Does Magnesium Stop Muscle cramps?
Magnesium is often hailed as a cure for muscle cramps, but does it actually work?
Painful muscle cramps can strike at any time— during exercise, in the middle of the night, or randomly throughout the day. Over the years there have been many treatments and remedies recommended to relieve muscle cramps, including ensuring your diet contains enough vitamins, enough salt and other electrolytes such as magnesium.
If you suffer from muscle cramps, you’re not alone. Studies suggest up to 60% of adults and 7% of children in Australia suffer from cramps — with 20% experiencing muscle cramping daily.
Magnesium is often cited as a key vitamin in preventing cramps, as magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contractions. Using magnesium for muscle cramps has been a popular prescription for years, built on the presumption that the role magnesium plays in the neuromuscular system may cause or relieve cramps.
However, while maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium is important for wellbeing and overall health— recent studies have shown that ingesting magnesium for cramps may not be effective in providing relief.
What is happening when your muscle cramps?
Let’s look at the cause of muscle cramps. Muscle cramps occur when there is a misfiring of messages sent through the neuromuscular system to a muscle, causing it to spasm and contract, which creates a muscle cramp.
The reason magnesium is believed to help with muscle cramps is due to its impact on the neuromuscular system — but does it actually work?
Does magnesium help with cramps?
Magnesium is an important electrolyte, and plays a vital role in disease prevention and overall health. It is also known to play a role in the neuromuscular system in aiding muscle contractions and relaxation — however in terms of providing impact in relieving or preventing cramps, using magnesium for muscle cramps has not been proven to be effective.
Magnesium plays an important role in hundreds of metabolic reactions in the body; including synthesis of proteins, muscle and nerve transmission, blood sugar levels (glucose control), and blood pressure regulation.
Among many other roles, magnesium, potassium and other electrolytes help the body to
- Maintain a balanced amount of water and PH level
- Distribute nutrients into your cells
- And move wastes out of your cells.
Magnesium also supports the body during activities by boosting natural energy production and the activation of enzymes to create cellular energy. What’s more, Magnesium also helps to boost overall absorption of other electrolytes like potassium, sodium and calcium.
The link between muscle cramps and magnesium is a result of the important role magnesium plays in muscle contractions, as a natural calcium blocker. When a muscle contracts, there is a calcium binding process — but as a calcium blocker, magnesium can help muscles to relax after contracting. This is why magnesium is also thought to be beneficial in relaxation and supporting healthy sleep habits.
Magnesium, the magic mineral?
Let’s break down exactly what magnesium is doing. In your muscles, calcium binds to proteins such as troponin C and myosin. This process changes the shape of these proteins, which cause a contraction. Magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker, helping your muscle cells relax after contracting.
However, muscle cramps are caused by a misfiring message that causes a spasm, and magnesium has not been observed to provide muscle cramp relief.
While magnesium plays an important role in general muscle functions, in the event of a muscle cramp, the neuromuscular system needs to shut down the misfiring message and send a new message to relax the muscle.
Are there foods that help with muscle cramps?
Yes and no. Eating a balanced diet is important to ensure your body can function properly, but there is no direct benefit with eating foods high in magnesium for muscle cramps. Recent research has identified a mouth reflex that triggers the neuromuscular system, interrupting the misfiring message and sending a new message to the muscle to relax. This has been found to work when drinking liquids like pickle juice, the fermented liquid pickles are preserved in. The briney liquid activates the mouth reflex and provides effective muscle cramp relief in moments.
While ensuring a healthy balance of Magnesium in your diet can assist with healthy sleeping habits, if you suffer from night leg cramps, cramp ease mouth spray offers fast and effective relief at the time a cramp strikes. Simply spray in your mouth to relieve night cramps in seconds, so you can regain lost sleep.
For endurance athletes, muscle cramps will most commonly occur during an endurance activity as your muscles become fatigued. Your body is losing excessive amounts of electrolytes and water through sweating, and depleting carbohydrate stores as you burn through your body’s fuel reserves. CrampFix not only treats the overactive nerves that are causing the muscles to cramp, to provide almost instant relief, our specially formulated sports products also contain important electrolytes and simple carbs, to help you give your body the boost it needs.
While magnesium, potassium and other electrolytes are important for healthy bodies, they are not effective foods for muscle cramps.
Do bananas prevent muscle cramps?
There are claims of certain foods that help with muscle cramps; based on the level of vitamins, electrolytes (particularly sodium, magnesium and potassium), and water levels. Foods rich in potassium, magnesium and sodium are often credited with helping to prevent muscle cramps by treating magnesium deficiency, however recent studies have found magnesium does not have an effect on muscle cramp relief.
