Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Does Pickle Juice Stop Muscle Cramps?

16.06.2010
Whether you’re an elite athlete or weekend sports warrior, muscle cramps can affect performance. Research done by a North Dakota State University professor may shed light on how to alleviate them. Kevin C. Miller, Ph.D., certified athletic trainer and assistant professor of health, nutrition and exercise science at NDSU, investigates whether pickle juice affects muscle cramps.

In previous research, Dr. Miller found that 25 percent of certified athletic trainers surveyed use extremely small amounts of pickle juice to shorten the duration of athletes’ cramps, under the assumption that the pickle juice replenishes salt and fluids lost to sweat. What really causes the cramps and how to relieve them quickly are some of the areas of scientific study.

Miller and researchers at Brigham Young University studied healthy male college students in an exercise lab. Subjects in the study bicycled in 30-minute sessions to achieve mild dehydration. The tibial nerve in the men’s ankles was then stimulated, which causes a muscle in the big toe to cramp. When subjects drank nothing, the subjects’ cramps lasted two-and-half minutes on average.

After resting, cramps were induced again, but this time, men in the study immediately drank 2.5 ounces of deionized water or they drank pickle juice strained from a jar of dill pickles in a double-blind fashion. Blood samples were taken before and after the men drank the fluids to see if blood sodium, potassium, magnesium, or calcium levels changed after drinking. Study results show that pickle juice relieved the cramps about 45 percent faster than if the men drank no fluids and about 37 percent faster than those who drank water. “Even more interesting,” says Miller, “is that study results showed there were no significant changes in the blood following ingestion of either water or of pickle juice.”

Dr. Miller’s research has shown that mild dehydration may not be the culprit that causes muscle cramping. Since the pickle juice used in the studies did not have time to leave the men’s stomachs during the experiment, the pickle juice would not have had enough time to replenish lost fluids and salt in affected muscles.

The research conducted by Miller and his team leads to the theory that another mechanism causes such cramping and the pickle juice acts like a set of brakes on a car to stop it. He suspects that muscle exhaustion rather than mild dehydration might be the cause, since other research has found that mechanisms in muscles can misfire if a muscle reaches exhaustion. Miller says the pickle juice may affect 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,” says Miller, whose research has been published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, in the Journal of Athletic Training, Muscle and Nerve, and in Athletic Therapy Today.

So what’s an athlete to do? Miller cautions people not to drink large amounts of pickle juice and to talk with their physician first before trying pickle juice, given the high prevalence of hypertension in the U.S. Rather than reaching for the nearest jar of pickles, if a muscle painfully cramps, Miller suggests stretching it. He emphasizes all his studies have been done on healthy young men, so results may not apply to weekend warriors or female athletes. Miller will be presenting his research and speaking about the causes of muscle cramps at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on June 23.

Dr. Miller joined the NDSU Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science in 2009. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and doctorate degree in physical medicine and rehabilitation from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

For more information:
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - pp 953-961
http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2010/05000/Reflex_Inhibition_of_Electrically_Induced_Muscle.15.aspx

Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans

Journal of Athletic Training, Vol. 44, Issue 5 (Sept. 2009) pp.454-561
http://www.journalofathletictraining.org/doi/full/10.4085/1062-6050-44.5.454
Electrolyte and Plasma Changes After Ingestion of Pickle Juice, Water, and a Common Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Solution
New York Times, June 9, 2010
Phys Ed: Can Pickle Juice Stop Muscle Cramps?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/phys-ed-can-pickle-juice-stop-muscle-cramps/
Dr. Kevin C. Miller, North Dakota State University
http://hnes.ndsu.edu/facultystaff/kevin_c_miller/
National Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Meeting
http://www.nata.org/Philadelphia2010/index.htm

Carol Renner | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/research/
http://www.ndsu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>