of this for people with diabetes is a decrease likelihood of developing heart conditions or kidney damage.
Pickle juice has its benefits in the sports world for sure, but even if that doesn't interest you it's good at lessening the effects of PMS (especially cramps) and can be a great addition to your med bag when trying to cure a hangover!
Too much of any good thing is a horrible idea; same rule applies to the liquid gold that is pickle juice. Avoid pickle juice all together if you have low sodium dietary restrictions, or sensitive stomach issues. Some information I came across stated that the juice could help to decrease heartburn, but for the most part it might actually make it worse. a diagnosis of gout is also a good reason to avoid consuming pickle juice altogether.
Happy exercise, enjoy the pickle juice, and for goodness sake, call your massage therapist ;)