This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in August of 2021. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmpK92juSFo
Brad: Today we are going to talk about apple cider vinegar, its use for leg cramps, and more. This is a very interesting video if you have leg cramps, particularly, and if you want to find a nice way to get rid of them. We'll get into detail on that. But before we go any farther, Bob's not here today, obviously. So we're very happy to have Chris joining us. He's very knowledgeable and did a lot of research on this. So we got some anecdotal evidence and some great research. We've done this before. But this is kind of interesting because Chris has cramps. I have them, most everyone has cramps.
Chris: Everyone has cramps.
Brad: It seems like leg cramps are more prevalent overall. We don't have any research on that, but as a therapist, I worked with a lot of people and tried to help them with how to get rid of their cramps with stretching. I can't think of a time when it wasn't a leg cramp, hamstrings, quads, or calves.
Chris: It always seems to be below the waist. But I mean if you think about it, we walk, we stand. We're creatures that move all around.
Brad: Right, right.
Chris: So I think it stands to reason, at least from a logical standpoint, that it's just day-to-day activity that can lead to cramps, whether it's muscle weakness, whether it's dehydration. There are a lot of things that lead to it, but it's always below the waist.
Brad: And it seems to me, that either athletes are more prone to it or older people in their 50s and 60s, perhaps.
Chris: Yeah, you bet. Statistically, it's the majority of people that have cramps, 60-year-old ladies.
Brad: 60-year-old females?
Chris: 60 on up, yep. That's from the research. For whatever reason, don't know why. They probably work harder than us. Bottom line.
Brad: Well, that's a given.
Chris: Exactly, exactly.
Brad: All right, so we have that information. So we've got this bottle of Caleb Treeze Organic Farms Stops Leg & Foot Cramps. This is what happened. This is a true story. My wife saw this bottle at a hardware store in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And it says, "stops leg and foot cramps in about one minute." So she says, "oh, Brad, my husband, the famous physical therapist, might be interested in this." So she brought it home. And I looked at it and I laughed. I thought, yeah that's not going to work in one minute. So anyway and I looked at the ingredients, and Chris, you researched this in detail.
Chris: Oh, yeah.
Brad: Chris was having cramps consistently. So I happily gave this to Chris, and I said, "you can try this." I think Chris in his head said, " yeah right."
Chris: I renamed it the salad dressing treatment. So this happens to be, it says "proven old Amish formula." And I kind of laughed at Brad, just like his take when his wife had mentioned it to him at the hardware store. And I'm like, "there is just no way this is going to work for a leg cramp." We've actually done videos on cramps, and we've done extensive research on cramps. We've personally had cramps, just like all of you have had cramps. And nobody likes cramps. They hurt, they wake you up in the middle of the night, or they happen at the most inopportune time. It's just not a lot of fun. So I really scoffed at Brad's apple cider treatment.
Brad: You didn't even use it. You just put it out on the table and he called it the salad dressing because there's actually a little more than apple cider in there.
Chris: The actual ingredients here are apple cider vinegar, pure, organic, and unfiltered. It's got the mother, so it's everything you want. But it also has a little bit of ginger and it also has a little bit of garlic. And so in my mind's eye, rationally as a pharmacist, I'm thinking pharmaceutically I can't come up with a reason for any one of those three things to stop a cramp.
Brad: Right, and I'm thinking, well, this could be one of those old family remedies that for whatever reason works. I don't care why it works. But Chris, it's nice to know, because he wants to know how it works.
Chris: I want to know why, because I like to tell my patients what really works and why, and what we have to be careful with. So to me, it's important. But one night I had a cramp. And I'm like, "well, darn it, I'm going to go down and try it." I had to go all the way downstairs with the cramp to go to the kitchen.
Brad: Which location was the cramp?
Chris: This one was in the hamstring, mine usually is my hamstring. But I do get lower leg ones, particularly in my feet, usually, when I'm swimming they hit my feet. But when I'm sleeping, it's the hamstrings. But moving on. So I go downstairs, almost fall down. I get to the kitchen and I threw a tablespoon in four ounces of water and drank it down.
Brad: You were still cramping at the time?
Chris: Yes, cramping at the time. An active cramp for probably five minutes, and it was not comfortable. I'm just thinking to myself, "this is going to work, this better work. I'm going to make fun of Brad if this doesn't work." And like 30 seconds later, I'm walking across the kitchen to go back upstairs, as I was limping, and all of a sudden, it just went away.
Brad: The cramp released?
Chris: The cramp released. And there is no explicable reason. Gut transit time is 30 to 60 minutes. So you're going to drink this, and it should take time to go from gut to body to create it. And so that raised a lot of questions for me at 2:00 in the morning, which is not the best time to be thinking, but I was. And that's what kind of bred to this video. But the reality of it is, that we looked at different ways why apple cider vinegar may help cramps. And there are studies after studies that existed, like 11 people here, six people there, 12 people there. It's hard to study cramping because unless you do some pretty mean things to people, it's hard to induce one. But they do seem to come when we're sleeping, or at rest, or even during activity. I mean, people and athletes have cramped during games. You'll see football games, you see marathoners, you'll see track runners.
