5 Myths We Bust on Pickle Juice and Electrolyte Drinks

5 Myths We Bust on Pickle Juice and Electrolyte Drinks

Posted by Kelly Miller on

How can salt water pickle juice be hydrating? Is pickle juice better after workout than a sports recovery drink like Gatorade? How does pickle juice help a hangover? Does fermented pickle juice help my leg cramps? What about increased sodium intake during your intermittent fast?

In this article, we'll address these 5 biggest myths surrounding pickle juice. 

First, Let's explain Electrolytes

What are electrolytes? Electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body. These minerals carry an electric charge when they are dissolved in a liquid such as blood. Whenever you hear the word ‘essential’ describe something nutritionally, it means your body must have it and cannot produce it on its own-- so you have to put it in, ideally with whole food or with supplements. 

What job do electrolytes perform? There are many. They help regulate nerve and muscle function, they maintain the acid-base balance (your body’s pH level) and they make sure your fluid levels are correct in your body. This is called ‘water balancing’ and it's the reason you hear about why electrolytes are responsible for rehydration. (1)

hands in water_hydration_pickle juice

We Used to Get Electrolytes Naturally

So then, it is actually electrically charged minerals responsible maintaining hydration levels in the body. What better delivery system for these minerals than natural spring water, drawn from rivers with water that had come down from a mountain, flowing over mineral rich stones and boulders? This was indeed how humans consumed water for millennia, so water has equated to minerals and is therefore closely associated with hydration.

The era of industrialization and urbanization of modern day life has removed minerals from water via filtration and cleansing. Most of us are drinking demineralized water with low or no electrolytes, which means we need to supplement these.

Fortunately supplementation is pretty easy to do, and we are going to focus on how high mineral sea salt water brine from pickle juice is a perfect way to do that.

So with this brief explanation and history of electrolytes explained, let’s move on to the 5 biggest myths we hear at Olive My Pickle when it comes to pickle juice.

Large mason jar with pickles and brine with a spout_pickle juice

Myth #1: Drinking salty brine will dehydrate you.

True or false? FALSE

It seems like a paradox that salty brined pickle juice could actually restore and rehydrate you, but its true. This comes down to how the minerals within the salt water brine, specifically sodium, magnesium and potassium-- function in the body. 

Pickle juice contains sodium, magnesium and potassium which are found in an abundance within high mineral sea salt. These minerals are electrolytes, minerals that carry an electrical charge within the body and they are responsible for directing water to the areas in your body that need it most. As described above, they also help maintain optimal fluid balance within cells themselves.

With all this said, you obviously will not want to exclusively drink pickle juice. Think of probiotic pickle juice as an elixir, or a nutritional supplement. It can be used to top off your levels of these minerals, restoring you to wholeness.

 

electrolyte drinks

Myth #2: Sports drinks like Gatorade are the gold standard for recovery after a workout.

True or false: FALSE

We’ve picked the top three reasons to avoid those colorful sports recovery drinks, and opt for pickle juice instead. Here you go: 

First, sports recovery drinks are chock full of sugar.

Check out these facts:

  • A 20-ounce serving of Gatorade's Thirst Quencher contains 36 grams of sugar. That's just a bit less sugar per ounce than your average soda. UC Berkeley researchers say the sugar in sports drinks may be contributing to the child obesity epidemic by increasing caloric intake. (2)

  • A 32 ounce bottle of Powerade has 221 calories and 55 grams of carbs-- all from sugar. 

  • Endurox R-4 (Fruit Punch flavor), which is marketed as a more science-based recovery solution contains 360 calories and 69 grams of carbs. That’s equivalent to eating 33 Tootsie Rolls!

The second reason to steer clear of sports recovery drinks is dental health.

A 2005 study in General Dentistry found that some sports drinks were more destructive to teeth than soda. In the study, they took a look at how much damage different types of beverages did to the tooth enamel. The researchers found that enamel damage was between 3 to 11 times greater for non-cola and sports beverages than for cola-based drinks! (3)

The third reason to never drink Gatorade again? Food dyes.

