Is Pickle Juice Good For Hangovers?
By James Petra
Updated on March 27, 2020

Is pickle juice good for hangovers? If you’re asking this question, you’ve probably heard that pickle juice is a miracle hangover cure, but you’re not entirely convinced.

And that’s fair enough. Skepticism when it comes to hangover cures is a good thing. There are so many old wives tales that are passed down from generation to generation. To put it bluntly, most things don’t work.

But what about pickle juice? Can it really be the answer to your hangover woes?

Drinking pickle juice for hangovers is a well-known thing in Poland and other eastern European countries. Some have rumored that it’s one of the reasons why people from these countries are able to drink the rest of the world under the table.

We don’t know if there’s much truth to that or whether it’s just stereotyping. Nevertheless, we were naturally keen to find out whether pickle juice is actually good for hangovers.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at everything there is to know about pickle juice and its perceived health benefits. Finally, we’ll also answer the all-important question of whether pickle juice works as a hangover cure or not.

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What is pickle juice?

First things first, what is pickle juice? We all know it’s the juice that your pickles are immersed in. But what is it actually made of?

Firstly, small cucumbers are placed in a glass jar, together with a variety of spices. Among those traditionally used in many recipes are garlic, horseradish, dill, and mustard seeds.

Then, the most important ingredient is added – Salt.

Finally, The glass jar is filled with water and kept under a non-airtight cover for several weeks.

Traditionally, it’s made without vinegar, however, nowadays some commercial manufacturers add vinegar as a preservative.

The bacteria that live on the surface of the cucumbers kickstart the fermentation process. This is generally the process of “pickling” most types of vegetables. It’s a way of preserving vegetables for a long time as well as adding a zingy flavor to it.

Nutrients in pickle juice

So, now that we know what pickle juice of made of, it’s easier to know what nutrients it packs.

Seeing as the main ingredient is water and salt, the main minerals in pickle juice is sodium and chloride (the constituents of table salt)

Aside from this, the variety of herbs and spices which are added to the brine mixture will also infuse small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants.

Now we’ve got the basics out the way, we’ll look at whether any of the nutrients in pickle juice is good for hangovers.

Is pickle juice good for hangovers?

To know if pickle juice is good for hangovers, we first need to go over how alcohol affects your body.

Alcohol is broken down by your liver to produce toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde which react with your cells causing inflammation. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your kidney flush out more water than it needs to. This ultimately leads to a net loss of water and dehydration. Finally, alcohol significantly disrupts your sleep quality by preventing you from reaching the “REM stage”. As a result, you’ll never be as rested after a night of drinking even if you’ve had your 8 hours of sleep.

These are just some of the ways in which alcohol causes hangovers. You’ll probably agree that it’s highly unlikely that pickle juice by itself will be able to counteract the negative effects of alcohol. That said, pickle juice may contain some minerals which are lost.

What does the research say?

At the time of writing, there are no research studies looking to pickle juice for hangovers. However, there is some interest around pickle juice and whether it can help aid rehydration.

Researchers have looked into whether pickle juice can restore lost electrolytes after exercise. Most studies have shown disappointing results.(1)(2)

When is the best time to drink pickle juice for hangovers?

Despite the fact that pickle juice is unlikely to be beneficial for a hangover, you still may want to try it anyway.

If you’ve woken up with a hangover after a big night out, drinking pickle juice in the morning may do more harm than good. If you’re feeling nauseous, the last thing you’ll want is a bitter-tasting drink.

Most people use pickle juice as a chaser. Essentially, doing a shot of pickle juice after a shot of a spirit. This way, the bitter taste of the pickle juice will mask the horrid after taste that most shots will give you.

Are there any negatives?

In general, drinking small amounts of pickle juice is totally safe to drink. By small amounts, we mean up to 50ml or half a glass full.

You’ll certainly want to avoid any more as it contains way too much salt which can be bad for your health. In addition, most pickle juice contains vinegar which will make it acidic. Therefore, if you’re someone who suffers from indigestion, pickle juice can add fuel to the fire.

Is pickle juice a hangover cure?

Unfortunately, pickle juice is not a hangover cure. To be fair, nothing in the world actually works as a true “hangover cure”.

At the end of the day, alcohol causes hangovers by several different mechanisms and no single thing is ever going to counteract the damage caused.

That said, there are some natural herbal remedies that have been shown to help with hangovers.

Anything else to consider?

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve had too much alcohol for your liver to handle. Trying to “cure” a hangover is the wrong approach.

Limiting your alcohol intake, having a meal before going out and drinking plenty of water on a night out is all it takes to prevent a hangover.

Other than this, you should also consider sticking to lighter colored drinks with fewer congeners. Drinking gin or vodka should, in theory, give you less of a hangover compared to whiskey or bourbon. That said, if you drink enough of any alcohol, you’ll wake up with a terrible hangover. And pickle juice is certainly not going to save you.

Pickle juice for hangovers – Final verdict

So, that brings us to the end of our look at whether pickle juice is good for hangovers.

Sadly, there is no evidence to say that it helps.  What we can tell you is that pickle juice contains quite a lot of salt and water which may help replenish some of what’s lost through drinking alcohol.

However, that does not stop many people from drinking it on a night out and at the very least, it’s a great chaser drink.

If you’re interested in natural hangover remedies, check out our article on the best hangover juices.

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James Petra

James is a beer-loving Biochemist and natural health enthusiast from Hull, which is in Yorkshire, England.

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