Does Magnesium Help with Muscle Cramps?

How Muscles Use Magnesium

Magnesium is an abundant mineral found in your body. Studies prove that without it, the body doesn’t function the way it should. Examining how this element affects bodily systems also demonstrates how taking magnesium for muscle cramps is a viable way to combat a common problem.

Certain sites inside the muscle - troponin, myosin, parvalbumin and calmodulin - are proteins that bind magnesium. There is a delicate balance that must occur between protein and magnesium for optimal function, as well as calcium and magnesium.

Calcium contributes to muscle tension, while magnesium is responsible for relaxation, as well as controlling the flow of impulses between the nerves and muscles. This ensures the proper flow of calcium to the body. 

While it’s vital for the muscles to contract when needed, they must also relax to operate normally. Magnesium prevents the flow of calcium when it’s time for nerve excitability to decrease, allowing the muscles to relax. 

In situations with cramping, pain or muscle twitching, magnesium deficiency might be part of the problem. 

Does Magnesium Help with Muscle Pain?

Within some studies, low magnesium has been linked to higher levels of inflammation, underlining magnesium deficiency’s role in various, body-wide aches and pains. Not only does magnesium play a role in the way muscles work, but studies how it prevents central sensitization and reduces pain hypersensitivity, which is why many people take magnesium for muscle pain.

Magnesium and Muscle Spasms and Twitching

Tremors, twitches, and muscle cramps are all signs of magnesium deficiency. Some research has shown that these symptoms might stem from the additional flow of calcium into the nerve cells, which hyper-stimulates and over-excites the muscles. 

With the right balance of magnesium serving as a natural way to block the excessive calcium, muscles can more easily relax. If you are deficient, magnesium for muscle spasms might be an ideal solution. 

Of course, involuntary muscle twitches can also be caused by too much caffeine or an abundance of stress. However, taking magnesium for muscle spasms is a viable solution for many sufferers, considering that up to 75% of people do not get the recommended daily intake of magnesium. 

Magnesium and Cramps in Feet and Legs

Up to seven percent of children and 60 percent of adults deal with nocturnal foot or leg cramping, according to one study. There are several causes for this cramping, including dehydration, overexertion of the muscles, wearing improper footwear, as well as magnesium deficiency.

Some groups appear to be more susceptible to increased cramping. If you have any of the conditions below, you may be more susceptible to leg or foot cramping.

  • Taking diuretics
  • Elderly, especially as they lose muscle mass
  • Dehydration, especially in the warmer weather or after strenuous activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetics
  • Existing nerve, thyroid or liver disorders

As a natural muscle relaxer, magnesium supplements are often recommended for foot and leg cramps. 

How Much Magnesium Is Needed for Muscle Cramps?

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements suggests that most people get between 350 and 450 mg of magnesium each day. It is possible to get enough magnesium through diet alone, especially if you focus on these magnesium-rich foods.

  • Almonds (80 mg per serving)
  • Spinach (78 mg per serving)
  • Cashews (74 mg per serving)
  • Peanuts (63 mg per serving)
  • Shredded wheat (61 mg per serving)
  • Soymilk (61 mg per serving)
  • Black beans (60 mg per serving)
  • Edamame (50 mg per serving)
  • Peanut Butter (49 mg per serving)
  • Baked Potato (43 mg per serving)
  • Brown Rice (42 mg per serving)
  • Plain Yogurt (42 mg per serving)

Other foods provide a natural source of magnesium as well. Look for enriched breakfast cereals or bread, oatmeal, kidney beans, salmon, bananas and raisins. 

If you aren’t able to get enough magnesium for muscles through your diet, you might consider taking a supplement instead. The question is, how much magnesium for muscle cramps is ideal? You would want to figure out how much you are getting through your daily diet and make up the difference. 

There are some people that should talk to their doctor before beginning a supplement. If you are taking bisphosphonates, antibiotics, diuretics or proton pump inhibitors, it’s best to talk to a professional first. 

What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement To Take For Muscle Cramps?

Is magnesium good for muscle cramps? It can be, but it matters what kind you take. There are several types of magnesium for muscle cramps to choose from.

When determining the best magnesium supplement for muscle cramps, consider these factors:

  • Absorption: many pills and powders are poorly absorbed. Instead look for a highly absorbed liquid form of magnesium such as liquid magnesium chloride. Another benefit of liquid mineral products is you can adjust the dose easily.
  • Backed by Research: Not all dietary supplement companies are the same. Look for a product line that is backed by research and clinical evidence.
  • Quality: Look for a magnesium brand that is properly manufactured. Your dietary supplement company should have professional staff dedicated to the adherence of all quality standards of the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices which stipulate that manufacturers must evaluate the identity, purity, quality, strength, and composition of their dietary ingredients and dietary supplements to help guarantee that our products are safe and accurately labeled
  • Ease of use: Using a lotion or epsom salts can give you the relief you need for sore muscles. Added to a bath epsom salts soothe sore muscles. 

Is Magnesium a Natural Form of Muscle Relaxer?

Interested in taking magnesium for sore muscles? Muscle strain is common when you overexert your body. You might experience pain in the neck, back, hamstrings or arms.

Because magnesium has been shown to help the muscles relax, people often turn to supplements for relieving muscle soreness, as prescription medications can have more, severe side effects. The most common side effect is sedation. In addition, medicines such as chlorzoxazone can cause liver damage. 

Magnesium isn’t addictive and is a mineral that the body needs. Magnesium deficiency can cause many health concerns, and magnesium supplements may help with several ailments, along with muscle cramping and soreness.  There are virtually no side effects, adverse reactions, or withdrawal symptoms associated with appropriate dosages of magnesium. It’s also easy to take a supplement when you aren’t getting enough of the mineral through your daily diet, and reduce dosage when you don’t need it.

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