Calcium and magnesium for nocturnal leg cramps.

Question on Nocturnal Leg Cramps

What causes leg cramps at night, and what can I take for them? I take 600mg of calcium daily.

Answer

Nocturnal leg cramps are usually due to low blood calcium levels, low magnesium levels may also contribute. The current RDA for calcium is 1000 mg, so at 600 you may not be getting enough. The RDA for magnesium is 300 mg. I usually have clients take up to 1000 mg of calcium and 400-500 mg of magnesium twice a day for leg cramps. It may take up to 12 weeks to get optimum results. If you have problems with kidney stones, consult with your doctor before taking any calcium supplements.

The best form of calcium is calcium citrate- it is much better absorbed than other forms of calcium. The best form of magnesium is magnesium aspartate; magnesium malate or citrate are also good choices. Calcium and magnesium supplements should be taken between meals for best absorption. Taking 250-500 mg of vitamin C along with the minerals will increase absorption as well.

Include lots of foods that are high in calcium and magnesium in your diet. Calcium rich foods include kelp, dairy products, leafy green vegetables and nuts and seeds. Magnesium rich foods include kelp, wheat germ, nuts, molasses and tofu.

Be sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and excess protein, sugar and sodium, as these all increase calcium excretion from the body. Medications like aluminum containing antacids and diuretics can also deplete calcium and magnesium in the body.

If a higher dose of calcium and magnesium does not help your leg cramps, you should check with your doctor. There are medications that can help.

Keywords:nocturnal leg cramps,calcium,magnesium

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended to replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.