Bottom line, food dyes, including the ones found in Gatorade and Powerade have a long history of science backed research that correlate problems of food dyes, including behavior problems in kids, and tumor growth and cancer in mice. (4) We explain in depth the history and problematic nature of food dyes in our article, Drink It Or Dump It: A Guide To Healthy Pickle Juice.

In healthy, fermented pickle juice there are zero sugars, dyes and no correlation to dental problems.

Here at Olive My Pickle, our LiveBrine Pickle Juice contains superfoods such as Blue Spirulina, Dragon Fruit and Beet which give it its vibrant color, naturally.

LiveBrine Pickle Juice 8 flavor pouches from Olive My Pickle

Myth #3 Drinking pickle juice helps a hangover.

True or false: TRUE

Is pickle juice good for hangovers? Yes, the urban legend is true: pickle juice can help a hangover, but it's no silver bullet. The only way to avoid a hangover is to manage your consumption of alcohol in the first place.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it drains fluids from the body by increasing the production of urine. This will lead to a loss of both fluids and electrolytes that are needed for normal functioning and actively dehydrate you. You must offset that by managing your alcohol consumption and avoiding a hangover in the first place with a plan.

Pickle juice can be part of that plan.  How it works goes back to the role of electrolytes in the body. Minerals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium, those found in high mineral sea salt from fermented pickle juice, are electrolytes. Electrolytes carry an electrical charge and among many other things, they are responsible for water balance in the body. Pickle juice can restore the electrolytes that alcohol removes, and help the body recover faster.

Here are some common sense tips for before, during and after drinking alcohol to help prevent or treat a hangover: 

  1. Drink in moderation. Develop self awareness of the triggers that cause you to over consume alcohol. Put stoppers in place.  

  2. Drink a glass of water in between drinks. This hydrates you and slows down your alcohol consumption. You can also water your drink down, such as cutting your glass of white wine with selzer water.

  3. Eat. Food will slow down the alcohol absorption rate, which will have a positive effect on the severity of a hangover.

  4. After an evening of alcohol consumption, drink a ¼ cup of pickle juice before going to bed.

  5. If it's the morning after and you’re already hungover, nurse a quarter to a half cup of fermented pickle juice. You will feel better drinking pickle juice. Some people feel much better, but this is relative to how much you drank. 

  6. Take a nap. 

  7. Learn the lesson from your hangover. How can you do better next time to avoid feeling like this again? 

Another reason to evaluate alcohol consumption is your gut health. Alcohol can have a significant negative effect on gut microbiome. With over 50 trillion bacteria making up the gut microbiome, chronic alcohol intake will reduces the variety and number of different species of bacteria in our gut.

It is variety and abundance of beneficial resident bacteria that create a healthier microbiome. If you drink, be sure you are doing so in moderation and intentionally add in high probiotic and prebiotic foods back into your diet to offset the effects of alcohol.

Pickle juice for cramps

Myth #4 Drinking pickle juice at night helps muscle cramps.

True or false: TRUE

Science is still attempting to fully explain why pickle juice helps muscle cramps, here’s what we know today. A 2010 study did verify that consuming pickle juice resulted in the shortening of muscle cramp duration but did not determine the cause.

A theory ensued, that it was the electrolytes in the pickle juice that was responsible for this, (5) but a follow up study in 2014 debunked this and a new theory emerged to explain how pickle juice helps cramping.  

The 2014 study posits that pickle juice might help as you drink it when it touches the back of your throat. When this happens it turns off the misfiring of neurons in muscles all over your body. This explains why drinking pickle juice can create an immediate cessation of the muscle cramps.

How much pickle juice should be drunk to help? In the 2014 study where pickle juice was effective for muscular cramps, researchers found that it should be about 1 milliliter per kilogram of body weight. So for an average person, this will be between 2 to 3 fluid ounces (a shot glass is 1.5 ounces, so 1 or 2 of those). To use pickle juice for muscle cramps, measure out the pickle juice and drink it quickly. (6)

It should be stated that this scientific evidence was not conclusive. At Olive My Pickle, we have been having conversations with our community of customers for 10+ years about the benefits they experience helping muscle cramps and leg cramps when drinking our pickle juice.

