Made my own Pickle Juice to alleviate cramping

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Bud, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I was watching the 4.5 doubles SF at the Balboa Park tournament this past Saturday and noticed one of the guys was drinking pickle juice during and post match. So, I asked him a few questions and then did some research on the Internet.

    I get moderate to severe toe and calf cramping quite frequently regardless of my hydration level or whether or not I'm taking in ample electrolytes.

    It appears the vinegar in the pickle juice is the magic ingredient that quickly and effectively relieves cramping. So, instead of buying pickles I looked up the recipe for pickle brine online.

    BTW, the resulting mixture is quite tasty :)

    Will keep everyone posted concerning the results.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
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  2. spacediver

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  3. SFrazeur

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    Been using Pickle Juice for well over 10 years now. Great stuff. There is even a pickle juice sports drink now!

    -SF
     
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  4. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I've read both of those articles and the study referenced in the pickle juice article. I'll stick with the pickle juice ;)

    I saw it (PJ sports drink) in my research. Making it at home is simple and cheap :)

    Does the pickle juice quickly alleviate your cramps? What part of your body generally cramps up?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
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  5. SFrazeur

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    My right or left leg will cramp from time to time. When I feel the kind of fatigue that comes before it I'll drink some pickle juice and it will keep it from occurring.

    -SF
     
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  6. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Two results from today.

    My partner's back was cramping during doubles... he took a swig of the pickle juice and the cramps disappeared. He's familiar with pickle juice and told me he usually takes a tablespoon of mustard for cramps (once again the vinegar seems to be the magic bullet).

    After a few hours today of pretty strenuous doubles, my hand started cramping so I took a large swig and bingo... cramps disappeared :shock:

    I also took a swig when I arrived home to prevent after-exercise cramps... which I also often experience.

    Pretty cool stuff. Hope it continues working.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
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  7. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I might try pickle juice someday if necessary, but for now drinking a calcium-potassium-sodium-magnesium mixture is making miracles for me. The best option is probably the Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink, but modified Gatorade (with added sodium, magnesium, and potassium) can also do the trick.
     
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  8. Bud

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    I also take magnesium supplements and use Cytomax (to which I also add a packet of the Alacer Electro Mix)... but was still experiencing cramps. So far, the pickle juice appears to work. My hand cramps were alleviated immediately and I didn't feel like my body was ready to cramp up after I arrived home (which happens regularly).

    I drink (3) 32 oz. bottles of Cytomax / water during a typical 3-hour tennis day (32 oz. of fluid per hour)

    For some people, cramps aren't the result of low electrolytes or dehydration.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
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  9. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    Anyone know if apple cider vinager will do the same trick?
     
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  10. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Yes, that's what I'm using. The goal is to buy vinegar with an acetic acid concentration of at least 5%. ACV makes the brew a bit sweeter and fruity tasting ;)

    The ratio to make pickling juice is 1 : 1 (vinegar : purified water) with two tablespoons of kosher (or pickling) salt (don't use table salt or anything with iodine) and two tablespoons of sugar. Add more/less sugar and salt to taste, after making the initial batch.


    This recipe gives the brine a sweeter pickle taste:

    1 cup of purified water
    1 cup of organic apple cider vinegar (5% acetic acid) - I use Bragg organic
    1-2 tablespoon of organic sugar (more or less to taste)
    2 tablespoon of kosher salt
    1 tablespoon of pickling spice (optional)

    If the resulting mixture is too vinegar heavy, use 8 oz. vinegar to 10 oz. of water. If still too much vinegar go to 12 oz. water.

    Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, on low to medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve all salt and sugar. Pickling spice can be added in the pan or in the container. It can be added loose or within a tea ball (for those who like clear pickle juice). Let cool, pour into container and store in the refrigerator. Make sure to shake gently 1x per day if pickling spices are used.

    Take 2-4 ounces with you when you play. If you start to cramp, take a swig and swallow. 1 oz. = a single shot. In my experience, muscle cramping is gone within 30-90 seconds.

