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What Ingredient In Mustard Helps With Cramps

Person running next to a packet of yellow mustard

Photo: Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Meredith

In 2019, former Canadian ice hockey player Mark Letestu briefly made headlines when he was seen sucking on a packet of Heinz yellow mustard on the dugout during a game. The image quickly made its way onto Twitter, and puzzled sports writers tried to make sense of Letestu’s choice of snacks.

“Perhaps Letestu finds it refreshing,” speculated an NHL reporter.

As it turns out, eating mustard during a sporting event is far from a personal quirk — it’s actually quite common in some athletic communities, particularly for endurance sports like Spartan Race, an intense Tough Mudder-like steeplechase. . If you were to do an archaeological study of debris left behind during some athletic events, you might find among the usual suspects — like GU energy gels and Honey Stinger waffles — hundreds of empty mustard packets.

Yet mustard has none of the ingredients commonly associated with sports supplements: it contains neither glucose nor caffeine and is relatively low in calories. So what, exactly, is the appeal?


The history of Mustard health benefits

It turns out that mustard has a thousand-year history as a medicinal plant. Bénédicte Bortoli writes Mustard: a treasure of Burgundy that ancient Greek thinkers, including Hippocrates and Pythagoras, condoned mustard for its many purported health benefits, from aiding digestion to preventing seizures. Mustard has also been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic therapeutic treatments for thousands of years and was used in popular treatments known as “mustard plasters” in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. For modern athletes, however, one of mustard’s therapeutic properties appeals more than others.

“Cramps, I’d say, are the biggest application of mustard packets,” says endurance athlete Emma Cook-Clarke. While mustard packets may be considered a bit of a joke among athletes, Cook-Clarke adds, people tend to use mustard packets fairly regularly, albeit more as a quick fix than a long-term fix. “Mustard is like this quick fix for the Band-Aid,” she says.


Mustard as a cure for… leg cramps?

If you browse the sub-Reddits for activities like running, cycling, and the Spartan Race, you’ll find dozens of users proselytizing mustard packs as an almost instant cure for leg cramps. Some speculate that it is related to the salt content, acetic acid or even turmeric added for coloring, the latter of which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. One of the more commonly held theories, however, says Spartan runner and endurance coach Ian Hosek, is that mustard somehow helps “jump-start” the brain during a cramp. And, while he doesn’t necessarily recommend it to clients, “I’ve seen it really work,” he says. “I know many athletes who have used it in the past.”

What does it actually mean to jumpstart the brain, though?

Leg cramps, says Dr. Michael Fredericson, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Stanford University, are caused — at least in theory — by an “overexcitation of the nerves in the legs.” A food like mustard, then, could work to override the signal your legs are sending to your brain by activating nerves in your mouth or throat. In this way, Fredericson says, “the painful stimulus, or the irritating one, doesn’t have a chance to register.”

Several companies have popped up in recent years in an attempt to cash in on this theory. The HOTSHOT brand, for example, describes its product as “a scientific breakthrough in athletic performance that eliminates muscle soreness and stops muscle cramps.” Pickle Juice, another liquid supplement, advertises itself as “the only product on the market scientifically proven to stop muscle cramps” and is made from ingredients like vinegar, salt, and potassium. (As it turns out, pickle juice — the actual juice from a pickle jar, not the brand name — has some research backing it as a cramp remedy.)


Who started the show mustard craze?

In an effort to pinpoint where and when mustard consumption actually originated in the athletic community, I contacted a half-dozen sports history professors at several institutions, including Brown University and Georgia Tech. None of the five who responded had ever heard of the practice. Dr. Fredericson had to google it before our conversation.

Maybe eating mustard on the track, in the field, or in the mountains is the sort of thing that gets passed down informally among athletes, like a rumor or a legend, until enough people believe it for it to stick (even without definitive proof). ). The only conceivable downside to eating mustard packets, perhaps — aside from momentary nausea — is the litter it produces.

“I literally collect a million packets of mustard throughout the course!” says Steve Hammond, Spartan’s racecourse manager.

In the end, even if it doesn’t help a single athlete eliminate cramping, mustard can still provide a tasty pick-me-up after hours of eating nothing but glucose gels and sports drinks. “After the race, I really don’t feel like it everything sugary,” Cook-Clarke says. “Mustard is pretty good, whether on a sandwich or for dipping a soft pretzel in mustard.”

Maybe that too was part of the appeal for Letestu.


In 2019, former Canadian ice hockey player Mark Letestu briefly made headlines when he was seen sucking on a packet of Heinz yellow mustard on the dugout during a game. The image quickly made its way onto Twitter, and puzzled sports writers tried to make sense of Letestu’s choice of snacks.

