4 Benefits of Pickle Juice for Runners: When to Consume it?

Reviewed by: Olexandr Maximenko (Sports Nutritionist, MSc)

Are you an avid runner looking for relief from pesky cramps? Pickle juice for runners is surprisingly effective in tackling muscle cramps and improving performance.

This blog post will explain 4 ways pickle juice benefits runners, as well as the nutritional value of pickles and other alternatives to consider.

Let’s explore how pickle juice can help make running smoother while providing great health benefits!

Why do athletes drink pickle juice?

Pickle juice is an effective and natural remedy for muscle cramps, dehydration, and fatigue. It contains electrolytes that help hydrate muscles during physical activity, as well as antioxidants that protect against cellular damage. Acetic acid present in pickle juice helps reduce muscle tension, enabling a quicker recovery after intense running sessions.

What is Pickle Juice, and its benefits for Runners?

Pickle juice is a salty brine made from cucumbers, water, and vinegar. It’s typically used for making pickles but has recently gained popularity as an effective recovery tool for runners.
But, are pickles good for runners? Here are the main benefits of pickle juice for your performance:

Pickle juice for runners

1. Hydrates and Relieves Muscular Cramps

Pickle juice is an excellent source of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. When runners sweat during exercise, these minerals are lost, which can cause dehydration. By drinking pickle juice, which is rich in electrolytes before or after a workout, athletes can replenish their fluid stores and maintain optimal hydration levels while experiencing cramp relief at the same time.

Experts say that drinking pickle juice helps reduce muscle cramps compared to conventional sports drinks. It may even shorten the duration of a muscle spasm once it has already started. The vinegar content also has properties that can further relieve muscular discomfort and reduce soreness after running sessions.

2. Acts as a Fat-Free Recovery Aid

Pickle juice is an effective fat-free recovery aid for runners. Its content helps replenish the vital minerals and nutrients lost during exercise.

Pickles are naturally calorie-free and contain no fats, proteins, carbohydrates, or sugar. However, they provide some key elements necessary for athletic performance such as hydration, muscle recovery, and improved electrolyte balance.

Thanks to these essential components efficiently working together post-run, pickle juice helps runners boost their energy levels, making them more capable to push through intense workouts.

3. Rich in Antioxidants

Pickled cucumbers contain vitamin C, which helps support healthy joints and bones by reducing inflammation. Additionally, studies suggest consuming antioxidant-rich foods leads to better performance during physical exertion.

It may also promote digestive health thanks to beneficial bacteria naturally found in pickles. It supports gut flora balance and improves nutrient absorption from other consumed foods.

4. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Pickled cucumber juice can help to control blood glucose levels due to the presence of acetic acid, which is found in pickles as well as vinegar.

This natural process helps balance sugar and insulin activity in your body, resulting in improved blood sugar management during runs. The antioxidants present in pickle juice also play an important role by helping to moderate the spike in blood sugar levels experienced after intense exercise or at times when energy levels are low from running long distances.

Nutritional Value of Pickled Cucumber Juice

The key ingredient in pickled cucumber juice is sodium, which helps regulate fluid levels in the body. Sodium also helps to transport glucose to muscle cells, providing energy during exercise.

Other nutrients present in pickle juice include:

  • Potassium, a mineral essential for promoting heart health;
  • Calcium and magnesium, which help to support strong bones;
  • Vitamin C, acting as an antioxidant;
  • Acetic acid (vinegar), helpful for blood sugar control;
  • Zinc, crucial for immune system function;
  • Iron, key to fight off fatigue during workouts;
  • Folate and B vitamins, necessary for healthy tissue development.

Pickled cucumber juice contains 2–25 calories, 0-0.1 g of fat, 0–0.1 g of protein, and 0–5.2 g of carbs per 1 fl oz, depending on the brand. Additionally, the pickle juice pH ranges from 3 to 4.

Pickle Juice for Runners’ Cramps: Does It Really Help?

Pickle juice has been known to provide relief from muscle cramps and improve athletic performance, but does it really work? Why does pickle juice help with cramps?

Many athletes are hesitant to try pickle juice at first, but those who do swear by its ability to quickly alleviate muscle cramps.

In fact, there is no research that confirms the magical benefits of pickle juice. Before feeling disappointed, let’s go deeper and explore all the details.

Muscle cramps in runner
Photo by Drazen Zigic from Freepik

Is Pickle Juice Good for Runners?

