Man attacks himself while jogging Calf due to calf cramp Man attacks himself while jogging Calf due to calf cramp

Muscle and leg cramps: often caused by magnesium deficiency

Muscle cramps are caused by a range of factors that include strenuous physical strain, malposition of the leg and excessive consumption of alcohol, but people with muscle and leg cramps often have an underlying magnesium deficiency. Which is hardly surprising if you consider that magnesium forms part of the electrolyte balance and thus is important for keeping muscles working properly. We’ve made a summary of everything you need to know about leg cramps here.

Muscles: the role of calcium, magnesium etc.

  • Calcium, sodium and potassium all affect the excitability of nerve cells.
  • Magnesium stabilises the cell membranes, controls the rate at which sodium, potassium and calcium enter cells and thus reduces the nerve cells’ excitability.
  • Magnesium operates as the counterpart to calcium, supporting muscle relaxation.

The relationship between leg cramps and magnesium deficiency

An inadequate supply of magnesium is the best-known cause of muscle and leg cramp. But why is it that a deficiency can cause cramps in the calf or foot? It’s primarily due to magnesium’s role in maintaining the electrolyte balance and vital muscle function.

To explain, the mineral and its counterpart calcium are present in the right ratio to one another the balance between muscle contraction and relaxing is maintained. A magnesium deficiency tips this balance and disrupts healthy muscle function.

What does that do? Along with other indications of a magnesium deficiency such as eye twitching or fatigue it also makes the body more prone to muscle cramps. These occur mainly at night.

Do you get frequent leg cramps? There may be other reasons

Muscle cramps may not always be triggered by magnesium deficiency, however. They might be caused, for example, by:

●Overexertion of the muscles (for example through intensive training)

●Hormonal effects (during pregnancy or the menopause)

●Wearing the wrong shoes (very tight or high heels)

●Low fluid levels (for example from excessive sweating or not drinking enough)

On rare occasions, muscle cramps may also be an indication of muscle or neural diseases. So, if you frequently experience cramp in your calf you should consult a doctor.

What can I do to combat muscle cramp?

Treatment of leg cramps depends primarily on what is causing them. If it’s magnesium deficiency you’re recommended to reverse it with a diet that’s rich in magnesium, high-strength magnesium products such as Biolectra® Magnesium 365 mg fortissimum Effervescent Tablets can help top up the levels quickly.

But you should remember that taking magnesium won’t help you with leg cramps overnight. It usually takes several weeks before the deficiency is reversed. However, by ensuring an adequate daily intake you will help to prevent leg cramps (due to a magnesium deficiency).

People who suffer acutely from leg cramps can alleviate symptoms by stretching, massaging or warming the area affected.