Fact or Fiction: Learn the truth about pickle juice and electrolyte drinks}

Fact or Fiction: Learn the truth about pickle juice and electrolyte drinks

Fact or Fiction?

Pickle juice is used as a remedy for some pretty common ailments, but are these remedies true or just a bunch false claims?

This blog post is going over the 5 most common urban legends or as we like to refer to them, myths, surrounding pickle juice. Find out what is fact and what is fiction.

5 biggest myths surrounding pickle juice:

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

rainbow shots of LiveBrine 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 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.

Fact or Fiction? FICTION

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.

Hydration is definitely a trending topic.  How much water should you drink?  We explain that very topic in this article: Why is hydration important for your gut health?


electrolyte drinks

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

Fact or Fiction? FICTION

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, no 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 LiveBrine its vibrant color, naturally. Read all about these powerful superfoods powders and all their health benefits in our LiveBrine Buying Guide article.

    8 flavors of LiveBrine pickle juice

    Myth #3 Drinking pickle juice helps a hangover.

    Fact or Fiction: FACT

    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.

    drinks made with pickle juice

    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, do so in moderation and intentionally add probiotic and prebiotic foods back into your diet to offset the effects of alcohol.

      Can probiotic pickle juice be a beneficial additional to your drinks?  Yes! We answer that answer here, plus give you 19 recipes for pickle juice cocktails and mocktails all made with LiveBrine. 

      Pickle juice for cramps

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

      Fact or Fiction: FACT

      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.  

      pickle juice shot

      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.

      LiveBrine in Smoothies

      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.

      If smoothies are a part of your healthy habits and exercise routine, why not try adding LiveBrine to them? Here's 8 ways to add make your smoothies probiotic by adding pickle juice. 

      salt and intermittent fasting_ pickle juice

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

      Fact or Fiction: FACT

      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.

      Arnold Palmer made with LiveBrine

      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 are 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, 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 little to no essential minerals, it derives its strong flavor from acetic acid. You will not get the same benefits from vinegar pickle brine as you will salt water brine fermented pickle brine. 

      caesar salad dressing made with kosher dill pickle juice

      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 article The 7 Principal Health Benefits of Fermented Foods.

      recipes made with pickle juice

      So there you have it! Five juicy myths BUSTED about salt brined pickled juice and electrolytes. Fermented foods are a delicious and healthy way to show your gut some love, so why not give them a go? Thanks for reading!

      We're sharing lots of recipes for Pickle Juice here:

      If you're looking for unique ways to incorporate pickle juice into your daily habits, you're in luck! LiveBrine pickle juice is a tasty addition to many recipes and beverages, offering a wide array of interesting flavor combinations.

      Consider adding pickle juice to your favorite salsas, or dressings and sauces - it'll add a robust zip that's sure to tantalize the tastebuds.

      Plus pickle juice can be used as an ingredient in cocktails and mocktails that are both delicious and healthy.

      And who knew pickle juice could make an appealing addition to your smoothies?

      Find out more in these articles, all part of our collection of recipes featuring pickle juice!

      Is it Time to Grab a Bag of Brine?


      (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