    **EDITED RECIPE**


    This recipe gives the brine a sour dill pickle taste:


    1 cup of purified water
    1 cup of white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
    2 tablespoon of kosher salt
    1 tablespoon of pickling spice

    Shake container gently 1x per day to disseminate the herbs and juices throughout the brine

    Optional:

    Fresh dill sprigs (4 qty.)
    Clove of garlic (partially crushed)

    - - -

    I I want just a shot, I use the 2 oz. 5-hour Energy containers.

    If I want more, I store it in a 12 oz. Gatorade bottle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
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  11. SystemicAnomaly

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    I've become a fan of O.N.E.'s Active coconut water. Most coconut waters are a bit too high in potassium and too low in sodium. The Active formula has reduced the K content and raised the Na content somewhat (but it is still fairly low in Na at 130mg per container). Some coconut water products have also added too much sugar. Not the case with this product. They've added some functional herbal ingredients for some (possible) added benefits.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. SystemicAnomaly

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  13. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I take one thermotab before leaving for the courts.

    I usually play singles for 2 1/2 hours, and have had no cramping. Sip Powerade Zero during changeovers.
     
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  14. Power Player

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    I wonder where you can buy the pickle juice drinks (what stores)..that is the way for me to go. I'd like to try it out as I have the same cramp issues as the OP. I take 250mgs of magnesium at night to replenish that and drink powerade and water on the courts. It has lessened the cramps, but now and then I will still get them.
     
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  15. jmverdugo

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    This is funny, I have never in my life had cramp problems, in fact I can't remember a single time that I actually had a full cramp, sometimes - very few and usually after a couple of hours after I am done playing tennis - I feel the starting of a cramp and then change position or do something to avoid it. The funny thing is that I love to eat things with vinegar and all kind of species, since I was very little I would get home and instead of having a bowl of cereal I would make a salad with lots of vinegar on it or just stop at the grocery store and buy a jar of those canned vegetables that are preserved in vinegar and eat the whole thing watching TV, never thought the vinegar could be the reason of my cramp less life until i read here about the pickle juice. Even these days I could eat a whole jar of pickles watching TV and drink the whole juice as it was a soda or something, actually I have 2 pickle jars at the fridge, I already ate the pickles, just saving the juice :)
     
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  16. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I guess a good option is to drink electrolytes and bring along some pickle juice in case that doesn't work. I'll try that next time with your recipe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
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  17. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Never heard of them... will Google

    Why not just make your own like I describe above? It's cheap and you don't waste the pickles ;)

    Yes, scientific research is pointing to vinegar as the ingredient which alleviates cramps. As I stated above, my doubles partner takes a tablespoon of mustard since he doesn't care for pickle juice.

    That's what I do. I bring about 2 oz. with me when I play in case something starts to cramp.
     
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  18. Power Player

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    A tablespoon of mustard before playing would work the same?
    What kind of container do you pour the 2 ounces in..and finally how long does the 32 ounces last in the fridge?
     
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  19. MayDay

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  20. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    It would probably help prevent cramps if you feel them starting. The scientific research basically states that in certain situation cramps are caused when muscle nerve fibers misfire (telling the muscle to cramp rather than relax). When the vinegar enters the system it interrupts the misfiring process and alleviates the cramping, quickly. I don't think mustard lasts long outside of the fridge, once opened, however.

    I use a 20 oz. plastic Gatorade container to carry the 2 oz. You can use something much smaller, of course.

    The mixture will last long term in the fridge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
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  21. Talker

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    This sounds pretty good.

    You can buy some Potassium Magnesium Aspartate cheap and mix that with gatorade. Or in pill form as it doesn't taste too good. :)
     
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  22. Bud

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    Electrolytes are excellent, but cramps aren't always the result of low electrolytes and/or lack of hydration.

    For some people (like me), tired/fatigued muscles causes muscle nerve fiber to misfire, essentially telling the muscle to cramp rather than relax. The vinegar runs interference with the process and disrupts the mixed signals. The muscle relaxes as a result (according to current scientific research).

    Many times while at home relaxing, hours after leaving the court, certain muscles will start twitching and will then cramp. I'm hoping the pickle juice will alleviate this post-exercise cramping as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
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  23. Power Player

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    I get the same exact same thing..my toes and calves will cramp after playing. When it happens on the court it is usually severe enough to end my time there.

    If your mixture lasts long term in the fridge then I will just do that. Sounds like an awesome little concoction to dose during a match.
     
