No single cause of muscle cramps has been found. Some experts say muscle cramps are caused by nerve activity. Others say the cramp starts in the muscle.
Muscle cramps are probably caused by a variety of things. Could be dehydration, overuse or low mineral levels. Diet can have a major impact.
If you are on a natural low carbohydrate diet your kidneys retain less salt compared to people on a typical American diet. That is why we naturally like salt.
Sodium & Magnesium Levels
If you avoid salt and follow a natural low carb diet you may end up with low sodium levels leading to low magnesium levels. Muscle cramps can be associated with low magnesium levels.
Slow release magnesium tablets are recommended.
If adding a little salt to your diet doesn't clear your cramps you can try magnesium supplements. Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek, in their book The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, outline the use magnesium supplements. They recommend a slow release magnesium tablet. The brand name is "Slow-Mag" but there are generic equivalents.
Slow release is important compared to simple magnesium oxide that will cause diarrhea. They recommend 3 tablets a day for 20 days with most cramps cleared up in 2 weeks.
If the cramps return, another round is recommended, then continue with 1 tab a day. If the cramps come back again, increase to 2 tabs a day.
If you have any kidney problems check with your kidney doctor. Drs. Phinney and Volek say the magnesium supplements will only cause problems if you are in severe kidney failure.
Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.
For more information visit pptsm.com or call the office: Colchester 860-537-3014 or Hebron 860-228-4883