If you suffer from muscle cramps, you’ve probably had someone tell you you ‘need to eat more bananas’ and replenish your magnesium. Bananas are often hailed as a magical cure, for being a potassium and magnesium powerhouse — providing magnesium and potassium for cramps. Along with low GI carbs and plenty of fibre, bananas are a favourite for many athletes and sportspersons, seen as the best form of magnesium for muscle cramps as a great snack before or during exercise.
The humble banana is not the only food to be placed on a superfood pedestal though. Bananas & sweet potatoes are both high in magnesium, potassium and calcium, and it may surprise you to know, but avocados actually have twice as much magnesium as a sweet potato or banana. You can powerload a banana smoothie with other Magnesium rich foods; like ¼ cup of peanuts for 63mg Magnesium, and 1 cup of soymilk for another 61mg Magnesium.
What foods have Magnesium? You can find magnesium in a range of foods, including seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables.
Just 30g of pumpkin seeds gives you 156mg of magnesium, 30g of chia seeds has 111mg magnesium, 30g almonds has 80mg of magnesium, ½ a cup of boiled spinach has 78mg of magnesium, 30g of cashews has 74mg of magnesium and 1 cup of avocado has 44mg of magnesium.
Similar to a sports drink, these foods may help to restore the body’s balance of electrolytes, and maintain hydration. Eating a balanced diet is important for a range of health reasons, including making sure you stock up on vitamins and minerals like magnesium. Green and leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, broccolini, beans and peas are another great source of natural magnesium for your diet.
Will foods high in Magnesium help with cramps?
There’s the real question. Like bananas, there’s no evidence melons will assist with cramp relief, but they are definitely a great snack for a healthy lifestyle.
Our pick? Go for the rockmelon! Melons are packed with potassium, magnesium and calcium, with a small amount of sodium and a lot of water. There are sugars for an energy lift and plenty of fibre for healthy digestion.
Are there Vitamins for muscle cramps and spasms?
If you’re looking for supplements containing magnesium and potassium for muscle cramps, the best form of magnesium for muscle cramps or any other supplements for muscle cramps; you’ll be faced with an overwhelming array of vitamins, minerals and other supplements packed with important electrolytes. You can find a range of supplements, including magnesium tablets in Woolworths and other supermarkets. Some may claim to treat muscle cramps, or boost vitamin deficiencies thought to be linked with muscle cramps. For example, Woolworths magnesium and other supplements are widely marketed for treatment of nocturnal leg cramps despite there being no evidence of significant benefit through taking magnesium supplements.
There are several high quality published studies evaluating the effectiveness of magnesium to prevent muscle cramps which collectively suggest that magnesium is unlikely to provide a meaningful benefit in reducing the frequency or severity of cramps. The majority of clinical trials concluded that magnesium supplements are no better than a placebo in reducing cramps. Although most studies showed that magnesium did not reduce muscle cramps, some participants reported that magnesium did reduce cramp frequency and pain.
It’s important to understand why you’re experiencing cramps before trying supplements, including magnesium supplements for cramps. Muscle cramps may be caused by a number of reasons, it may be a result of dehydration, reduced blood flow, a symptom of certain diseases, side effects of medications, or physical exertion. In each of these cases, while magnesium may help to relax muscles after exercise, it will not provide relief for muscle cramps as they happen.
Fast and effective muscle cramp relief
For proven relief from muscle cramps, our specially formulated cramp ease mouth spray and sports products are fast becoming the go to for athletes, sportspersons and fitness enthusiasts. Our products trigger the neuromuscular system through a mouth reflex proven to provide fast and effective muscle cramp relief.
For instant muscle cramp relief, drink a 10-20mL shot of CrampFix or spray CrampFix Rapid Mouth Spray 4 times in the mouth. CrampFix stops cramps by working through the neuromuscular system – providing relief within 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Other muscle cramp prevention tips
We’re athletes and active people too, and we believe the first step is always a balanced diet and active lifestyle that suits your body.
Alongside using speciality formulated cramp ease products for fast relief, these simple everyday activities could help prevent muscle cramps:
- Try some stretches targeting the area of your cramp – you can find hundreds of stretch ideas on Google or YouTube.
- Try eating more fresh, green vegetables and a rainbow diet to get the correct amount of nutrients and minerals your body needs to function well.
- Stay hydrated – try to drink about 8-10 cups of water every day to reach the recommended daily intake. If you struggle to drink that much in a day.
- Massage the muscle area that is cramping or try rolling out the area with a foam roller to help increase blood flow and relax the muscle.
Cramp prevention in recovery
There are also some measures you can take to help to prevent cramps post-work out, and help relieve muscle tightness.
Again, it’s important to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes post workout. Fixx Nutrition’s Sports range is designed to be taken pre, during and post workout, to provide relief when you need it most. CrampFix provides rapid cramp management, designed for endurance and active lifestyles, specially developed to help high performing athletes to achieve their performance goals.
Eating foods that are naturally high in important electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium is also a great way to ensure your muscles have everything they need.