I have received quite a few emails at this point asking about pickle juice, why kids are drinking it, and if there are any health benefits or detriments. I must say, I had not heard of this trend, and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found quite a few uses for pickle juice that some people advocate for. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m reaching for a jar of pickle juice any time soon, but you read and on decide for yourself.
–As a Sports Drink: Some athletes are big believers that the sodium in pickle juice helps to replenish the bodies electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise, not much unlike gatorade, or any other sports drink. Some studies have shown that drinking pickle juice when sports related cramps are present, they will be relieved in under 85 seconds, which is 45 seconds faster than water. Along with sodium, pickle juice contains calcium chloride and vinegar which makes it more acidic, and easier for your body to absorb in that state.
–To prevent Restless Leg Syndrome: Now this is more of a home remedy that has not been studied, but many sufferers report drinking a few ounces of pickle juice before bed and being able to sleep without the leg kicking that normally keeps them awake. How (or even IF) it works has not been studied, but it is touted as a treatment by many different people.
–To Aid a Sick Stomach: This is also a home remedy, and it has not been studied, but apparently people used to frequently ingest vinegar and honey to soothe a sick stomach (including heartburn) and those are two ingredients in many pickling agents, so ingesting pickle juice may give you the honey and vinegar people seek to soothe their stomach woes. I couldn’t imagine feeling sick to my stomach and drinking pickle juice, but there are many reports that it makes people feel better.
–To cover the scent of alcohol: Some teenagers and other underage drinkers will take a few swings of pickle juice to cover the smell of alcohol on their breath to get their parents off the trail. I guess seeing as it replaces lost fluids and sodium/electrolytes, it’s not a horrible idea, but it seems like a gross choice of beverages, and it will help to prevent that imminent hangover!
–To relieve Sunburn: There are multiple reports of blotting sunburns with pickle juice, stating that the vinegar helps to take the burn sensation out of the sunburn. Now, this really has not been studied at all, and I am not sure how it would be soothing to burned skin, other than by replacing some fluids that may be lost through the skin. But, if you are without aloe, oatmeal, or any other form of soothing relief, you may want to give pickle juice a try!
Are there Side Effects?
There are really no true known detriments to drinking pickle juice, but if you have a family history of gout, ingesting a lot of the acidic pickles/pickle juice can cause a build up of uric acid in your joints, which can be really painful. Other than gout, as long as you don’t have to be on a low sodium diet for cardiac or renal issues, you should be pretty safe drinking the pickle juice.
So, in short, the only real research that promotes the ingestion of pickle juice is for cramping related to electrolyte and fluid loss from strenuous exercise. All other reasons may be perfectly valid, but they have not been studied….and sorry teens that I may have outed, but if your parents smell pickles on your breath after a party, you may be getting grounded! And feel safe drinking that pickle juice, it really won’t harm you. If you do have any medical issues and take medications, you may want to check with your Healthcare Provider (HCP) before adding this regimen to your daily intake.
Yours in Good Health