Pickle juice is a natural remedy often recommended to help combat hangover symptoms.
Pickle juice proponents claim that the brine contains important minerals that can replenish electrolyte levels after a night of heavy drinking.
However, the effectiveness of pickle juice remains unclear, as most evidence behind its purported benefits is purely anecdotal.
This article reviews the research to determine whether pickle juice can cure a hangover.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic, meaning that it increases urine production and accelerates the loss of fluids and electrolytes (
For this reason, drinking excess amounts of alcohol can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which may contribute to hangover symptoms.
Pickle juice contains sodium and potassium, both of which are important electrolytes that may be lost due to excessive alcohol intake.
Therefore, drinking pickle juice could theoretically help treat and correct electrolyte imbalances, which may decrease hangover symptoms.
However, research on the effects of pickle juice suggests that it may not have much of an effect on electrolyte levels.
For example, one study in 9 people found that drinking 3 ounces (86 mL) of pickle juice did not significantly alter electrolyte concentrations in the blood (
Another small study showed that drinking pickle juice after exercising did not increase blood sodium levels. Still, it did encourage fluid intake, which could be beneficial for dehydration (
Further high quality, large scale studies are needed to evaluate how drinking pickle juice may affect electrolyte levels, dehydration, and hangover symptoms.
Pickle juice contains electrolytes like sodium and potassium, levels of which could be depleted due to the diuretic effects of alcohol. However, studies show that drinking pickle juice is unlikely to affect electrolyte levels in the blood.
Although research suggests that drinking pickle juice may not significantly benefit electrolyte levels, consuming too much may harm your health.
For starters, pickle juice is high in sodium, packing a whopping 230 mg of sodium into just 2 tablespoons (30 mL) (
Consuming high amounts of sodium can increase fluid retention, which can cause issues like swelling, bloating, and puffiness (
Decreasing sodium intake is also recommended to help reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure (
Additionally, the acetic acid in pickle juice may worsen certain digestive issues, including gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea (
If you decide to try drinking pickle juice to treat a hangover, stick to a small amount of around 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) and discontinue use if you experience any adverse effects.
Pickle juice is high in sodium, which may cause fluid retention and should be limited in those with high blood pressure. The acetic acid in pickle juice may also worsen digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
Although research shows that pickle juice may not have much of an effect on hangover symptoms, many other natural remedies may be beneficial.
Here are a few other hangover remedies that you can try instead:
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can improve hydration, which may alleviate several symptoms of dehydration.
- Eat a good breakfast. Low blood sugar levels can worsen hangover symptoms like headache, dizziness, and fatigue. Eating a good breakfast first thing in the morning can settle your stomach and balance your blood sugar levels (
- Get some sleep. Alcohol intake can disrupt sleep, which may contribute to hangover symptoms. Getting plenty of sleep can help your body recover so you can get back to feeling your best (
- Try supplements. Certain supplements like ginger, red ginseng, and prickly pear may be effective against hangover symptoms. Be sure to talk to a healthcare professional before starting to take a new supplement (
Aside from drinking pickle juice, there are plenty of other ways to decrease hangover symptoms naturally.
Pickle juice contains important minerals like sodium and potassium, which can be depleted by excess alcohol consumption.
However, although pickle juice may encourage increased water intake, studies show that it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on electrolyte levels and could even be harmful in high amounts.
While most research suggests that pickle juice may not be effective against hangover symptoms, there are plenty of other natural remedies available that can help provide relief.
To help prevent a hangover in the first place, remember to stay hydrated with water while drinking.