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October 21, 2016 Comments (3) Featured, Gear Reviews, Nutrition, Science

A New Way to Prevent Muscle Cramping – HOTSHOT – A Review

This article is sponsored by Gu Energy.


Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize-Winning neuroscientist, and his friend, Dr. Bruce Bean, a neurobiology professor at Harvard, encountered debilitating muscle cramps while sea kayaking which prompted Dr. MacKinnon to “unravel the mystery” of cramping. During five years of research and development, he uncovered that muscle cramps are driven by “an excessive firing of motor neurons in the spinal cord, not by the muscle.” Essentially, the nerves become destabilized causing muscle cramps.

Based on anecdotal stories of pickle juice and mustard used by endurance athletes Rod determined that, “it’s the stimulation of the sensory nerves in the mouth, esophagus and stomach that triggers a response from the nervous system and calms down the motor neurons in the spinal cord.” This was followed by years of formulations and testing to develop the most effective combination of ingredients to shutdown muscle cramping when it occurred. The result is a new product called HOTSHOT.

“HOTSHOT contains filtered water, organic cane sugar, organic gum
arabic, organic lime juice concentrate, pectin, sea salt, natural
flavor, organic stevia extract, organic cinnamon, organic ginger and
organic capsaicin.”

HOTSHOT can be taken 15 to 30 minutes before exercise, at the onset of
muscle cramping or to prevent post workout cramping. Additionally, they recommend, “for best results, avoid food or beverages that may coat your mouth – such as peanut butter, protein shakes or dairy – 10 minutes before drinking HOTSHOT.”

TAUR asked for the opportunity to put HOTSHOT to test. We were shipped enough samples to conduct extensive testing for a number of athletes.

TAUR Rating

1-5 (5 being AWESOME)

Taste: 2

Stopping or Preventing Cramping:4

Duration of effectiveness: 3

Initially difficult to notice since esophagus is burning, duration – a few hours

Other notes – it’s important to note that this product works BY burning/irritating the esophagus. the flavor and “heat” are difficult to tolerate mid run, and wouldn’t be a first choice for someone cramping (risking an upset stomach?) that said, if uncontrollable cramps are preventing running, then this would provide the neurological help to snap out of it… just comes with an awful flavored risk, would recommend trying to pound one mid run before using on a race so one at least knows what to expect.

TESTER personal responses


“IT tastes like spicy sweet cinnamon, which lingers far too long.”

“Awful- like fireball mixed with cayenne and anise”

Stopping or Preventing Cramping

“While the taste is nearly repulsive my
history of severe muscle cramping has me grasping for a solution. I did
not use it pre workout, only at the onset of muscle cramping. Compared
with salt water or pickle juice it worked equally well. Minutes after
taking a muscle cramp would release.”

“Initially, it was difficult to notice the effectiveness since my esophagus was burning due to the taste. That said, if uncontrollable cramps are preventing running, then this would provide the neurological help to snap out of it.”


Duration of effectiveness

“For me, it seems to lasted about 1.5 hours or
longer. In the case where it’s needed again after 1.5 hours it’s hard to
want to use another dose, because of the taste. This is where it might not
be as effective for me. Pickle juice and salted water can be more
comfortably tolerated more often.”

Overall Assessment

“I plan to continue to experiment with various solutions including cooling, strength training, hydration and various ingested ingredients. HOTSHOT was not the magic bullet I had hoped for.”

3 Responses to A New Way to Prevent Muscle Cramping – HOTSHOT – A Review

  1. Matthew Valentine says:

    Interesting science behind it. I have some mild acid reflux at times, so it sounds like a bit of torture. Not sure how it could be tolerated on a dry, cold day with a dry throat.

  2. Steve Sands says:

    Tried it and it failed me miserably. In fact I believe it made my cramping worse. I was an early adopter and detailed out my runs in intimate detail, and sent it off the the company. The person i was in contact with was nice, but when I asked for serious help when I cramped at Mile 16 on a 23 mile run, and continued to cramp for the remainder of the run, the answer I got back was “I am not a scientist so I don’t know what to tell you. REALLY, can you pass it on the to so called scientists??? heard nothing back. Very disappointed in the level of support, which was non-existent. It appears to work for some, and not others, don’t expect any support if it fails.
    Used it in a marathon that I have been running for 30 years. I ran 1 min/mile pace slower than my predictor came up with(It is incredibly accurate and has gotten me to the finish literally within seconds of my predicted time for many years) by design and then run the second half faster. I was cramping BIG TIME by mile 12, took a second bottle, didn’t help, but was able to shuffle/walk fast. At Mile 13 took a third bottle, and was still cramping 20 minutes later. Ended up popping Endurolytes like candy and was able to jog/walk my way to the finish.
    Your experience may vary

  3. kaise kare says:

    I actually have a question. When I walk I get cramping in my right calf. Usually I can get about 2 miles in before it starts. Just before it starts I get a weak/fatigued sensation in my calf followed by immediate cramp. Very painful. What is baffling me it that it usually lasts about 1 – 1.5 miles and then I walk out of it.
    I work out 5 – 6 times a week doing cardio (spin classes) and weight (pump classes) and work myself really hard and never get calf cramping….only when I walk Any ideas of what I can do to make them stop?
    I can’t walk near as fast as I used to or the cramping starts a lot sooner, really taking the joy out of my walks. Would love some advice.

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