Brad: With fatigue and heat, I think.
Chris: Yep, which makes sense. Because we can always think about hydration and electrolytes, which are kind of the mainstay. There are big companies like Gatorade and Powerade, that's how they make their bread and butter. But when we looked at some of this and the amount of evidence that is out there that studies hydration and electrolytes, they are anecdotal evidence probably at best. There is just not enough wide body of research on apple cider vinegar. The interesting thing about the vinegar was, that the first two that I found were really eye-opening to me. In the first one, there was a gentleman that actually was talking about it, he said that he felt that apple cider vinegar could promote more production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Which is just something that helps with the muscle's actual potential and makes it work. And I'm like, well, that's fine, but we're drinking this. It takes a long time to get into the system. There's no way that you could possibly raise it enough by doing 15 milliliters of this and some water and drinking it.
Brad: How much is 15 milliliters?
Chris: A tablespoon full, like the tablespoon you keep in your kitchen.
Brad: Put that in with four ounces of water.
Chris: Mix it with four ounces of water, and drink. So that would be the dose for anybody for anything with apple cider vinegar. I wouldn't really recommend going beyond that for a variety of reasons, which you can touch on. But I just don't think there's any way we can naturally stimulate creating a neurotransmitter to just build up more and stop the cramp. So I read another article. I actually saw some Swiss research. And they actually said that they think the cramp is actually from just your brain being scrambled. It's a bad message being sent to the muscle, and the muscle doesn't release. So you're in this static state where it's just beating you up and it hurts. Everybody that's had one knows. And so when you take apple cider vinegar, you get relief within 30 to 60 seconds. What they actually believed in their research, whether it was consumed or rinsed in their mouth, and this is why they think it was a nerve problem, is they think the sourness of the apple cider vinegar sends a signal to the brain and it literally just stops off the transmission that is creating the cramp.
Brad: So those brain signals saying cramp, cramp, cramp, cramp turn off.
Chris: So whether it's dehydration or electrolyte driven, they actually think it's nervous driven. And the fact that even rinsing your mouth creates the same effect as drinking it and having the cramp stop in 30 to 60 seconds, seems to be that it's a lot more neurological in nature. Now, again, this is my opinion. I'd say it's much more anecdotal. But that's the only explanation that I can come up with without more wide burgeoning amounts of research done on that. So if there's a research scientist out there or a university that wants to study cramping and the neurological aspects of it, I really do think that there is probably something to this. So it's interesting. And I have to say, it works. It works well, and I swear by it now.
Brad: Yeah, and you even wrote a testimonial.
Chris: Yeah, Caleb Treeze is the manufacturer that makes this particular product. I think it's excellent. You can get it online anywhere, Amazon, or you can go directly to their website. But that said, I actually wrote on their site because I think it's fantastic.
Brad: Sure, yeah. I thought, "he's never going to take this." I kind of gave it to you as a joke.
Chris: Yeah, I tried it, and then my son had the same problem and he's a hockey player. He didn't care for the taste, but outside of that, it worked for him too.
Brad: So we do want to caution, one more bridge here is if you're on some medications, there are some medications you do not want to consume apple cider vinegar with.
Chris: Yeah, there's a special medication for your heart called Lanoxin or digoxin that helps control your heart rate and rhythm, and that can affect your potassium levels. And that can too with consistent use. I would think for occasional use it's probably fine, but it should be something you discuss with your doctor and your pharmacist. I would believe that most, even pharmacists, probably don't pay a lot of attention to apple cider vinegar. It's not in our wheelhouse. I had to seek out the research, and there's not tons of it. Also, diuretics or water pills, things that basically make you excrete through urine, you can lose electrolytes. And so when we're using things like this, we have to be careful. The last one that we want to be most careful of is, specifically type one diabetics that have diabetic-induced gastroparesis. That's basically where your gut motility doesn't work well. This is why it might work as a weight loss aid, which we'll talk about it in a different video, but that said, it can slow down gut motility. And for people that already have gastroparesis, that can be dangerous, specifically type one diabetics.
Brad: So if you're a diabetic, type one, best not to take this, perhaps, or talk to your doctor for sure.
Chris: Yeah, I would discourage it because it does affect blood sugar, which can be a positive thing, but in a type one diabetic when you're solely reliant on insulin and certain things, there's the diabetic umbrella, which we've talked about in other videos too. We have to be real careful with that.
Brad: Sure, right, right. All right, so very good. Here we've got another positive thing for apple cider vinegar.
Chris: Yeah, it's the stuff.
Brad: Yeah, who knows what's going to happen with this in the near future?
Chris: Well, I think it works, people. I'd say give it a shot.
Brad: Yeah, so one tablespoon, and I go a little more than four ounces of water to dilute it a little bit.
Chris: One thing I want to touch on too because it's actually acidic, rinse your teeth afterward so you don't ruin the enamel on your teeth. Another big one. Another big one.
Brad: Right. All right, very good. Take care. We hope those cramps go away quickly.
Chris: We're going to stop cramping, people. Have a great day.
Brad: Be careful in all that you do.
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