Our position?

Science is interesting and vitally important, but we don’t need to wait until the “data is in” to state confidently what we already know from a decade of anecdotal evidence from our thousands of customers: pickle juice has a positive effect on muscle cramping and is a natural and effective way to address this problem. 

salt and intermittent fasting_ pickle juice

Myth #5: It's important to increase salt intake when intermittent fasting.

True or false: TRUE

People around the world have practiced fasting for a long time and today it's more popular than ever. Some research says that intermittent fasting (fasting for short periods of time) may be one of the most effective ways to not only manage weight, but also help improve blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. Indeed there are many health benefits of intermittent fasting.

It is important to supplement with electrolytes while fasting. When you’re fasting, you are not getting electrolytes from food. Your body maintains a reserve of electrolytes stored in the tissues. But these deplete quickly. This is usually within 24-48 hours after your body runs out of electrolytes, and this is when you will start to feel symptoms of an electrolyte deficiency.

The most common symptoms are headaches, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, nausea and just generally feeling unwell overall. If you are also eating low carb and/or new to keto you may mistake this feeling for 'carb flu' the term that loosely describes the potential to feel unwell when starting these eating protocols.

To prevent the symptoms of electrolyte deficiency, intentionally supplement your electrolytes throughout your extended fast.

Our LiveBrine Probiotic Pickle Juice product is especially popular for intermittent fasting (IF) and because it has no sugar, calories or macronutrients. Salty brined pickle juice will not break your fast. 

olive my pickle at riverside arts market with live brine pickle juice samples

Does any pickle juice do? Is there a difference between drinking pickle juice on the store shelf versus drinking pickle juice from fermented pickles?

If you are sold on the health benefits of drinking pickle juice, it's important to know how to find the good stuff. Not all pickle juice is created equal. The kind that has the gut health benefits of being probiotic comes from fermented pickles. This is the only kind of pickle juice to buy that will confer these benefits to you microbiome.

Can I buy pickle juice with vinegar in it and get these same benefits?

Vinegar has very little sodium or any other essential minerals, it derives its strong flavor from acetic acid. 

Some articles related to health pickle juice for you to check out:

We wrote The Ultimate Guide to Health Pickle Juice, which reviews some of this information presented in this article in more detail, especially pertaining to food dyes. We explore how to identify the right kind of pickle juice, and the health benefits to your gut microbiome

Do you have sodium concerns? Pickle juice is not a low sodium food, but we address this concern in The Truth About Sodium and Fermented Foods where we confront the myth that 'all sodium is bad' and discuss sodium's health benefits including its affect on high blood pressure.

Curious to learn more about fermented foods and their health benefits? Read our informative articleThe 7 Principal Health Benefits of Fermented Foods.

So there you have it! Five juicy myths BUSTED about salt brined pickled juice and electrolytes. Are you convinced? If not, feel free to do some more of your own research (or just give us a try – we won’t disappoint). At the end of the day, fermented foods are a delicious and healthy way to show your gut some love, so why not give them a go? Thanks for reading!

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Sources:

(1) https://medlineplus.gov/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html

(2) https://www.issuelab.org/resources/18583/18583.pdf

(3) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501134319.htm

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15613992/

(5) http://www.dcscience.net/Miller_Pickle_juice_cramps_reflex_2010.pdf

(6) https://meridian.allenpress.com/jat/article/48/6/734/111379/Ad-Libitum-Fluid-Intake-and-Plasma-Responses-After

 

Olive My Pickle

Founded in 2010, Olive My Pickle began as a farmer’s market business in Jacksonville, Florida. Specializing in fermented and probiotic foods, the company’s product line has over 35 varieties of pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, olives, vegetables and brines that ship nationwide.


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The content on this website is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider(s) with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.