With the heat dome that the U.S. was bombarded with last summer where temperatures were well into the 100′s, it’s safe to say that being well hydrated should be one of our main concerns in the coming months. Now adequate H2O consumption is a no brainier, but we all know we don’t lose just water, but various nutrients. What could stop and even prevent dehydration? Pickle juice, wait did I just say pickle juice? Yes pickle juice.
One of the biggest displays of pickle juices power was the 2000 NFL season opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys which was the hottest game ever played, where the outside temperature was 109 degrees and the field reached 130 degrees at the Texas stadium, the Eagle’s had reportedly been drinking sports drinks coupled with pickle juice prior to game time and the week before where as the Cowboys just drank traditional sports drinks. The Cowboys lost 12 players to heat cramps [a muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax (MedicineNet)] where the Eagles lost none. The Cowboys looked “slow and tired” where as the Eagles looked “fresh and upbeat.” Brian Dawkin’s the safety for the Eagle’s had this to say “I know it helped me, I’m a crampee. I cramp up all the time. I didn’t have a single cramp all day.” The Eagles trampled the Cowboys 41-14 that day.
The three main things we lose when we sweat are of course water then their is sodium and chloride which are the two main electrolytes lost. Replenishing these are a must, an average person can lose anywhere between 700-2,300 milligrams of sodium per liter of sweat depending on sodium concentrations, people being on the higher end who aren’t accustomed to high heat climates (Wenger 1988). The average adult athlete in warm to hot conditions loses anymore from 1-2.5 liters of sweat per hour of intense training or competition (Armstrong et al., 1986). Pickle juice can also aid in the prevention of hyponatremia in which the blood loses concentration of sodium to water. In a high heat situation an athlete runs the risk of not just hyponatremia but also hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically and can lead to heat stroke one cause being dehydration (Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, Heat Stroke).
Now we see how important it is to be properly hydrated and pickle juice being the superior sports drink, so should we just carry around a jar of pickle juice everywhere you go during the blistering hot times, of course not, but no one is stopping you. A 2 ounce (600-800 mg of sodium) shot of pickle juice has 20 times the amount of electrolytes as Gatorade and 40 times the amount of Powerade. Pickles are packed in vinegar, which contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium which are all important in physical exertion. 2-3 ounces before leaving for work in the morning and the same after getting home during 100 plus degree weather should aid in the prevention of dehydration, as for athletes 3 ounces before training and 2 ounces per hour coupled with a sports drink for intense high heat training workouts to aid in not only preventing dehydration but muscle cramps as well. Pickle juice is readily available and can be picked up at any supermarket for a fraction of the price of any sports drink.
Wenger, C.B. (1988). Human heat acclimatization, In: K.B. Pandolf, M.N. Sawka, and R.R. Gonzalez (eds.) Human Performance Physiology and Environmental Medicine at Terrestrial Extremes. Indianapolis, IN: Benchmark Press, pp. 153-197.
Armstrong, L.E., R.W. Hubbard, B.H. Jones, and J.T. Daniels (1986). Preparing Alberto Salazar for the heat of the 1984 Olympic Marathon. Physician Sportsmed. 14: 73-81.