Last week I got asked by some of my sport-etudes hockey players “Why Mark Letestu from the Winnipeg Jets took mustard on the bench during an NHL game ?”.
First it is easy for a pro athletes to get caught when TV cameras are streaming live feed during a hockey game witch is not the case for you in your kitchen when you put weird stuff in your kraft dinner ( I heard some awful combination when I was a teenager with this one).
To answer the question, mustard is use for muscle cramp prevention. Even in 2019, the exact cause of muscle cramps is unknown. According to Dr. Bruce Bean, Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, leg cramps are muscle spasms caused by “mini-seizures” of motor neurons (nerves that power muscle contractions).
For decades physicians and athletic trainers assumed that muscle cramps originated in muscles and were caused by dehydration or imbalances in electrolytes such as sodium, potassium or magnesium.
MUSTARD OR PICKLE JUICE
Researchers have established that pickle juice promptly eases electrically induced muscle cramps. They have also demonstrated that the mechanism of action of pickle juice or mustard is not through electrolyte replenishment.They hypothesized that strong flavors would trigger nerves in the mouth, throat and stomach. This neuronal stimulation might in turn overwhelm the misbehaving nerves that were causing muscle cramps by “directly influence and regulate nerve function”.
This is why home remedies containing cinnamon, ginger, mustard, black pepper, pickles juice or a hot pepper extract could be an explanation for why so many people have reported success for leg cramps.
MILLER, Kevin C. Electrolyte and plasma responses after pickle juice, mustard, and deionized water ingestion in dehydrated humans. Journal of athletic training, 2014, vol. 49, no 3, p. 360-367
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