Muscle cramps in runners are often caused by fluid loss during sweating. In addition to water, your body loses important electrolytes needed for healthy muscle fiber function.

This mainly applies more to the loss of sodium and potassium to a greater extent. Therefore, it is essential for runners to maintain a balance of sodium and potassium, especially during long runs when your body loses a lot of fluid.

Returning to the issue of pickled juice, it just contains the sodium and potassium that your muscles need so much. Of course, this is not the only source of electrolytes, but it has a pleasant taste, natural composition, and does not contain fats and carbohydrates.

There are many studies on the effect of pickle juice on runners, and some prove that it is beneficial for shortening muscle cramps. Therefore, it is widely popular amongst long-distance runners, who rely on it to replenish fluid levels and prevent painful muscle fatigue during their runs.

When is the Best Time to Drink Pickle Juice?

Knowing when to drink pickle juice is essential for runners to take advantage of its physiological benefits, and make sure they’re running their absolute best. Here are two options to consider:

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1. Pickle Juice Before Running

Before running, athletes may consider drinking pickle juice due to its potential in reducing cramps and enhancing performance. However, taking pickle juice before running has both advantages and disadvantages.

The pros include:

  • the potential alleviation of muscle cramps during exercise caused by dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance;
  • the decreased duration of leg cramps experienced while running.

The cons:

  • no research to conclusively prove whether pickled juice helps improve aerobic performance through anaerobic endurance activities, such as runs over very long distances.

2. Pickle Juice After Running

After a hard workout, many runners turn to pickle juice as a natural recovery aid and cramp reliever. It is important for runners to weigh the potential benefits of drinking pickle juice against any risks or side effects before doing so.

Consuming moderate amounts of pickle juice (4–8 fl oz or about 118–237 ml) can be beneficial after workouts.

It helps with:

  • hydration;
  • restoring post-run balance;
  • fueling up on vitamins like B6, which helps reduce fatigue after activity.

The side effects of overdrinking pickle juice may include:

  • stomach issues;
  • high blood pressure (due to high salt content), and electrolyte imbalances.

How Should Runners Take Pickle Juice: The Exact Quantity and Form

Drinking pickle juice directly is the usual method of consumption for runners. This can be done either before or after a workout, depending on the desired effect.

Finding the right quantity of pickle juice that works for each individual runner is key. Consuming too much could result in unfavorable taste sensations and side effects, while drinking too little won’t yield the maximum benefits this unique liquid remedy can offer.

icon run

Pro Tip:

Generally speaking, consuming 4 ounces to 8 ounces at once should provide relief if you are prone to muscle cramps due to exercise activities like running. If you prefer to take pickle juice before your workout, drinking it 15 minutes beforehand should allow enough time for the helpful compounds to take effect.

4 Alternatives to Pickle Juice for Runners’ Cramps

Here are some alternative options to pickle juice for relieving cramps:

Runner drink pickle juice

1. Coconut Water

Coconut water is considered to be an effective and beneficial alternative to pickle juice in helping athletes with relief from muscle cramps. It contains the same electrolytes found in pickle juice, such as sodium, calcium, and other nutrients, which play a crucial role in our internal hydration system.

2. Watermelon Water

This natural remedy contains electrolytes, including potassium, which help prevent dehydration and boost energy during exercise or even after a hard workout. Additionally, research shows that its antioxidant capacity can reduce inflammation, resulting in faster recovery times.

Watermelon water offers all the benefits of other sports drinks but without added sugar or additives, making it an ideal choice for maintaining fitness goals while avoiding unnecessary calories!

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Similar in nature to pickle juice, apple cider vinegar may be able to provide short yet powerful relief from dreaded leg cramps. Moreover, drinking it before running could potentially help athletes prevent them all together due to its acetic acid content. Consuming small amounts of diluted ACV on its own or with other remedies works well as a cramp reliever during exercise.

4. Electrolyte Water

Electrolyte water is a great alternative to pickle juice for runners’ cramps. It can help increase hydration levels, improve muscle performance, and even replenish essential minerals lost during exercise.

It contains electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are vital for proper muscle functionality and efficient nerve conduction.

3 Best Pickle Juices You Can Choose for Running

Check out our selection of the best pickle juices for cramps on sale that will complement your training!

For Cramp Relief

Pickle Hydrate Shot

Pickle Hydrate Shot

With a snug fit throughout the entire foot from heel to toe, you can count on Balega running socks providing all-day support for marathon-length days on the track or trail.