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  24. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Gotta say the pickle juice works pretty darned great :)

    Not a single full-on cramp since I've started using it. I can feel them coming on.. take about an ounce and it takes it right away.

    I also drink an ounce when I arrive home to prevent any post-exercise cramping.
     
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  25. Power Player

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    I went old school and bought a jar of pickles.

    Poured out 2 ozs of to shoot down before I went to play. It worked well. No cramps.

    Probably a placebo but I did not feel any twinges on my calves..you guys who get calf cramps probably know what I am talking about. You can get them when you are really going all out for a ball. They are like a precursor to a cramp.

    Everything felt good.
     
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  26. Dedans Penthouse

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    Below, a post from 5 years back extolling the virtues of pickle brine.

    Bud, a few comments: the magic ingrediant in pickle juice (i.e. brine) isn't so much the vinegar but chloride. To that end, there are a number of "vinegar-less" (naturally fermented) pickle brands ( e.g., www.bubbies.com/prod_pure_kosher_dills.shtml ) that are very effective--Bubblis kosher sour dills are 24-carat kick ass--the brine looks like grey, soapy dishwater! Secondly, I would think twice about using sugar in your recipe as sugar can have a tendency to 'settle' in the tummy. Long story short: I'd suggest the sour-brines (esp. those found in the "refrigerator section" of the store) over sugar-containing "bread & butter" type juice.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=815049&postcount=20
     
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  27. r2473

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    I've always had good luck with cheap beer.

    That and stretching.
     
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  28. Rickson

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    Why not eat bananas instead? You cats are just asking for high blood pressure with all that pickle juice.
     
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  29. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Its just 2 ounces...
     
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  30. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I like this.

    Also an apple, a banana, some coconut water, a lot of water, the occasional date/fig/raisin, and more water.

    You guys ever try aloe vera juice?

    I have it in the blender with three tangerines, a banana, some fresh ginger and some ice. So good. I wonder if adding some vinegar would be smart this time of year?

    I also think people forget to eat well AFTER a serious workout. I like to cool down with spicy food. I like Thai food with some fish, chicken or beef in it. Cucumbers and watermelon are cooling. One beer never hurt anybody. I think it's a great recovery drink, even though it's got some alcohol.
     
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  31. Power Player

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    I don't think you understand. I have played sports all my life and always dealt with leg cramps no matter what. It sucks man..real bad down here in Florida where the humidity sucks the water out of you.

    If it was as simple as water and a banana, this would be a non issue.

    tons of Football programs use pickle juice now do to this very reason. It is a rather common solution to leg cramps and so far it has worked for me.

    I will put it like this, if I get a calf cramp, I am done. It's time to go home and fire up the xbox or call a Power Playette for a massage.
     
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  32. Bud

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    Recent scientific evidence suggests that vinegar is the ingredient that relieves the cramps. Some people also use mustard packets to immediately stop cramps (again, the vinegar seems to be the key).

    I agree with you about the sugar. You can mix in any amount to suit your taste. In my next batch, I'll leave it out. However, you have to remember that you're only using about an ounce of the juice when cramps occasionally strike. That's not enough sugar or salt to even fret over, IMO.

    Agreed. As was stated earlier in the thread, for some people it's not lack of hydration or electrolytes that causes cramping. So drinking more water or eating more potassium is useless.

    If you cramp while also imbibing plenty of water and electrolytes then the pickle juice may be for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
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  33. LuckyR

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    Leave out the salt and post back if the vinegar solution is still working for you...
     
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  34. Bud

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    I take in salt in my electrolyte drinks and still get cramps. In fact, I even add some Morton Lite Salt for extra potassium with no additional success alleviating cramps.

    It's definitely the vinegar, not the salt. The salt makes the vinegar solution more palatable, however.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
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  35. LuckyR

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    The salt level in pickle juice (either from a pickle bottle or from the sports drink of that name) is way, way higher than in sports drinks, so I wouldn't use experience with sports drinks as evidence of anything, necessarily. I am not aware that many put much stock on potassium playing a key role in cramping.
     
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  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Well, why do some guys cramp easily and others do not?
    Is it diet/drinks? Is it hydration pre-match?
    Is it musculature? Genetics? Is it stress and the way a guy handles score? Is it breathing? Is it how efficiently a guy moves?

