Muscle cramps are invariably painful and often debilitating. Night cramps significantly impact on the quality of a person’s sleep. Supplementing with magnesium for cramps may be a solution for those frequently suffering from muscle cramps.
An average person typically stores around 25 grams of magnesium in order for it to function properly. If there is a magnesium deficiency, then a person may suffer from headaches, loss of appetite, depression, and even muscle cramps. For most people though, this deficiency can be addressed through modifying diet and/or oral supplementation and the severity of their cramping can be improved.
The Importance of Magnesium for Cramps and Muscle Health
The mineral magnesium is essential in keeping the body’s muscles healthy and well-functioning. If this mineral gets depleted or not adequately replaced through the diet then it can impact on the functioning of the muscular system and cramps may result. Athletes like swimmers and runners are particularly prone to muscle cramps during training or competition. Introducing magnesium for cramps either via supplementation or through their diet may enhance training and in-competition performance.
Types of Muscle Cramps
Muscle spasms are common when a person is injured. This is the body’s natural way of preventing further damage by restricting one’s body movements through pain. Cases like this may not be treatable by supplementation, as other forms of medications may be more effective for instant relief. In some cases, surgical procedures may even be required.
Muscle fatigue caused by magnesium deficiency, on the other hand, can be easily treated through the intake of magnesium and other vitamin and mineral supplements. Regular supplementation of magnesium for cramps is often recommended to ensure that the daily required intake is maintained. Sports people, athletes, and trainers especially need this mineral as it is one of the main sources of energy. However, all types of people could benefit from this mineral as anyone can have muscle cramps even while sitting or lying down. Pregnant women are particular susceptible to muscle cramps although they should always talk to their doctor before considering taking any supplementation.
Some massage therapists have suggested topical application of magnesium based creams into cramping muscles although there is very little research that there is any benefits to be gained (other than the massage itself).
Natural Sources of Magnesium
As much as possible, natural sources of vitamins and minerals are recommended in order to avoid negative side effects. In general, food products that are high in fibre are also loaded with magnesium. Vegetables, especially the green leafy varieties, are some of the best sources of these components. The fibre content helps in digestion and absorption of minerals, and it also aids in the release of excess amounts of magnesium through bowel movement.
Other natural sources of magnesium include milk, whole grains, nuts, seeds and water.
Fluid intake for cramps
In addition to taking supplements of magnesium for cramps then hydration should always be an important consideration. A well-hydrated body is more resistant to muscle cramps as dehydration is often a trigger for cramps. This is especially needed by those with active lifestyles as they lose more bodily water with their daily routines than those who are leading sedentary lives.
If you use sports drinks for your hydration then please be aware that only some of them will contain magnesium. If you would like to supplement with Mg to reduce cramping through these type of drinks then always check the nutrional label on the bottle.
The loss of bodily fluid from sweating also results in the loss of other minerals in the body like sodium and potassium. And the absence of these elements can impact on the severity of cramps.
Safety Precautions and magnesium side effects
While magnesium supplements are generally considered to be safe, patients who are diagnosed with renal failure need to be cautious. Likewise, those who suffer from irregular bowel movement.
It is therefore suggested to seek advise from a medical practitioner or dietician regarding recommended dosage and the best type of magnesium supplement that you should take.