The Pickle Juice Company is well-known for their Pickle Juice Shots, especially it seems among the friends I ride with here in San Diego.
One friend shared his experience with their products as we were talking last week, stating that he downed three of them at an aid station when he was cramping in the middle of The Archipelago Ride put on by the San Diego Mountain Bike Association (SDMBA). He said the cramp went away immediately, but wasn’t 100% sure it was solely due to the Pickle Juice, but suggested it could have helped to have gotten off the bike, stretched, and given his legs a brief moment of rest.
Another friend stated that they definitely seem to work for cramps on most everyone he has known to use them, but that he really enjoyed the taste/flavor and practically felt addicted to drinking them after drinking a few at an event, and then not having another one for the ride home.
Regardless of the testimonies from my friends, I was very curious about how they would work for me, especially during the longer rides I have planned in the heat of the summer. I recently went on a bikepacking trip in 90F weather with few opportunities for shade cover and thought the new electrolytes I was trying were going to be sufficient. Unfortunately the supplement I had tried was not adequate in the quantities I had with me for the day’s conditions I was up against. I usually cramp in these situations, but had been taking it very slow and resting in what little shade I could find. If I had pushed it like I have many times before, cramps definitely would have set in. The Pickle Juice Company’s Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shots would have been a perfect product to use and test on that day. Fortunately, I sweat a lot and living in San Diego, I often find myself throughout the summer with similar conditions, where I will be in similar situations needing lots of electrolyte replenishment, often accompanied with leg and especially hand cramping.
I found out that The Pickle Juice Company has been making their original, 100% natural Pickle Juice Sport since 2001. How have I not tried this stuff already?!
I ran into Chris, from The Pickle Juice Company, last night during our weekly group mountain bike ride and asked him a little about the products they offer.
He mentioned that the science behind the Pickle Juice eliminating cramps was more tied to the brain than the electrolytes getting to the cramping muscle, based on a scientific study (read more on that HERE).
I found the science behind the Pickle Juice incredibly interesting. For whatever reason, I have always thought it was the muscle not getting what it needed to perform, not the brain signal triggering the cramp. I have gotten cramps at inopportune times in my life, many out in the ocean while surfing during a paddle back out after catching a wave. My arches of my feet would cramp up so bad that I would have to jump off my surfboard and try to stretch out my foot with my hand as the waves crashed over me. I would have been nice to have known back then that the “neurally mediated reflex” potentially triggered by the pickle juice brine may have helped dissipate the cramps.
Here is some information about the ingredients and nutritional facts off The Pickle Juice Company website:
“In ongoing efforts to provide consumers with the healthiest and most functional product available, The Pickle Juice Company refrains from including “non-functional” ingredients in our formulations to the best of our ability.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Vinegar, Salt, Natural Dill Flavor, Potassium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Yellow #5 (our 100% natural products do not contain yellow #5)
Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shots: serving size: 2.5 fl oz (75 mL) (1 bottle), servings per container: 1, Amount per serving: Calories: 0, Total Fat: 0g (0% DV), Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium: 470 mg (20% DV), Potassium: 20mg (1% DV), Total Carbohydrate: 0g (0% DV), Sugars: 0g, Protein: 0g, Vitamin C (8% DV), Vitamin E (8% DV), Zinc: 2mg (13% DV). Percent daily values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Pickle Juice Sport (Original and 100% Natural): serving size: 8 fl oz (240 mL) (one 8 oz bottle or 1/2 of 16 oz bottle). Amount per serving: Calories: 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Cholesterol: 0g (0% DV), Sodium: 820 mg (38% DV), Potassium: 70 mg (2% DV), Total Carbohydrate: 0g (0% DV), Sugars 0g (0% DV), Protein: 0g, Vitamin C (30% DV), Vitamin E (30% DV), Zinc (40% DV)”
Pickle Juice Sport costs $9.99 for a 6 pack of the 8oz bottles, $19.99 for 12 pack of the 8oz bottles, or $24.99 for a 12 pack of the 16oz bottles.
Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shots come in the 2.5oz sized bottles only and run $19.99 for a 12 pack or $69.99 for 4 of the 12 packs (48 bottles total).
I intend to see how well the Pickle Juice Shots, and The Pickle Juice Company’s newest product, the Pickle Juice Gel, will perform for me this summer as I undoubtedly will find myself on long rides, in hot conditions, suffering from muscle cramps.
So far, I have tried the Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot on one ride in 90F weather by drinking it early in the ride, but after being soaked with sweat. It has a pickle juice taste, even thought it does not actually contain any actual pickle juice. Mostly I think this taste is due to the vinegar, salt, and natural dill flavor. It wasn’t quite as pungent of a taste as I was expecting. I did not experience any muscle cramping on the ride. Was it the Pickle Juice shot? I can’t say for certain after just one sample, but I can say for certain that I am happy I didn’t have any cramping.
I hope to actually cramp while having the Extra Strength Pickle Juice in my jersey pocket to see if I can experience this “neurally mediated reflex” theory of instantly curing cramps.
Stay tuned this summer for my results and a full, unbiased review.