  • Available in sizes ranging from 2 oz shots to a 1-gallon bottle.
  • Packed with high-potency electrolytes important to balance blood sugar levels.
  • Helps rehydrate runners and enhances their performance during runs.


  • Limited flavor options may not appeal to those seeking flavored hydration.
Pickle Hydrate Shot

Ideal for Hydration During Runs

Pickle Juice Sports Drink Shots

Pickle Juice Sports Drink Shots

Ideal for runners in need of a powerful and effective solution for cramps, Pickle Juice Sports Drink Shots are the perfect choice. The combination of pickles and vinegar is known to provide immediate relief while also helping with hydration during runs.

Each 2.5 oz shot contains 10 times the electrolytes found in regular sports drinks, with no added sugar, establishing an ideal balance of nourishment and reinvention. Its compact size makes it easily portable so you’ll never have to worry about carrying around large bottles.


  • Immediate cramp relief for runners.
  • 10x electrolytes of regular sports drinks for efficient hydration.
  • Sugar-free, suitable for health-conscious individuals.
  • Compact and portable.


  • Taste may not be appealing to some users.
Pickle Juice Sports Drink Shots

Extra Strength

Pickle Juice Sports Drink

Pickle Juice Sports Drink

Pickle Juice Sports Drink is the perfect drink to keep your hydration and electrolyte balance on track. Its blend of natural ingredients makes it incredibly efficient at relieving muscular cramps, while its USDA Organic certification makes sure you can trust its nutritional value.

This drink is the same as the previous shots, but comes in a bulk 1-gallon option that will save runners’ time shopping. It offers relief without having to buy multiple small bottles throughout your activities.


  • Maintains electrolyte balance, vital for athletes.
  • Effectively relieves muscular cramps, ideal for athletes.
  • Ensures quality and trust for health-conscious consumers.
  • Conveniently saves time and money for active users.


  • Single flavor may not suit all tastes.
Pickle Juice Sports Drink

Frequently Asked Questions about Pickle Juice for Running

Why Do Long-Distance Runners Drink Pickle Juice?

Pickle juice can provide rapid relief from muscle cramps and improve hydration by supplying essential electrolytes. It can ease cramps within minutes of ingestion, which could explain why so many athletes use it as a remedy.

Does Pickle Juice Help with Running?

Yes, pickle juice can help your running by replenishing electrolytes, hydrating, and reducing muscle fatigue. It may help reduce or relieve those pesky post-workout muscle cramps often experienced by runners.

Pickle juice, which has vinegar as its main ingredient, relieves a cramp 45 percent faster.

Final Thoughts on Pickle Juice for Runners

Pickle juice has been found to aid runners in a variety of ways. Its high electrolyte content and acetic acid can help in cramp relief and hydration, particularly for athletes who may be running long distances or engaging in strenuous exercise.

It’s available in shots or large bottles, so every runner can pick the best option for their pre-run hydration or post-run recovery. Improve your healthy nutrition with pickle juice and feel the difference yourself!

Have you ever tried to replenish your electrolytes with pickle juice? Please tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Also read:


  1. “Pickle Juice: Is It Good for You?” https://www.webmd.com/diet/pickle-juice-good-for-you, (accessed September 11, 2023).
  2. “Does pickle juice relieve muscle cramps?” The Cooper Institute, https://www.cooperinstitute.org/blog/does-pickle-juice-relieve-muscle-cramps
  3. Miller KC, et al., “Reflex inhibition of electrically induced muscle cramps in hypohydrated humans”, Med Sci Sports Exerc 42, no. 5 (2010): 953-61, http://www.dcscience.net/Miller_Pickle_juice_cramps_reflex_2010.pdf
  4. Tarazona-Díaz MP, et al., “Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes”, J Agric Food Chem 61, no. 31 (2013): 7522-8, https://core.ac.uk/reader/159419540
  5. Hooper Marosek SE, et al., “Quantitative Analysis of the Acetic Acid Content in Substances Used by Athletes for the Possible Prevention and Alleviation of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps”, J Strength Cond Res 34, no. 6 (2020): 1539-1546, https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2020/06000/quantitative_analysis_of_the_acetic_acid_content.7.aspx
  6. Yong JW, et al., “The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water”, Molecules 14, no. 12 (2009): 5144-64, https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/14/12/5144

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