Pre-exercise ingestion of pickle juice, hypertonic saline, or water and aerobic performance and thermoregulation

Jarett Peikert, Kevin C. Miller, Jay Albrecht, Jared Tucker, James Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Context: Ingesting high-sodium drinks pre-exercise can improve thermoregulation and performance. Athletic trainers (19%) give athletes pickle juice (PJ) prophylactically for cramping. No data exist on whether this practice affects aerobic performance or thermoregulation. Objective: To determine if drinking 2 mL/kg body mass of PJ, hypertonic saline, or deionized water (DIW) pre-exercise affects aerobic performance or thermoregulation. Design: Crossover study. Setting: Controlled laboratory study. Patients or Other Participants: Nine euhydrated men (age = 22 ± 3 years, height = 184.0 ± 8.2 cm, mass = 82.6 ± 16.0 kg) completed testing. Intervention(s): Participants rested for 65 minutes. During this period, they ingested 2 mL/kg of PJ, hypertonic saline, or DIW. Next, they drank 5 mL/kg of DIW. Blood was collected before and after ingestion of all fluids. Participants were weighed and ran in the heat (temperature = 38.3°C ± 1°C, relative humidity = 21.1% ± 4.7%) at increasing increments of maximal heart rate (50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%) until exhaustion or until rectal temperature exceeded 39.5°C. Participants were weighed postexercise so we could calculate sweat volume. Main Outcome Measure(s): Time to exhaustion, rectal temperature, changes in plasma volume, and sweat volume. Results: Time to exhaustion did not differ among drinks (PJ = 77.4 ± 5.9 minutes, hypertonic saline = 77.4 ± 4.0 minutes, DIW = 75.7 ± 3.2 minutes; F2,16 = 1.1, P = .40). Core temperature of participants was similar among drinks (PJ = 38.7°C ± 0.3°C, hypertonic saline = 38.7°C ± 0.4°C, DIW = 38.8°C ± 0.4°C; P = .74) but increased from pre-exercise (36.7°C ± 0.2°C) to postexercise (38.7°C ± 0.4°C) (P < .05). No differences were observed for changes in plasma volume or sweat volume among drinks (P > .05). Conclusions: Ingesting small amounts of PJ or hypertonic saline with water did not affect performance or select thermoregulatory measures. Drinking larger volumes of PJ and water may be more effective at expanding the extracellular space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-209
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Acetic acid
  • Core temperature
  • Exhaustion
  • Sodium
  • Vinegar


Dive into the research topics of 'Pre-exercise ingestion of pickle juice, hypertonic saline, or water and aerobic performance and thermoregulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this