    I think of cramps and I think of Michael Chang and Marcos Baghdatis. Shuzo Matsuoka.
    Remember Pete after that 1995 Davis Cup match in Moscow? Ouch.
    I think of guys who did not cramp much and I think of Federer.
     
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  37. LuckyR

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    Some folks are salt sparing perspirers others are salt losing perspirers (if there is a white band on your dark cap after a match you are the latter).

    Of course, various individuals fluid load (or not) or salt load (or not).
     
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  38. Bud

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    Yes, but you're drinking less than an ounce to relieve the cramps. There isn't enough salt in an ounce to make a difference. I still think it's the vinegar. The science seems to agree.

    I think it's genetics. I've always been a cramper :shock: .. even when much younger

    I do have a salt ring on my cap after a long day of tennis. However, I take in plenty of salt so that's not an issue as far as the cramping.

    - - - -

    I played for 5 hours today. At about the 4th hour, my toes and right calf started cramping. Hit the pickle juice and bingo, cramps gone within a minute :)

    What an amazing discovery for me this is! There is nothing worse than feeling the cramps traveling up your body .. from toes to calves, to thighs, to abdomen, etc.

    I'll always pack a couple ounces of pickle juice whenever I play sports from now on.
     
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  39. LuckyR

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    We all agree that the product you are using is great for the problem you are seeking to solve. Since you are making your own and can vary the formula, leave out the salt one time and report your findings. I, for one, am interested in your result.

    BTW, I am not suprised (obviously) with your report of being a salt losing perspirer, and Shazam! you drink a very concentrated salt solution and your cramps disappear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
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  40. Dedans Penthouse

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A man walks into a doctor's office. A huge cucumber is stuck up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. "What's the matter with me?" he asks the doctor.

    The doctor replies, "you're not eating properly."


    [​IMG]
     
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  41. Bud

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    ^^ lol.. isn't Midol basically acetaminophen?
     
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  42. LuckyR

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    I like the way the ad notes that Betty's pain is "periodic".
     
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  43. purple-n-gold

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    Cannot answer definitely but me thinks it's mainly ibuprofen, one of those combo meds with a little caffeine and stuff in there.

    Bud, heres the MAIN ingredient in your anti-cramp formula: 1 heaping tablespoon of kosher salt + a little extra (since I like it salty)

    Replacing the sodium one excretes on a balmy day is key.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
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  44. ollinger

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    Drink pickle juice during a match?? I'd be reluctant to do it. A well known phenomenon in physiology is shunting, whereby the larger part of your blood circulation is directed where needed. During physical activity, it's directed away from the GI tract and towards skeletal muscle doing all the work. Conversely, when eating and digesting, blood is directed away from skeletal muscle towards the GI tract to facilitate absorption of nutrients (thus the advice not to go swimming right after eating.) It's been demonstrated that a circulation-deprived stomach and intestine is less protected from ingested acid, such as the acetic acid that is vinegar, or even the acid the stomach itself produces, and more at risk for development of an ulcer.
     
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  45. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^
    Not doubting you, but why do so many sports doctors on football teams swear by it then?

    I personally drink 2 ozs before I head off to play. It is has been brutally sweaty here for the past 3 months, and doing this combined with magnesium replenishment before bed has made a big difference.
     
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  46. ollinger

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    .....maybe for the same reason they've told football players for years not to worry about head trauma, now the focus of lawsuits. They work for the team and their job, in violation of their Hippocratic oath, is to keep the players playing. Football, it should be noted, also involves very little sustained exertion. An ESPN study putting a stopwatch to games found an average of between 11 and 12 minutes of actual action in a football game. (Dividing among offense, defense and special teams, that's about 5 minutes of exertion per player in a game.)
     
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  47. Bud

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    I haven't had any match cramps or post-match cramps since drinking the pickle juice.

    This is definitely a keeper!
     
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  48. Power Player

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  49. Bud

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    Been a month now and not a single cramp during or after a match using pickle juice :)
     
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  50. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    what did you think about some of the diets and experts the pros see to fix their cramping? Crazy..imagine getting full body cramps!!! uggh.
     
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