Leg cramps in spite of good magnesium levels: other potential causes
Chronic magnesium deficiency is very often the primary cause of leg cramps. The imbalance in mineral levels makes the nervous system more excitable, causing painful leg cramps. If the symptoms occur frequently despite an adequate supply of magnesium, you should consult a doctor. That’s because muscle cramps can also be an indication of disease.
Useful to know: Please note as well that you need to have a regular magnesium intake to prevent muscle cramps due to magnesium deficiency. The German Nutrition Society recommends that women aged 25 and over take 300 mg a day.1 If your supply is inadequate it can take several weeks to restore your magnesium levels.
Diseases that cause muscle cramps
If you frequently get leg cramps in spite of good magnesium levels, other causes need to be considered. These may include, for example, muscular diseases or neurological disorders (disorders that affect the nervous system), kidney diseases, hypo- or hyperparathyroidism.
- Muscle disease (myopathy) There are numerous forms of muscular disorders that manifest as muscle weakness (amyosthenia). They may be caused by a wide range of genetic defects. Symptoms include night-time leg cramps in spite of good magnesium levels.
- Neurological disorders: Since our muscles are controlled by nerve signals, neurological disorders such as neuroparalysis, disc problems and spinal cord disease may trigger muscle cramps.
- Diseases affecting the kidney: The kidney plays an important role in regulating the fluid balance. So, if you are frequently plagued by leg cramps in spite of an adequate magnesium intake, you should have your kidney function checked. You may be eliminating too many important electrolytes through your urine.
- Hypoparathyroidism: The parathyroid gland produces a hormone that also affects the calcium balance. If it does not produce enough, this reduces the levels of calcium in the blood. This causes painful cramps that may persist for several hours.
People with diabetes may also suffer from increased muscle cramps. The reason for this is that they are often shown to have lower levels of magnesium in their blood because they eliminate more magnesium via urine and also avoid other high-carbohydrate foods that are rich in magnesium. So, people with diabetes need to make sure they are taking enough magnesium.
(Night-time) leg cramps in spite of good magnesium levels? Drugs may be the villains here
Cramps in your legs that occur in spite of an adequate supply of magnesium can also often be caused by various drugs. Muscle cramps may be caused by diuretics, laxatives or ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure). There may be a note to this effect under “Side Effects” in the medicine’s package insert.