Every sports athlete trains for years, day in and day out to set off a performance in a vie for a podium finish. But a freak event like a Muscle cramp could easily put those years of training down the drain.

Muscle cramps had been the achilles heel from Olympic athletes to weekend warriors. Various ways had been exhausted in order to combat this sudden event - like eating Bananas, consuming energy drinks - in efforts of maintaining electrolyte balance and hydration in the muscle.


But a new research was conducted by Rod Mackinnon, a Noble Prize winner from Rockefeller University, debunking this theory.

“The primary origin of the cramp is the nerve, not the muscle,”  Mackinnon  suggested as he further explained that excessive motor impulses from the nerve to the muscle is what causes the cramps, not due to nutrient deficiency or dehydration.

'By applying a strong sensory stimulus in the mouth, it causes inhibition of the motor output that causes the cramps.' He suggested that instead of primarily addressing dehydration during cramps, a shock to the system would alter the abnormal muscle contractions.

Spicy concoctions, ginger or cinnamon infused drinks is the new in for muscle cramps. Mackinnon then proposed that jolt inducing, pungent tasting brews would be the optimal sensory experience to overcome abnormal motor firing.

'Now, a lot of endurance athletes had been brewing spicy drinks before a race.' With this, in partnership with Bruce Bean and Christoph Westphal, they produced the HotShots - a spicy bottled pre-workout drink that can be indulged by athletes as a new deterrent to a muscle cramp.

This prevention to a muscle cramp may hardly be a refreshing drink to aid your performance, but the point is to shock, not to replenish.  



Words by Jek Llanos

Futterman, M. (2016, July 11). A New Way to Prevent Muscle Cramps. Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-way-to-prevent-muscle-cramps-1468256588

Short, G., Hegarty, B., MacKinnon, R., Bean, B., Westphal, C., & Cermak, J. (2015, April 21). Orally-administered TRPV1 and TRPA1 activators inhibit electrically-induced muscle cramps in normal healthy volunteers (S17.003) [Abstract].Orally-administered TRPV1 and TRPA1 Activators Inhibit Electrically-induced Muscle Cramps in Normal Healthy Volunteers (S17.003), 84(14), s17.003. Retrieved from http://www.neurology.org/content/84/14_Supplement/S17.003

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