“Perhaps Letestu finds it refreshing,” speculated an NHL reporter.

As it turns out, eating mustard during a sporting event is far from a personal quirk — it’s actually quite common in some athletic communities, particularly for endurance sports like Spartan Race, an intense Tough Mudder-like steeplechase. . If you were to do an archaeological study of debris left behind during some athletic events, you might find among the usual suspects — like GU energy gels and Honey Stinger waffles — hundreds of empty mustard packets.

Yet mustard has none of the ingredients commonly associated with sports supplements: it contains neither glucose nor caffeine and is relatively low in calories. So what, exactly, is the appeal?


The history of Mustard health benefits

It turns out that mustard has a thousand-year history as a medicinal plant. Bénédicte Bortoli writes Mustard: a treasure of Burgundy that ancient Greek thinkers, including Hippocrates and Pythagoras, condoned mustard for its many purported health benefits, from aiding digestion to preventing seizures. Mustard has also been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic therapeutic treatments for thousands of years, and was used in popular treatments known as “mustard plasters” in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. For modern athletes, however, one of mustard’s therapeutic properties appeals more than others.

“Cramps, I’d say, are the biggest application of mustard packets,” says endurance athlete Emma Cook-Clarke. While mustard packets may be considered a bit of a joke among athletes, Cook-Clarke adds, people tend to use mustard packets fairly regularly, albeit more as a quick fix than a long-term fix. “Mustard is like this quick fix for the Band-Aid,” she says.


Mustard as a cure for… leg cramps?

If you browse the sub-Reddits for activities like running, cycling, and the Spartan Race, you’ll find dozens of users proselytizing mustard packs as an almost instant cure for leg cramps. Some speculate that it is related to the salt content, acetic acid or even turmeric added for coloring, the latter of which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. One of the more commonly held theories, however, says Spartan runner and endurance coach Ian Hosek, is that mustard somehow helps “jump-start” the brain during a cramp. And, while he doesn’t necessarily recommend it to clients, “I’ve seen it really work,” he says. “I know many athletes who have used it in the past.”

What does it actually mean to jumpstart the brain, though?

Leg cramps, says Dr. Michael Fredericson, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Stanford University, are caused — at least in theory — by an “overexcitation of the nerves in the legs.” A food like mustard, then, could work to override the signal your legs are sending to your brain by activating nerves in your mouth or throat. In this way, Fredericson says, “the painful stimulus, or the irritating one, doesn’t have a chance to register.”

Several companies have popped up in recent years in an attempt to cash in on this theory. The HOTSHOT brand, for example, describes its product as “a scientific breakthrough in athletic performance that eliminates muscle soreness and stops muscle cramps.” Pickle Juice, another liquid supplement, advertises itself as “the only product on the market scientifically proven to stop muscle cramps” and is made from ingredients like vinegar, salt, and potassium. (As it turns out, pickle juice — the actual juice from a pickle jar, not the brand name — has some research backing it as a cramp remedy.)


Who started the show mustard craze?

In an effort to pinpoint where and when mustard consumption actually originated in the athletic community, I contacted a half-dozen sports history professors at several institutions, including Brown University and Georgia Tech. None of the five who responded had ever heard of the practice. Dr. Fredericson had to google it before our conversation.

Maybe eating mustard on the track, in the field, or in the mountains is the sort of thing that gets passed down informally among athletes, like a rumor or a legend, until enough people believe it for it to stick (even without definitive proof). ). The only conceivable downside to eating mustard packets, perhaps — other than momentary nausea — is the litter it produces.

“I literally collect a million packets of mustard throughout the course!” says Steve Hammond, Spartan’s racecourse manager.

In the end, even if it doesn’t help a single athlete eliminate cramping, mustard can still provide a tasty pick-me-up after hours of eating nothing but glucose gels and sports drinks. “After the race, I really don’t feel like it everything sugary,” Cook-Clarke says. “Mustard is pretty good, whether on a sandwich or for dipping a soft pretzel in mustard.”

Maybe that too was part of the appeal for Letestu.


Video about What Ingredient In Mustard Helps With Cramps

Mustard for muscle cramps/pain (SERIOUSLY?)

Occasionally a patient will tell me that they either rubbed mustard on a muscle or that they swallowed a spoonful of mustard and it helped them. Here’s my opinion on the subject.

http://www.camarillochiro.com/

This content is created for informational purposes only and not intended to substitute for chiropractic/medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own personal doctor regarding any matters that you see on the internet.

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