Is pickle juice good for you? 5 Advantages

  • Pickle juice has been shown to help prevent muscle cramps in athletes.
  • The vinegar in pickle juice can help reduce heartburn and stabilize blood sugar.
  • Pickle juice is loaded with sodium, so it’s important not to drink too much at once.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more tips.

Pickles have long been a favorite side dish for backyard barbecues, but these days pickle juice has taken center stage.

Pickle juice is available on its own in the form of sports drinks, slushies, alcoholic beverages, etc., and people flock to it for its health benefits.

“Athletes may use pickle juice thinking it will help improve their performance,” says Matthew Black, RD, registered dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “While others may consume pickle juice thinking it [help] muscle cramps and hangover.”

Are any of these health benefits true? Should you drink pickle juice every day? Here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of this salty green liquid.

Nutrition Facts About Pickles

In general, pickles and pickle juice contain the electrolyte sodium, and some recipes may also include added antioxidants like vitamin C and E, says Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition.

These important nutrients come both from the cucumbers (and other herbs and vegetables) that manufacturers use to make pickles and also from the brine – which usually includes a mixture of vinegar, salt and seasoning – which makes the pickling.

Commercially produced cucumbers are very rarely fermented, but if you buy (or make) fermented pickles, they may also contain probiotics, “good bacteria” that promote a healthy gut.

Here’s what the nutritional information for pickle juice looks like (although it varies depending on the recipe and the manufacturing process).

Here are six ways the probiotics and other nutrients in pickle juice can benefit your health.

1. Gut Health Benefits

Your gut is home to approximately one trillion bacteria, known as the gut microbiome. Keeping these good bacteria thriving can reduce your risk of allergies, arthritis, and a host of other conditions.

One way to keep your gut microbes happy and healthy is to consume probiotics, or good bacteria, like those found in fermented pickle juice.

A small 2021 study found that people who ate a diet high in fermented foods had a more diverse gut microbiome and healthier immune systems.

To that end, “eating pickles is a great way to increase the population of your microbiome,” says Shapiro.

To find out if your pickle juice contains probiotics, look for the words “probiotics” or “fermented” on the label, Black says.

Just be aware that some companies will add probiotics after juicing instead of letting them grow naturally during fermentation. These products generally contain fewer probiotic strains and are likely not as beneficial, Black says.

2. Reduces Muscle Cramps

Pickle juice has been shown to help prevent muscle cramps in athletes when consumed during or after a workout.

Shapiro recommends taking a 1-ounce dose of pickle juice after intense workouts to prevent cramps. If you don’t exercise regularly, pickle juice may still help relieve muscle cramps, but there’s no research on non-athletes.

The vinegar in many pickle juices can help


because some research has shown that vinegar can reduce appetite, says Black.

However, there are three big issues to consider:

  1. Vinegar suppresses appetite by making people nauseous, so it is generally not well tolerated.
  2. Additionally, most of the research on vinegar and weight loss involves apple cider vinegar, which isn’t typically used in pickle juice.
  3. Finally, most studies on weight loss and vinegar involve drinking vinegar before each meal. Consuming that much pickle juice would result in too much sodium being consumed, so it’s not a recommended weight loss strategy, Black says.

4. Reduces Heartburn

Heartburn can be triggered by acidic foods, so heartburn sufferers should avoid them. Even so, some people report that pickle juice, which is very acidic, helps relieve their symptoms, Shapiro says. For others, it makes symptoms worse.

“It seems to be subjective,” she says. “No research has been done on pickle juice for heartburn.”

If you want to try, take an ounce of pickle juice when you feel symptoms. If symptoms worsen, try other heartburn remedies, such as consuming ginger or liquid aloe vera.

5. Regulates Blood Sugar

Research has shown that vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels, especially when taken with meals containing complex carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables. Vinegar may also help people with type two


regulate blood sugar.

“Vinegar helps improve insulin response and therefore helps manage blood sugar after meals,” says Shapiro.

Although there are no studies on pickle juice specifically, pickle juice that contains a lot of vinegar (rather than fermented pickle juice) likely has the same effect, she says.

The risks of drinking too much

The biggest risk of drinking pickle juice is consuming too much sodium.

The average adult should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but most Americans consume more. Consuming too much sodium can raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

For this reason, most people shouldn’t consume pickle juice regularly, Black says. This includes:

  • People on a low sodium diet, often used to treat kidney disease, heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • People aged 14 and under have a recommended daily sodium limit of less than 1800 mg per day (dropping to 1500 mg for children under 9 and 1200 mg for children under 4) should therefore be particularly careful when consuming pickle juice.

Insider’s Takeaways

Although pickle juice is all the rage, there’s little evidence to back up some of its purported health benefits, Black says.

Pickle juice can help relieve muscle cramps or stabilize blood sugar. Fermented pickle juice may help support a healthy gut microbiome. But because pickle juice contains so much salt, it’s not a healthy food.

“These products are high in sodium, so use them sparingly,” Black says. “The benefits may not outweigh the risk of consuming large amounts of sodium.”

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