Muscle cramps, including leg cramps, can really make any type of training or exercise tough to bear.
If you regularly train and expect muscle cramps to follow then you should do something about it. This is also the case for pregnant women who can particularly suffer from muscle cramps.
In both cases, it could well be that the body requires additional magnesium and that can be from supplements or changing up an individual’s diet.
Studies in the United States have shown that around two-thirds of the population has a magnesium deficiency. That’s particularly troubling as magnesium is so important for regulating how the body functions.
Which type of magnesium you should go for may need some investigation which is what we will look at in this guide.
We will also look at good sources of magnesium, factors to note for your magnesium intake, why your body needs magnesium, and other treatments for muscle cramps.
Which Type Of Magnesium Is Best For Muscle Cramps?
There are some guidelines to take but one study has shown that magnesium citrate may be best for treating muscle cramps.
This is largely because this type of magnesium is more easily absorbed by the human body.
One guideline to follow is to try to level your magnesium intake in proportion with your intake of calcium so the magnesium should be about half or up to two-thirds of the calcium amount.
For instance, an intake of 600mg of magnesium should be matched by around 1,000mg of calcium as the calcium tends to lead to muscle contraction.
Good Sources Of Magnesium
Aside from magnesium citrate supplements, there are several magnesium-rich foods that you can incorporate into your diet.
These foods include seeds, spinach, soy milk, and shredded wheat cereal. You should also look to snack on nuts such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts more regularly.
Factors To Note For Your Magnesium Intake
An individual looking to feel the benefits of increasing their intake of magnesium should bear a few factors in mind.
If they are a smoker or someone who regularly drinks alcohol then both vices can reduce levels of magnesium in the body.
While various nuts, spinach, and soy milk are great sources of magnesium, processed foods typically have low levels of magnesium.
Several factors also cause the body to absorb less magnesium. For instance, as you age you can expect to absorb up to 30% less magnesium drawn from food.
Common drugs like antacids and statins can counteract magnesium (see also: What Are Magnesium Antacids?)intake, as can low levels of vitamin D.
Why Your Body Needs Magnesium, Particularly When You Train
How your body is regulated becomes even more immediate when you train.
This is because magnesium is used in over 300 of the body’s biochemical processes including nerve transmission and muscle contraction. If your body has insufficient magnesium then that can easily lead to leg cramps.
Thankfully, some magnesium supplements like magnesium citrate have been shown to combat leg cramps which can make exercise and training more bearable.
The Other Treatments You Can Look Towards To Reduce Muscle Cramps
Some individuals may not see the benefit of magnesium citrate supplements and may look to other treatments for better results.
One of the best ways to combat muscle cramps is to introduce some new stretches into your daily routine.
Try to find out which specific muscle cramps you often experience after certain exercises and concentrate on those.
While stretching before and after exercise may be ideal, you should certainly try to perform before you go to sleep if you suffer from muscle cramps in the night.
These stretches should be focused on your hamstrings and calves if you really want to reduce the occurrence of leg cramps. Just walking around for a few minutes can ease leg cramps by relaxing your leg muscles.
Some simple stretches can work really well for leg cramps. If it is your calf muscle that is cramping up then reach down to pull up your toes.
You can also do a lunge with the other leg that is not suffering from cramps and stretch out the cramping leg behind your body.
After those two stretches, you can simply stand upright on your toes for a few seconds at a time.
Try massaging the areas of muscle where you are feeling the cramps and you could even use either an ice pack or a heating pad.
You may only need to apply either the ice pack or the heating pad for around 15 to 20 minutes to really feel a difference. Alternatively, you could take a hot shower or soak in a bath to relax and reduce muscle cramps.
Finally, keep hydrated as simply drinking some water can really help while drinking alcohol tends to make it worse.
Magnesium citrate is known to be the best type of magnesium to combat muscle cramps. There are other sources of magnesium yet if you wanted a supplement to take then seek out magnesium citrate.
That’s because this type of magnesium is easily absorbed by the body while other types of magnesium are no better than placebos for treating muscle cramps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Other Medical Conditions Can Magnesium Help To Treat?
As well as leg cramps, magnesium has been found to help treat several other medical conditions. These include migraines and headaches as well as asthma and osteoporosis.
Magnesium can also help those who suffer from depression as well as physical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
How Do The Recommended Levels Of Magnesium Differ For Certain Individuals?
Certainly, teenage girls and men over the age of 70 tend to be the most likely to be deficient in magnesium.
As far as the suggested amount of magnesium goes, it is recommended that men take between 400 and 420 milligrams a day.
The recommended daily allowance for magnesium drops to between 310 and 320 milligrams for women.
However, for pregnant women, that recommended daily allowance goes up to between 350 and 360 milligrams.