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Med School Prof’s Formula Gaining Traction at UND

Eric Murphy, a UND med school professor, developed a potassium-based drink to prevent cramping. The drink, Krampade, is a available in different flavors and formulations.
photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Original article published by Grand Forks Herald written by Brad Elliott Schlossman. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald.

Eric Murphy once had full-body cramps so bad that he ended up in the emergency room. His doctor advised him to drink grapefruit juice to address the problem. It worked for a while, but as the years passed, the cramping issues returned. The juice wasn’t enough. So, Murphy, a UND med school professor, decided to start experimenting with his own formula to address the problem.

He came up with a potassium-based drink—a powder that mixes with water—that would address potassium deficiencies. “And by golly, it actually worked,” Murphy said.

After the formula proved to be successful for his son Sean, a wrestler at Grand Forks Red River and the University of Nebraska, and the son of a friend in Illinois who had such intense cramping problems that he couldn’t play in the second half of football games, Murphy decided to turn that formula into a business.

It is now called Krampade and it is starting to work its way into the sports world.

Some UND men’s hockey players began using it two years ago during games. Last season, the use extended to practices, too. The UND football, basketball and track and field teams have started using it as well. Krampade doesn’t replace traditional sports drinks—UND athletes still use Powerade during games and practices—but it is able to serve as both a preventative fluid and something that works quickly after cramping has started.

Murphy has signed three former UND hockey players to endorsement deals—Tucker Poolman of the Winnipeg Jets, Zane McIntyre of the Boston Bruins and Clarke Saunders, who is playing professionally in Europe. Poolman was one of the first users with the UND team during the 2015-16 national championship season. He said he noticed immediate differences—both during competition and after it.

“Nights of waking up with cramps after competing just vanished,” Poolman said.

Murphy is selling two different versions of Krampade—the 2k and 4k. The 2k mix—designed for a 16.9 oz water bottle—is generally used as a preventative measure. The 4k is used when cramps begin. It also comes in different flavors and is clear. “Equipment managers like that part,” Murphy said, referring to the fact that it won’t stain jerseys.

While Krampade is gaining traction among high-performance athletes, Murphy said the product was made for a wide array of people who have any types of cramps. His oldest client has been 91. There’s an 86-year-old pickleball player in Cincinnati who uses it, too. Although Murphy said the product was originally for use for the general population, he plans to first push Krampade on the sports market. He has met with several NHL teams about using it and plans to continue to do so.

The next step will be moving the company from Lincoln, where his sons live, to Grand Forks. But he says he won’t be selling the company. “People have asked what will we do if the company goes big,” Murphy said. “We’re going to keep this thing evergreen.”

4 thoughts on “Med School Prof’s Formula Gaining Traction at UND”

    1. Karen, a great question. There are 6 ingredients in Krampade and the major electrolyte is potassium, the K+ in the Krampade name. There is a lot of chloride as well, which helps drive water into cells. There is a little bit of sodium, but not a lot. The amount of sugar is dependent upon which product, the 2K product line is 6% sugar (30 g/serving), while the 4K is 8% sugar (40 g/serving). We use all natural flavors and all of the Krampade products are color free, so they contain no artificial or natural dyes to add color.

      How long it last depends highly upon the individual consuming the Krampade. For an athlete, they may need to consume more product than a much more sedentary person. However, we recommend most of our customers to consume 1 or 2 servings of 2K per day as a starting point. This will enhance recovery and performance in most athletes, although for individuals prone to cramping, the 4K is a great product to help stay cramp free. However, in the end each individual needs to figure out the use for their own body and needs, but we’re always there to answer questions as needed.

      Hope that helps!

    1. Todd, one pouch makes 2.5 gallons or 320 oz. Our individual serving size is 16.9 oz (500 ml), although you can certainly make it more dilute or concentrated depending upon what you want to do. There are about 19 servings to a pouch of Krampade, which will make 2.5 gallons if you want to make the entire pouch at one time. The reason we say “about 19 servings” is that we cannot control how much someone puts in the scoop that is provided in the pouch. Hope that helps!!

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