Can magnesium help muscle cramps?


You wake up from a deep sleep early in the morning to excruciating pain in your calf. The muscles contracting in your calf feels like they are going to rip from your bone, and you cannot move. What can you do? If this has ever happened to you, magnesium may help.

Muscle cramps are common and can occur in adults while they are resting or performing strenuous exercises. Some individuals can develop muscle cramps as a symptom of medical neurological conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While others may tend to get muscle cramps due to a genetic predisposition.


Your muscles are constantly communicating with your nervous system to tell whether they are contracted or stretched. The central nervous system in your body sends signals to the muscle to contract and then relax. However, if your muscles become fatigued, the signals may get crossed, that is, the nervous system sends more signals for the muscles to keep contracting, and the signals for relaxing does not get through. This results in muscle cramps.


Magnesium basics

Magnesium is an abundant mineral found in your body that is very important to your health. It plays an important role in maintaining nerve and muscle function, energy production, regulation of heart rhythm and blood sugar, stabilizing potassium and calcium levels, synthesizing DNA, and much more.


Various studies show that magnesium-deficient diets may contribute to muscle cramps, spasms, and pain. Low intake of dietary magnesium has been associated with increased risk of migraine headaches, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. According to researchers over 60 percent of Americans consume less than the recommended amount of magnesium [1]. We should be ingesting between 300-400 mg magnesium daily. Adequate magnesium levels are needed for proper functioning of your muscles.


Magnesium has been shown to be effective in treating cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, tension headaches, migraines, constipation, and muscle cramps.


Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is very common and can sometimes be difficult to determine. Some early signs of magnesium deficiency may include loss of appetite, low energy, muscle contractions and cramps, tingling and numbness.


Deficiency may be caused by consuming too much white refined flour, sodium, coffee, meat and dairy which contains practically no magnesium. Magnesium levels may also be decreased by excess alcohol, chronic diarrhea, and chronic stress.


Certain medications such as diuretics (water pills), antibiotics can also deplete magnesium levels. This applies to those who are long-term users of these medications which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients found in foods [2].

Consequently, even if you consume a well-balanced diet, you could still be at risk for magnesium deficiency because only about 40% of dietary magnesium you consume is actually absorbed and used by the body.


Magnesium sources

Magnesium can naturally be found in these forms of whole food (organic selection is recommended): sea vegetables, soy products (tofu, edamame), nuts (almonds and cashews), seeds (pumpkin seeds are very high), green leafy vegetables, beans, fruits (bananas, apricots, avocado). Whole foods do not include nuts found nuts from peanut butter, almond butter and candy bars such as Reese’s peanut butter cup.


If you are going to get your magnesium via supplements, you need to choose high-quality and bioavailable (the amount your body can utilize) forms of magnesium such as magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate or magnesium aspartate. These supplements could be effective for treatment of muscle cramps. Magnesium supplements are available in various forms such as capsules, tablets, topical sprays or creams. An Epsom salt bath which is loaded with magnesium sulfate can also help to relax your muscles and slow contractions so that they don’t spasm.


Potassium and calcium are other important minerals essential for muscle health, so make sure you are getting enough of these too.


Please share this information with family and friends that may be suffering from muscle cramps. You can order quality Magnesium supplements from our online dispensary here.


Sources:

1. https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/sajsm/article/view/404

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163803/

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